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Proverbs 3:27-28

Context
Wisdom Demonstrated in Relationships with People

3:27 Do not withhold good from those who need it, 1 

when 2  you 3  have the ability 4  to help. 5 

3:28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Go! Return tomorrow

and I will give it,” when 6  you have it with you at the time. 7 

1 tn The MT has “from its possessors” and the LXX simply has “from the poor.” C. H. Toy (Proverbs [ICC], 77) suggests emending the text to read “neighbors” (changing בְּעָלָיו [bealav] to רֵעֶיךָ, reekha) but that is gratuitous. The idea can be explained as being those who need to possess it, or as BDB 127 s.v. בַּעַל has it with an objective genitive, “the owner of it” = the one to whom it is due.

2 tn The infinitive construct with preposition ב (bet) introduces a temporal clause: “when….”

3 tc The form יָדֶיךָ (yadekha) is a Kethib/Qere reading. The Kethib is the dual יָדֶיךָ (“your hands”) and the Qere is the singular יָדְךָ (yadÿkha, “your hand”). Normally the Qere is preferred because it represents an alternate textual tradition that the Masoretes viewed as superior to the received text.

tn Heb “your hand.” The term יָדְךָ (“your hand”) functions as a synecdoche of part (= your hand) for the whole person (= you).

4 tn Heb “it is to the power of your hand.” This expression is idiomatic for “it is in your power” or “you have the ability” (Gen 31:29; Deut 28:23; Neh 5:5; Mic 2:1). The noun אֵל (’el) means “power” (BDB 43 s.v. 7), and יָד (yad, “hand”) is used figuratively to denote “ability” (BDB 390 s.v. 2). Several translations render this as “when it is in your power to do it” (KJV, RSV, NRSV, NASB) or “when it is in your power to act” (NIV). W. McKane suggests, “when it is in your power to confer it” (Proverbs [OTL], 215).

5 tn Heb “to do [it]” (cf. KJV, NASB, NRSV).

6 tn Heb “and it is with you.” The prefixed vav introduces a circumstantial clause: “when …”

7 tn The words “at the time” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for clarity.



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