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Proverbs 8:24-29

Context

8:24 When there were no deep oceans 1  I was born, 2 

when there were no springs overflowing 3  with water;

8:25 before the mountains were set in place –

before the hills – I was born,

8:26 before he made the earth and its fields, 4 

or the beginning 5  of the dust of the world.

8:27 When he established the heavens, I was there;

when he marked out the horizon 6  over the face of the deep,

8:28 when he established the clouds above,

when the fountains of the deep grew strong, 7 

8:29 when he gave the sea his decree

that the waters should not pass over his command, 8 

when he marked out the foundations of the earth,

1 sn The summary statements just given are now developed in a lengthy treatment of wisdom as the agent of all creation. This verse singles out “watery deeps” (תְּהֹמוֹת, tÿhomot) in its allusion to creation because the word in Genesis signals the condition of the world at the very beginning, and because in the ancient world this was something no one could control. Chaos was not there first – wisdom was.

2 tn The third parallel verb is חוֹלָלְתִּי (kholalti), “I was given birth.” Some (e.g., KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV) translate it “brought forth” – not in the sense of being presented, but in the sense of being “begotten, given birth to.” Here is the strongest support for the translation of קָנָה (qanah) as “created” in v. 22. The verb is not literal; it continues the perspective of the personification.

3 tn Heb “made heavy.”

4 tn Heb “open places.”

5 tn Here רֹאשׁ (rosh) means “beginning” with reference to time (BDB 911 s.v. 4.b).

6 sn The infinitive construct בְּחוּקוֹ (bÿkhuqo, “to cut; to engrave; to mark”) and the noun חוּג (khug, “horizon; circle”) form a paronomasia in the line.

7 tn To form a better parallel some commentators read this infinitive בַּעֲזוֹז (baazoz), “when [they] grew strong,” as a Piel causative, “when he made firm, fixed fast” (cf. NIV “fixed securely”; NLT “established”). But the following verse (“should not pass over”) implies the meaning “grew strong” here.

8 tn Heb “his mouth.”



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