but the crookedness of the unfaithful destroys them. 2
but the wicked person will fall by his own wickedness. 4
and the wicked turns up in his stead. 12
when the wicked perish, there is joy.
1 sn This contrasts two lifestyles, affirming the value of integrity. The upright live with integrity – blamelessness – and that integrity leads them in success and happiness. Those who use treachery will be destroyed by it.
2 tc The form is a Kethib/Qere reading. The Qere יְשָׁדֵּם (yÿshadem) is an imperfect tense with the pronominal suffix. The Kethib וְשַׁדָּם (vÿshadam) is a perfect tense with a vav prefixed and a pronominal suffix. The Qere is supported by the versions.
3 tn Heb “his way.”
4 sn The righteous will enjoy security and serenity throughout life. Righteousness makes the path straight; wickedness destroys the wicked.
5 sn The contrast is between being rescued or delivered (נָצַל, natsal) and being captured (לָכַד, lakhad). Righteousness is freeing; [evil] desires are enslaving.
6 tn Heb “taken captive” (so NRSV); NIV, TEV “are trapped.”
7 tn Heb “but by the desire of the faithless are they taken captive.”
8 tn The first colon features an imperfect tense depicting habitual action, while the second has a perfect tense verb depicting gnomic action.
sn The subject of this proverb is the hope of the wicked, showing its consequences – his expectations die with him (Ps 49). Any hope for long life and success borne of wickedness will be disappointed.
9 tc There are several suggested changes for this word אוֹנִים (’onim, “vigor” or “strength”). Rashi, a Jewish scholar who lived
10 tc The LXX adds an antithesis to this: “When the righteous dies, hope does not perish.” The LXX translators wanted to see the hope of the righteous fulfilled in the world to come.
11 tn The verb is the Niphal perfect from the first root חָלַץ (khalats), meaning “to draw off; to withdraw,” and hence “to be delivered.”
sn The verse is not concerned with the problem of evil and the suffering of the righteous; it is only concerned with the principle of divine justice.
12 tn The verb is masculine singular, so the subject cannot be “trouble.” The trouble from which the righteous escape will come on the wicked – but the Hebrew text literally says that the wicked “comes [= arrives; turns up; shows up] in the place of the righteous.” Cf. NASB “the wicked takes his place”; NRSV “the wicked get into it instead”; NIV “it comes on the wicked instead.”
13 tn The text has “in the good [בְּטוֹב, bÿtov] of the righteous,” meaning when they do well, when they prosper. Cf. NCV, NLT “succeed”; TEV “have good fortune.”
14 sn The verb תַּעֲלֹץ (ta’alots, “to rejoice; to exult”) is paralleled with the noun רִנָּה (rinnah, “ringing cry”). The descriptions are hyperbolic, except when the person who dies is one who afflicted society (e.g., 2 Kgs 11:20; Esth 8:15). D. Kidner says, “However drab the world makes out virtue to be, it appreciates the boon of it in public life” (Proverbs [TOTC], 91).
15 tn Heb “the blessing of the upright.” This expression features either an objective or subjective genitive. It may refer to the blessing God gives the upright (which will benefit society) or the blessing that the upright are to the city. The latter fits the parallelism best: The blessings are the beneficent words and deeds that the righteous perform.
16 tn Heb “mouth.” The term פֶּה (peh, “mouth”) functions as a metonymy of cause for counsel, as the parallelism suggests.
17 sn What the wicked say has a disastrous effect on society, endangering, weakening, demoralizing, and perverting with malicious and slanderous words. Wicked leaders, in particular, can bring destruction on a city by their evil counsel.
18 tn The form is the masculine singular adjective used as a substantive.
19 tn Heb “makes” (so NAB).
20 tn Heb “wages of deception.”
sn Whatever recompense or reward the wicked receive will not last, hence, it is deceptive (R. B. Y. Scott, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes [AB], 88).
21 sn The participle “sowing” provides an implied comparison (the figure is known as hypocatastasis) with the point of practicing righteousness and inspiring others to do the same. What is sown will yield fruit (1 Cor 9:11; 2 Cor 9:6; Jas 3:18).
22 tn The term “reaps” does not appear in the Hebrew but has been supplied in the translation from context for the sake of smoothness.
23 tn Heb “true” (so NASB, NRSV); KJV, NAB, NIV “sure.”
24 sn A wordplay (paronomasia) occurs between “deceptive” (שָׁקֶר, shaqer) and “reward” (שֶׂכֶר, sekher), underscoring the contrast by the repetition of sounds. The wages of the wicked are deceptive; the reward of the righteous is sure.
25 tn Heb “the veritable of righteousness.” The adjective כֵּן (ken, “right; honest; veritable”) functions substantivally as an attributive genitive, meaning “veritable righteousness” = true righteousness (BDB 467 s.v. 2; HALOT 482 s.v. I כֵּן 2.b). One medieval Hebrew
26 tn Heb “is to life.” The expression “leads to” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but the idiom implies it; it is supplied in the translation for smoothness.
27 tn The phrase “pursues it” does not appear in the Hebrew but has been supplied in the translation from context.
28 sn “Life” and “death” describe the vicissitudes of this life but can also refer to the situation beyond the grave. The two paths head in opposite directions.
29 tn Heb “the desire of the righteous.” The noun תַּאֲוַת (ta’avat) functions as an objective genitive: “what the righteous desire.”
30 tn The phrase “leads to” does not appear in the Hebrew text but has been supplied in the translation. The desire of the righteous (in itself good) ends in good things, whereas the hope of the wicked ends in wrath, i.e., divine judgment on them. Another interpretation is that the righteous desire is to do good things, but the wicked hope to produce wrath (cf. CEV “troublemakers hope to stir up trouble”).
31 tn Heb “the hope of the wicked.” The noun תִּקְוַת (tiqvat) “expectation” functions as an objective genitive: “what the wicked hope for.”
32 tn The term “leads” does not appear in the Hebrew text in this line but is implied by the parallelism. It is supplied in the translation for clarity and smoothness.
33 tn The comparative “like” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied by the metaphor; it is supplied for the sake of clarity.
34 tn Heb “tree of life” (so KJV, NAB, NIV, NRSV). The noun חַיִּים (khayyim, “life”) is genitive of product. What the righteous produce (“fruit”) is like a tree of life – a long and healthy life as well as a life-giving influence and provision for others.
35 tc The Leningrad Codex mistakenly vocalized ש (sin or shin) as שׂ (sin) instead of שׁ (shin) in the term נְפָשׂוֹת (nefashot) which is vocalized as נְפָשׁוֹת (nefasot, “souls”) in the other medieval Hebrew
36 tc The MT reads חָכָם (khakham, “wise”) and seems to refer to capturing (לָקַח, laqakh; “to lay hold of; to seize; to capture”) people with influential ideas (e.g., 2 Sam 15:6). An alternate textual tradition reads חָמָס (khamas) “violent” (reflected in the LXX and Syriac) and refers to taking away lives: “but the one who takes away lives (= kills people) is violent” (cf. NAB, NRSV, TEV). The textual variant was caused by orthographic confusion of ס (samek) and כ (kaf), and metathesis of מ (mem) between the 2nd and 3rd consonants. If the parallelism is synonymous, the MT reading fits; if the parallelism is antithetical, the alternate tradition fits. See D. C. Snell, “‘Taking Souls’ in Proverbs 11:30,” VT 33 (1083): 362-65.
37 tc The LXX introduces a new idea: “If the righteous be scarcely saved” (reflected in 1 Pet 4:18). The Greek translation “scarcely” could have come from a Vorlage of בַּצָּרָה (batsarah, “deficiency” or “want”) or בָּצַּר (batsar, “to cut off; to shorten”) perhaps arising from confusion over the letters. The verb “receive due” could only be translated “saved” by an indirect interpretation. See J. Barr, “בארץ ~ ΜΟΛΙΣ: Prov. XI.31, I Pet. IV.18,” JSS 20 (1975): 149-64.
38 tn This construction is one of the “how much more” arguments – if this be true, how much more this (arguing from the lesser to the greater). The point is that if the righteous suffer for their sins, certainly the wicked will as well.
39 tn Heb “the wicked and the sinner.” The two terms may form a hendiadys with the first functioning adjectivally: “the wicked sinner.”