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Proverbs 11:24-26

Context

11:24 One person is generous 1  and yet grows more wealthy, 2 

but another withholds more than he should 3  and comes to poverty. 4 

11:25 A generous person 5  will be enriched, 6 

and the one who provides water 7  for others 8  will himself be satisfied. 9 

11:26 People will curse 10  the one who withholds grain, 11 

but they will praise 12  the one who sells it. 13 

1 tn Heb “There is one who scatters.” The participle מְפַזֵּר (mÿfazzer, “one who scatters”) refers to charity rather than farming or investments (and is thus a hypocatastasis). Cf. CEV “become rich by being generous”).

2 tn Heb “increases.” The verb means that he grows even more wealthy. This is a paradox: Generosity determines prosperity in God’s economy.

3 tn Heb “more than what is right.” This one is not giving enough, but saving for himself.

4 tn Heb “comes to lack.” The person who withholds will come to the diminishing of his wealth. The verse uses hyperbole to teach that giving to charity does not make anyone poor, and neither does refusal to give ensure prosperity.

5 tn Heb “the soul of blessing.” The genitive functions attributively. “Blessing” refers to a gift (Gen 33:11) or a special favor (Josh 15:19). The term נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, “soul”) functions as a synecdoche of part (= soul) for the whole (= person); see BDB 660 s.v. 4.

6 tn Heb “will grow fat.” Drawing on the standard comparison of fatness and abundance (Deut 32:15), the term means “become rich, prosperous.”

7 tn The verb מַרְוֶה (marveh, “to be saturated; to drink one’s fill”) draws a comparison between providing water for others with providing for those in need (e.g., Jer 31:25; Lam 3:15). The kind act will be reciprocated.

8 tn The phrase “for others” does not appear in the Hebrew but is implied by the causative Hiphil verb which normally takes a direct object; it is elided in the Hebrew for the sake of emphasis. It is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity and smoothness.

9 tn This verb also means “to pour water,” and so continues the theme of the preceding participle: The one who gives refreshment to others will be refreshed. BDB 924 s.v. רָוָה lists the form יוֹרֶא (yore’) as a Hophal imperfect of רָוָה (ravah, the only occurrence) and translates it “will himself also be watered” (cf. KJV, ASV, NASB). But the verb looks very much like a Hiphil of the root יָרָא (yara’, “to shoot; to pour”). So the editors of BHS suggest יוּאָר (yuar).

10 tn The direct object suffix on the verb picks up on the emphatic absolute phrase: “they will curse him – the one who withholds grain.”

11 sn The proverb refers to a merchant who holds back his grain from the free market to raise prices when there is a great need for the produce. It is assumed that merchants are supposed to have a social conscience.

12 tn Heb “but a blessing is for the head of the one who sells.” The parallelism with “curse” suggests that בְּרָכָה (berakhah) “blessing” means “praise.”

13 tn Heb “for the head of the one who sells.” The term “head” functions as a synecdoche of part (= head) for the whole (= person). The head is here emphasized because it is the “crowning” point of praise. The direct object (“it”) is not in the Hebrew text but is implied.



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