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Proverbs 7:19-23

Context

7:19 For my husband 1  is not at home; 2 

he has gone on a journey of some distance.

7:20 He has taken a bag of money with him; 3 

he will not return until 4  the end of the month.” 5 

7:21 She persuaded him 6  with persuasive words; 7 

with her smooth talk 8  she compelled him. 9 

7:22 Suddenly he went 10  after her

like an ox that goes to the slaughter,

like a stag prancing into a trapper’s snare 11 

7:23 till an arrow pierces his liver 12 

like a bird hurrying into a trap,

and he does not know that it will cost him his life. 13 

1 tn Heb “the man.” The LXX interpreted it as “my husband,” taking the article to be used as a possessive. Many English versions do the same.

2 tn Heb “in his house.”

3 tn Heb “in his hand.”

4 tn Heb “he will come back at.”

5 tn Heb “new moon.” Judging from the fact that the husband took a purse of money and was staying away until the next full moon, the woman implies that they would be safe in their escapade. If v. 9 and v. 20 are any clue, he could be gone for about two weeks – until the moon is full again.

6 tn Heb “she turned him aside.” This expression means that she persuaded him. This section now begins the description of the capitulation, for the flattering speech is finished.

7 sn The term לֶקַח (leqakh) was used earlier in Proverbs for wise instruction; now it is used ironically for enticement to sin (see D. W. Thomas, “Textual and Philological Notes on Some Passages in the Book of Proverbs,” VTSup 3 [1955]: 280-92).

8 tn Heb “smooth of her lips”; cf. NAB “smooth lips”; NASB “flattering lips.” The term “lips” is a metonymy of cause representing what she says.

9 tn The verb means “to impel; to thrust; to banish,” but in this stem in this context “to compel; to force” into some action. The imperfect tense has the nuance of progressive imperfect to parallel the characteristic perfect of the first colon.

10 tn The participle with “suddenly” gives a more vivid picture, almost as if to say “there he goes.”

11 tn The present translation follows R. B. Y. Scott (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes [AB], 64). This third colon of the verse would usually be rendered, “fetters to the chastening of a fool” (KJV, ASV, and NASB are all similar). But there is no support that עֶכֶס (’ekhes) means “fetters.” It appears in Isaiah 3:16 as “anklets.” The parallelism here suggests that some animal imagery is required. Thus the ancient versions have “as a dog to the bonds.”

12 sn The figure of an arrow piercing the liver (an implied comparison) may refer to the pangs of a guilty conscience that the guilty must reap along with the spiritual and physical ruin that follows (see on these expressions H. W. Wolff, Anthropology of the Old Testament).

13 tn The expression that it is “for/about/over his life” means that it could cost him his life (e.g., Num 16:38). Alternatively, the line could refer to moral corruption and social disgrace rather than physical death – but this would not rule out physical death too.



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