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 The Hiphil imperfect תַּכֶּה (takeh) is followed by another imperfect. It could be rendered: “strike a scorner [imperfect of instruction] and a simpleton will become prudent.” But the first of the parallel verbs can also be subordinated to the second as a temporal or conditional clause. Some English versions translate “beat” (NAB “if you beat an arrogant man”), but this could be understood to refer to competition rather than physical punishment. Therefore “flog” has been used in the translation, since it is normally associated with punishment or discipline.
4 sn Different people learn differently. There are three types of people in this proverb: the scorner with a closed mind, the simpleton with an empty mind, and the discerning person with an open mind (D. Kidner, Proverbs [TOTC], 135). The simpleton learns by observing a scoffer being punished, even though the punishment will have no effect on the scoffer.
6 tn The second half begins with הוֹכִיחַ (hokhiakh), the Hiphil infinitive construct. This parallels the imperfect tense beginning the first half; it forms a temporal or conditional clause as well, so that the main verb is “he will understand.”
sn The discerning person will learn from verbal rebukes. The contrast is caught in a wordplay in the Midrash: “For the wise a hint [r’mizo], for the fool a fist [kurmezo]” (Mishle 22:6).