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Proverbs 6:29-33

Context

6:29 So it is with 1  the one who has sex with 2  his neighbor’s wife;

no one 3  who touches 4  her will escape 5  punishment. 6 

6:30 People 7  do not despise a thief when he steals

to fulfill his need 8  when he is hungry.

6:31 Yet 9  if he is caught 10  he must repay 11  seven times over,

he might even have to give 12  all the wealth of his house.

6:32 A man who commits adultery with a woman lacks wisdom, 13 

whoever does it destroys his own life. 14 

6:33 He will be beaten and despised, 15 

and his reproach will not be wiped away; 16 

1 tn Heb “thus is the one.”

2 tn Heb “who goes in to” (so NAB, NASB). The Hebrew verb בּוֹא (bo’, “to go in; to enter”) is used throughout scripture as a euphemism for the act of sexual intercourse. Cf. NIV, NRSV, NLT “who sleeps with”; NCV “have sexual relations with.”

3 tn Heb “anyone who touches her will not.”

4 sn The verb “touches” is intended here to be a euphemism for illegal sexual contact (e.g., Gen 20:6).

5 tn Heb “will be exempt from”; NASB, NLT “will not go unpunished.”

6 tn The verb is יִנָּקֶה (yinnaqeh), the Niphal imperfect from נָקָה (naqah, “to be empty; to be clean”). From it we get the adjectives “clean,” “free from guilt,” “innocent.” The Niphal has the meanings (1) “to be cleaned out” (of a plundered city; e.g., Isa 3:26), (2) “to be clean; to be free from guilt; to be innocent” (Ps 19:14), (3) “to be free; to be exempt from punishment” [here], and (4) “to be free; to be exempt from obligation” (Gen 24:8).

7 tn Heb “they do not despise.”

8 tn Heb “himself” or “his life.” Since the word נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, traditionally “soul”) refers to the whole person, body and soul, and since it has a basic idea of the bundle of appetites that make up a person, the use here for satisfying his hunger is appropriate.

9 tn The term “yet” is supplied in the translation.

10 tn Heb “is found out.” The perfect tense with the vav (ו) consecutive is equivalent to the imperfect nuances. Here it introduces either a conditional or a temporal clause before the imperfect.

11 tn The imperfect tense has an obligatory nuance. The verb in the Piel means “to repay; to make restitution; to recompense”; cf. NCV, TEV, CEV “must pay back.”

12 tn This final clause in the section is somewhat cryptic. The guilty thief must pay back sevenfold what he stole, even if it means he must use the substance of his whole house. The verb functions as an imperfect of possibility: “he might even give.”

13 tn Heb “heart.” The term “heart” is used as a metonymy of association for discernment, wisdom, good sense. Cf. NAB “is a fool”; NIV “lacks judgment”; NCV, NRSV “has no sense.”

14 tn Heb “soul.” The noun נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, “soul”) functions as a metonymy of association for “life” (BDB 659 s.v. 3.c).

15 tn Heb “He will receive a wound and contempt.”

16 sn Even though the text has said that the man caught in adultery ruins his life, it does not mean that he was put to death, although that could have happened. He seems to live on in ignominy, destroyed socially and spiritually. He might receive blows and wounds from the husband and shame and disgrace from the spiritual community. D. Kidner observes that in a morally healthy society the adulterer would be a social outcast (Proverbs [TOTC], 75).



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