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Proverbs 29:19

Context

29:19 A servant 1  cannot be corrected 2  by words,

for although 3  he understands, there is no answer. 4 

Proverbs 29:21

Context

29:21 If 5  someone pampers his servant from youth,

he will be a weakling 6  in the end.

1 sn Servants could not be corrected by mere words; they had to be treated like children for they were frequently unresponsive. This, of course, would apply to certain kinds of servants. The Greek version translated this as “a stubborn servant.”

2 tn The Niphal imperfect here is best rendered as a potential imperfect – “cannot be corrected.” The second line of the verse clarifies that even though the servant understands the words, he does not respond. It will take more.

3 tn Heb “for he understands, but there is no answer.” The concessive idea (“although”) is taken from the juxtaposition of the two parts.

4 sn To say “there is no answer” means that this servant does not obey – he has to be trained in a different way.

5 tn There is no conditional particle at the beginning of the verse; however, the relationship of the clauses, which lay down the condition first and then (with a vav) the consequences, indicates a conditional construction here. Cf. also NAB, NIV, NCV, TEV.

6 tn The word מָגוֹן (magon) is a hapax legomenon; accordingly, it has been given a variety of interpretations. The LXX has “grief,” and this has been adopted by some versions (e.g., NIV, NCV). The idea would be that treating the servant too easily for so long would not train him at all, so he will be of little use, and therefore a grief. J. Reider takes the word to mean “weakling” from the Arabic root na’na (“to be weak”), with a noun/adjective form muna’ana’ (“weak; feeble”); see his “Etymological Studies in Biblical Hebrew,” VT 4 [1954]: 276-95. This would give a different emphasis to the sentence, but on the whole not very different than the first. In both cases the servant will not be trained well. Rashi, a Jewish scholar who lived a.d. 1040-1105, had the translation “a master.” The servant trained this way will assume authority in the household even as the son. This may be behind the KJV translation “son” (likewise ASV, NASB). Tg. Prov 29:21 and the Syriac have “to be uprooted,” which may reflect a different text entirely.



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