14:29 The one who is slow to anger has great understanding,
23:1 When you sit down to eat with a ruler,
if you possess a large appetite. 14
25:28 Like a city that is broken down and without a wall,
so is a person who cannot control his temper. 18
1 tn Heb “hasty of spirit” (so KJV, ASV); NRSV, NLT “a hasty temper.” One who has a quick temper or a short fuse will be evident to everyone, due to his rash actions.
2 sn The participle “exalts” (מֵרִים, merim) means that this person brings folly to a full measure, lifts it up, brings it to the full notice of everybody.
3 tn One who is “slow to anger” is a patient person (cf. NAB, NIV, NLT). This is explained further in the parallel line by the description of “one who rules his spirit” (וּמֹשֵׁל בְּרוּחוֹ, umoshel bÿrukho), meaning “controls his temper.” This means the person has the emotions under control and will not “fly off the handle” quickly.
4 tn Heb “who rules his spirit” (so NASB).
5 tn The phrase “is better than” does not appear in this line in the Hebrew text, but is implied by the parallelism.
6 sn The saying would have had greater impact when military prowess was held in high regard. It is harder, and therefore better, to control one’s passions than to do some great exploit on the battlefield.
7 tn Or “prudence,” the successful use of wisdom in discretion. Cf. NAB, NRSV, NLT “good sense.”
8 tn The Hiphil perfect of אָרַךְ (’arakh, “to be long”) means “to make long; to prolong.” Patience and slowness to anger lead to forgiveness of sins.
9 sn “Glory” signifies the idea of beauty or adornment. D. Kidner explains that such patience “brings out here the glowing colours of a virtue which in practice may look drably unassertive” (Proverbs [TOTC], 133).
10 tn Heb “to pass over” (so KJV, ASV); NCV, TEV “ignore.” The infinitive construct עֲבֹר (’avor) functions as the formal subject of the sentence. This clause provides the cause, whereas the former gave the effect – if one can pass over an offense there will be no anger.
sn W. McKane says, “The virtue which is indicated here is more than a forgiving temper; it includes also the ability to shrug off insults and the absence of a brooding hypersensitivity…. It contains elements of toughness and self-discipline; it is the capacity to stifle a hot, emotional rejoinder and to sleep on an insult” (Proverbs [OTL], 530).
11 tn The construction uses the imperfect tense of instruction with the infinitive absolute to emphasize the careful discernment required on such occasions. Cf. NIV “note well”; NLT “pay attention.”
12 tn Or “who,” referring to the ruler (so ASV, NAB, TEV).
13 sn The expression “put a knife to your throat” is an idiom that means “curb your appetite” or “control yourself” (cf. TEV). The instruction was from a time when people dealt with all-powerful tyrants. To enter the presence of such a person and indulge one’s appetites would be to take a very high risk.
14 tn Heb “lord of appetite.” The idiom בַּעַל נֶפֶשׁ (ba’al nefesh) refers to someone who possesses a large appetite (cf. NAB “a ravenous appetite”). A person with a big appetite is in danger of taking liberties when invited to court.
16 sn The final line gives the causal clause: The impressive feast is not what it appears to be; the king is not doing you a favor, but rather wants something from you or is observing you (K&D 17:104); cf. TEV “he may be trying to trick you.”
17 sn Verses 1-3 form the sixth saying about being cautious before rulers (cf. Instruction of Amememope, chap. 23, 23:13-18). One should not get too familiar with rulers, for they always have ulterior motives. The Mishnah cites Gamaliel as warning that a ruler only draws someone into his court for his purpose, but in their day of trouble he will not be there to help them (m. Abot 2:3).
18 tn Heb “whose spirit lacks restraint” (ASV similar). A person whose spirit (רוּחַ, ruakh) “lacks restraint” is one who is given to outbursts of passion, who lacks self-control (cf. NIV, NRSV, CEV, NLT). This person has no natural defenses but reveals his true nature all the time. The proverb is stating that without self-control a person is vulnerable, like a city without defenses.
19 tn The idiom “to harden the neck” (מַקְשֶׁה־עֹרֶף, maqsheh-’oref) is the idea of resisting the rebukes and persisting in obstinacy (e.g., Exod 32:9). The opposite of a “stiff neck” would be the bending back, i.e., submission.
20 tn The Hebrew construction is אִישׁ תּוֹכָחוֹת (’ish tokhakhot, “a man of rebukes”), meaning “a man who has (or receives) many rebukes.” This describes a person who is deserving of punishment and who has been given many warnings. The text says, then, “a man of rebukes hardening himself.”
22 tn Or “healing” (NRSV).