17:26 It is terrible 1 to punish 2 a righteous person,
and to flog 3 honorable men is wrong. 4
25:6 Do not honor yourself before the king,
and do not stand in the place of great men;
25:7 for it is better for him 5 to say to you, “Come up here,” 6
than to put you lower 7 before a prince,
whom your eyes have seen. 8
1 tn Heb “not good.” This is an example of tapeinosis – an understatement that implies the worst-case scenario: “it is terrible.”
2 tn The verb עָנַשׁ, here a Qal infinitive construct, properly means “to fine” (cf. NAB, NRSV, NLT) but is taken here to mean “to punish” in general. The infinitive functions as the subject of the clause.
3 tn The form is the Hiphil infinitive construct from נָכָה (nakhah, “to strike; to smite”). It may well refer to public beatings, so “flog” is used in the translation, since “strike” could refer to an individual’s action and “beat” could be taken to refer to competition.
4 tn Heb “[is] against uprightness.” The expression may be rendered “contrary to what is right.”
sn The two lines could be synonymous parallelism; but the second part is being used to show how wrong the first act would be – punishing the righteous makes about as much sense as beating an official of the court for doing what is just.
5 tn The phrase “for him” is supplied in the translation for clarity.
6 sn This proverb, covering the two verses, is teaching that it is wiser to be promoted than to risk demotion by self-promotion. The point is clear: Trying to promote oneself could bring on public humiliation; but it would be an honor to have everyone in court hear the promotion by the king.
7 tn The two infinitives construct form the contrast in this “better” sayings; each serves as the subject of its respective clause.
8 tc Most modern commentators either omit this last line or attach it to the next verse. But it is in the text of the MT as well as the LXX, Syriac, Vulgate, and most modern English versions (although some of them do connect it to the following verse, e.g., NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT).