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Proverbs 17:21

Context

17:21 Whoever brings a fool 1  into the world 2  does so 3  to his grief,

and the father of a fool has no joy. 4 

1 sn Here the Hebrew terms כְּסִיל (kÿsil) and נָבָל (naval) are paired. The first one, which occurs about fifty times in the book, refers to a dullard, whether it be in spiritual, intellectual, or moral matters. The second word, rare in the book, primarily focuses on religious folly – it refers to the practical atheist, the one who lives as if there is no God.

2 tn The form simply means “bears” or “gives birth to,” but since it is masculine it could be rendered “fathers” (cf. NASB “he who begets a fool”; NIV “To have a fool for a son”). The form for “fool” is masculine, but the proverb is not limited only to male children (cf. NCV “It is sad to have a foolish child”).

3 tn The phrase “does so” is supplied for the sake of clarification.

4 sn Parents of fools, who had hoped for children who would be a credit to the family, find only bitter disappointment (cf. TEV “nothing but sadness and sorrow”).



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