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Proverbs 4:5-7

Context

4:5 Acquire wisdom, acquire understanding;

do not forget and do not turn aside from the words I speak. 1 

4:6 Do not forsake wisdom, 2  and she will protect you;

love her, and she will guard you.

4:7 Wisdom is supreme 3  – so 4  acquire wisdom,

and whatever you acquire, 5  acquire understanding! 6 

1 tn Heb “from the words of my mouth” (so KJV, NASB, NRSV); TEV, CEV “what I say.”

sn The verse uses repetition for the imperative “acquire” to underscore the importance of getting wisdom; it then uses two verb forms for the one prepositional phrase to stress the warning.

2 tn Heb “her”; the 3rd person feminine singular referent is personified “wisdom,” which has been specified in the translation for clarity.

3 tn The absolute and construct state of רֵאשִׁית (reshit) are identical (BDB 912 s.v.). Some treat רֵאשִׁית חָכְמָה (reshit khokhmah) as a genitive-construct phrase: “the beginning of wisdom” (cf. NAB, NASB, NRSV). Others take רֵאשִׁית as an absolute functioning as predicate and חָכְמָה as the subject: “wisdom is the first/chief thing” (cf. KJV, ASV). The context here suggests the predicate.

4 tn The term “so” does not appear in the Hebrew but is supplied in the translation for the sake of smoothness and style.

5 tn The noun קִנְיָן (qinyan) means “thing got or acquired; acquisition” (BDB 889 s.v.). With the preposition that denotes price, it means “with (or at the price of) all that you have acquired.” The point is that no price is too high for wisdom – give everything for it (K&D 16:108).

6 tc The verse is not in the LXX; some textual critics delete the verse as an impossible gloss that interrupts vv. 6 and 8 (e.g., C. H. Toy, Proverbs [ICC], 88).



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