19:9 A false witness will not go unpunished,
3 tn Heb “brothers,” although not limited to male siblings only. Cf. NRSV, CEV “in a family”; TEV “among friends.”
sn These seven things the
4 tn The text has “he pours out faithfully”; the word rendered “faithfully” or “reliably” (אֱמוּנָה, ’emunah) is used frequently for giving testimony in court, and so here the subject matter is the reliable witness.
5 tn Heb “righteousness.”
6 tn Heb “witness of falsehoods.” The genitive noun functions attributively, and the plural form depicts habitual action or moral characteristic. This describes a person who habitually lies. A false witness cannot be counted on to help the cause of justice.
7 tn The term “speaks” does not appear in this line but is implied by the parallelism; it is supplied in the translation for clarity and smoothness.
8 tn Heb “a witness of faithfulness.” The genitive functions in an attributive sense: “faithful witness” (so KJV, NRSV); TEV “reliable witness.”
9 tn Heb “a witness of falsehood.” The genitive functions in an attributive sense: “false witness.”
10 sn This saying addresses the problem of legal testimony: A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness does lie – naturally. The first colon uses the verb כָּזַב (kazav, “to lie”) and the second colon uses the noun כָּזָב (kazav, “lie; falsehood”).
11 tn Heb “a witness of truth”; cf. CEV “an honest witness.”
12 tn The noun נְפָשׁוֹת (nÿfashot) often means “souls,” but here “lives” – it functions as a metonymy for life (BDB 659 s.v. נֶפֶשׁ 3.c).
sn The setting of this proverb is the courtroom. One who tells the truth “saves” (מַצִּיל [matsil, “rescues; delivers”]) the lives of those falsely accused.
13 tn The term “brings” does not appear in the Hebrew but is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity. Also possible, “is deceitful.”
14 tc Several commentators suggest emending the text from the noun מִרְמָה (mirmah, “deception”) to the participle מְרַמֶּה (mÿrameh, “destroys”). However, this revocalization is not necessary because the MT makes sense as it stands: A false witness destroys lives.
15 tn Heb “a witness of lies.” This expression is an attributive genitive: “a lying witness” (cf. CEV “dishonest witnesses”). This is paralleled by “the one who pours out lies.”
16 tn Heb “breathes out”; NAB “utters”; NIV “pours out.”
17 tn Heb “will not escape” (so NAB, NASB); NIV “will not go free.” Here “punishment” is implied, and has been supplied in the translation for clarity.
sn This proverb is a general statement, because on occasion there are false witnesses who go unpunished in this life (e.g., Prov 6:19; 14:5, 25; 19:9). The Talmud affirms, “False witnesses are contemptible even to those who hire them” (b. Sanhedrin 29b).
18 tn Heb “breathes out”; NAB “utters”; NIV “pours out.”