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Proverbs 4:7-9

Context

4:7 Wisdom is supreme 1  – so 2  acquire wisdom,

and whatever you acquire, 3  acquire understanding! 4 

4:8 Esteem her highly 5  and she will exalt you;

she will honor you if you embrace her.

4:9 She will place a fair 6  garland on your head;

she will bestow 7  a beautiful crown 8  on you.”

1 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.

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

3 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).

4 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).

5 tn The verb is the Pilpel imperative from סָלַל (salal, “to lift up; to cast up”). So the imperative means “exalt her; esteem her highly; prize her.”

6 sn The personification of wisdom continues with the bestowal of a wreath for the head (e.g., 1:9). The point is that grace will be given to the individual like a wreath about the head.

7 tn The verb מָגַן (magan) is a Piel (denominative) verb from the noun “shield.” Here it means “to bestow” (BDB 171 s.v.).

8 sn This verse uses wedding imagery: The wife (wisdom) who is embraced by her husband (the disciple) will place the wedding crown on the head of her new bridegroom. Wisdom, like a virtuous wife, will crown the individual with honor and grace.



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