24:11 Deliver those being taken away to death,
and hold back those slipping to the slaughter. 1
24:12 If you say, “But we did not know about this,”
does not the one who evaluates 2 hearts consider?
Does not the one who guards your life know?
Will he not repay each person according to his deeds? 3
1 tn The idea of “slipping” (participle from מוֹט, mot) has troubled some commentators. G. R. Driver emends it to read “at the point of” (“Problems in Proverbs,” ZAW 50 : 146). But the MT as it stands makes good sense. The reference would be general, viz., to help any who are in mortal danger or who might be tottering on the edge of such disaster – whether through sin, or through disease, war, or danger. Several English versions (e.g., NASB, NIV, NRSV) render this term as “staggering.”
sn God holds people responsible for rescuing those who are in mortal danger. The use of “death” and “slaughter” seems rather strong in the passage, but they have been used before in the book for the destruction that comes through evil.
2 tn Heb “weighs” (so NASB, NIV, NRSV) meaning “tests” or “evaluates.”
3 sn The verse completes the saying by affirming that people will be judged responsible for helping those in mortal danger. The verse uses a series of rhetorical questions to affirm that God knows our hearts and we cannot plead ignorance.