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Proverbs 8:29-31

Context

8:29 when he gave the sea his decree

that the waters should not pass over his command, 1 

when he marked out the foundations of the earth,

8:30 then I was 2  beside him as a master craftsman, 3 

and I was his delight 4  day by day,

rejoicing before him at all times,

8:31 rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth, 5 

and delighting 6  in its people. 7 

1 tn Heb “his mouth.”

2 tn The verb form is a preterite with vav consecutive, although it has not been apocopated. It provides the concluding statement for the temporal clauses as well as the parallel to v. 27.

3 tn Critical to the interpretation of this line is the meaning of אָמוֹן (’amon). Several suggestions have been made: “master craftsman” (cf. ASV, NASB, NIV, NRSV), “nursing child” (cf. NCV), “foster father.” R. B. Y. Scott chooses “faithful” – a binding or living link (“Wisdom in Creation: The ‘Amon of Proverbs 8:30,” VT 10 [1960]: 213-23). The image of a child is consistent with the previous figure of being “given birth to” (vv. 24, 25). However, “craftsman” has the most support (LXX, Vulgate, Syriac, Tg. Prov 8:30, Song 7:1; Jer 52:15; also P. W. Skehan, “Structures in Poems on Wisdom: Proverbs 8 and Sirach 24,” CBQ 41 [1979]: 365-79).

4 tn The word is a plural of intensification for “delight”; it describes wisdom as the object of delight. The LXX has the suffix; the Hebrew does not.

5 tn The two words are synonymous in general and so could be taken to express a superlative idea – the “whole world” (cf. NIV, NCV). But תֵּבֵל (tevel) also means the inhabited world, and so the construct may be interpreted as a partitive genitive.

6 tn Heb “and my delights” [were] with/in.”

7 tn Heb “the sons of man.”



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