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Proverbs 8:5-9

Context

8:5 You who are naive, discern 1  wisdom!

And you fools, understand discernment! 2 

8:6 Listen, for I will speak excellent things, 3 

and my lips will utter 4  what is right.

8:7 For my mouth 5  speaks truth, 6 

and my lips 7  hate wickedness. 8 

8:8 All the words of my mouth are righteous; 9 

there is nothing in them twisted 10  or crooked.

8:9 All of them are clear 11  to the discerning

and upright to those who find knowledge.

1 tn The imperative of בִּין (bin) means “to understand; to discern.” The call is for the simple to understand what wisdom is, not just to gain it.

2 tn Heb “heart.” The noun לֵב (lev, “heart”) often functions metonymically for wisdom, understanding, discernment.

3 tn Heb “noble” or “princely.” Wisdom begins the first motivation by claiming to speak noble things, that is, excellent things.

4 tn Heb “opening of my lips” (so KJV, NASB). The noun “lips” is a metonymy of cause, with the organ of speech put for what is said.

5 tn Heb “roof of the mouth.” This expression is a metonymy of cause for the activity of speaking.

6 tn The word “truth” (אֱמֶת, ’emet) is derived from the verbal root אָמַן (’aman) which means “to support.” There are a number of derived nouns that have the sense of reliability: “pillars,” “master craftsman,” “nurse,” “guardian.” Modifiers related to this group of words includes things like “faithful,” “surely,” “truly” (amen). In the derived stems the verb develops various nuances: The Niphal has the meanings of “reliable, faithful, sure, steadfast,” and the Hiphil has the meaning “believe” (i.e., consider something dependable). The noun “truth” means what is reliable or dependable, firm or sure.

7 sn Wise lips detest wickedness; wisdom hates speaking wicked things. In fact, speaking truth results in part from detesting wickedness.

8 tn Heb “wickedness is an abomination to my lips” (so KJV, NASB, NRSV).

9 tn The phrase could be rendered with an understood ellipsis: “all the words of my mouth [are said] in righteousness”; or the preposition could be interpreted as a beth essentiae: “all the words of my mouth are righteousness.”

10 sn The verb פָּתַל (patal) means “to twist.” In the Niphal it means “to wrestle” (to twist oneself). It was used in Gen 30:8 for the naming of Naphtali, with the motivation for the name from this verb: “with great struggling.” Here it describes speech that is twisted. It is a synonym for the next word, which means “twisted; crooked; perverse.”

11 tn Heb “front of.” Describing the sayings as “right in front” means they are open, obvious, and clear, as opposed to words that might be twisted or perverse. The parallel word “upright” means “straight, smooth, right.” Wisdom’s teachings are in plain view and intelligible for those who find knowledge.



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