understanding will guard you,
to walk on the dark 9 ways,
they rejoice in perverse evil; 13
and who are devious 16 in their ways;
nor will they reach the paths of life. 32
and will keep on the paths of the righteous. 35
2:21 For the upright will reside in the land,
and those with integrity 36 will remain in it,
and do not choose to imitate 42 any of his ways;
6:13 he winks with his eyes,
signals with his feet,
and points with his fingers; 50
he spreads contention 52 at all times.
6:15 Therefore, his disaster will come suddenly;
in an instant 53 he will be broken, and there will be no remedy.
but love covers all transgressions. 64
but the one who is trustworthy 75 conceals a matter.
but the one who listens to advice is wise. 79
but a fool displays 93 his folly.
and a gossip separates the closest friends. 99
and leads him down a path that is terrible. 102
but whoever repeats a matter separates close friends. 113
whoever builds his gate high seeks destruction. 118
and the one who is deceitful in speech 121 falls into trouble.
he rejects 127 all sound judgment.
but when he goes on his way, he boasts. 133
strife and insults will cease. 139
and the rod of his fury 141 will end.
22:26 Do not be one who strikes hands in pledge
or who puts up security for debts.
23:1 When you sit down to eat with a ruler,
if you possess a large appetite. 145
do not crave his delicacies;
“Eat and drink,” he says to you,
but his heart is not with you;
and will have wasted your pleasant words. 154
for he will despise the wisdom of your words. 156
so is the one who hires 161 a fool or hires any passer-by.
his evil will be uncovered 172 in the assembly.
the one who rolls a stone – it will come back on him.
and a flattering mouth works ruin. 175
1 tn The word מְזִמָּה (mÿzimmah, “discretion”) is the ability to know the best course of action for achieving one’s goal. It is knowledge and understanding with a purpose. This kind of knowledge enables one to make the right choices that will protect him from blunders and their consequences (cf. NLT “wise planning”; CEV “sound judgment”).
2 tn Heb “will watch over you.”
3 tn The Hiphil infinitive construct of נָצַל (natsal, “to deliver”) expresses the purpose of understanding right conduct: to protect a person from the wicked. The verb נָצַל (natsal) means “to save; to deliver; to rescue,” as in snatching away prey from an animal, rescuing from enemies, plucking a brand from the fire, retrieving property, or the like. Here it portrays rescue from the course of action of the wicked.
4 tn The term “wicked” (רַע, ra’) means “bad, harmful, painful.” Rather than referring to the abstract concept of “wickedness” in general, the term probably refers to wicked people because of the parallelism with “those speaking perversity.”
5 tn Heb “man.” The singular noun אִישׁ (’ish, “man”) here will be further defined in vv. 13-15 with plural forms (verbs, nouns and suffixes). So the singular functions in a collective sense which is rendered in a plural sense in the translation for the sake of clarification and smoothness.
6 tn Heb “perversities.” The plural form of תַּהְפֻּכוֹת (tahpukhot) may denote a plurality of number (“perverse things”) or intensification: “awful perversity.” As here, it often refers to perverse speech (Prov 8:13; 10:31, 32; 23:33). It is related to the noun הֶפֶךְ (hefekh, “that which is contrary, perverse”) which refers to what is contrary to morality (Isa 29:16; Ezek 16:34; BDB 246 s.v. הֶפֶךְ). The related verb הָפַךְ (hafakh, “to turn; to overturn”) is used (1) literally of turning things over, e.g., tipping over a bowl (2 Kgs 21:13) and turning over bread-cakes (Judg 7:13; Hos 7:8) and (2) figuratively of perverting things so that they are morally upside down, so to speak (Jer 23:36). These people speak what is contrary to morality, wisdom, sense, logic or the truth.
8 tn Heb “paths of uprightness.” The noun יָשָׁר (yashar, “uprightness; straightness”) is an attributive genitive. The moral life is described in Proverbs as the smooth, straight way (2:13; 4:11). The wicked abandon the clear straight path for an evil, crooked, uncertain path.
9 tn Heb “ways of darkness.” Darkness is often metaphorical for sinfulness, ignorance, or oppression. Their way of life lacks spiritual illumination.
11 tn The Qal infinitive construct is the complementary use of the form, expressing the direct object of the participle.
12 tn Or “harm.”
13 tn Heb “the perversity of evil” (so NASB). The noun רָע (ra’, “evil”) functions as an attributed genitive which is modified by the construct noun תַהְפֻּכוֹת (tahpukhot, “perversity”) which functions as an attributive adjective.
14 tn The noun in this relative clause is an accusative of specification: The evil people are twisted with respect to their paths/conduct.
15 tn Heb “crooked.” The adjective עִקֵּשׁ (’iqqesh, “crooked; twisted”) uses the morphological pattern of adjectives that depict permanent bodily defects, e.g., blindness, lameness. Their actions are morally defective and, apart from repentance, are permanently crooked and twisted.
17 sn This purpose clause introduced by לְהַצִּילְךָ (lÿhatsilkha, “to deliver you”) parallels the purpose clause introduced by לְהַצִּילְךָ (“to deliver you”) in v. 12. There it introduced deliverance from the evil man, and now from the evil woman. The description of the evil man encompassed four poetic lines in the Hebrew text (vv. 12-15); likewise, the description of the evil woman is four poetic lines (vv. 16-19).
18 tn Heb “strange woman” (so KJV, NASB); NRSV “the loose woman.” The root זוּר (zur, “to be a stranger”) sometimes refers to people who are ethnically foreign to Israel (Isa 1:7; Hos 7:9; 8:7) but it often refers to what is morally estranged from God or his covenant people (Pss 58:4; 78:30; BDB 266 s.v.). Referring to a woman, it means adulteress or prostitute (Prov 2:16; 5:3, 20; 7:5; 22:14; 23:33; see BDB 266 s.v. 2.b). It does not mean that she is a foreigner but that she is estranged from the community with its social and religious values (W. McKane, Proverbs [OTL], 285). It describes her as outside the framework of the covenant community (L. A. Snijders, “The Meaning of זוּר in the Old Testament: An Exegetical Study,” OTS 10 : 85-86). Here an Israelite woman is in view because her marriage is called a “covenant with God.” She is an adulteress, acting outside the legal bounds of the marriage contract.
19 tn Heb “alien woman.” The adjective נָכְרִי (nokhri, “foreign; alien”) refers to (1) people who are ethnically alien to Israel (Exod 21:8; Deut 17:15; Judg 19:12; Ruth 2:10; 1 Kgs 11:1, 8; Ezra 10:2, 10, 11; see BDB 649 s.v. 1); (2) people who are morally alienated from God and his covenant people (Job 19:15; Ps 69:9; Prov 20:16; Eccl 6:2; Jer 2:21; see BDB 649 s.v. 3) and (3) as a technical term in Proverbs for a harlot or promiscuous woman as someone who is morally alienated from God and moral society (Prov 2:16; 5:20; 6:24; 7:5; 20:16; 23:27; 27:13; see BDB 649 s.v. 2). The description of the woman as a “strange woman” and now an “alien woman” is within the context of the people of Israel. She is a “foreigner” in the sense that she is a nonconformist, wayward and loose. It does not necessarily mean that she is not ethnically Israelite (though BDB notes that most harlots in Israel were originally chiefly foreigners by reason of their otherwise homeless condition).
20 tn Heb “makes smooth.” The Hiphil of II חָלַק (“to be smooth; to be slippery”) means (1) “to make smooth” (metal with hammer) and (2) “to use smooth words,” that is, to flatter (Pss 5:10; 36:3; Prov 2:16; 7:5; 28:23; 29:5; see BDB 325 s.v. 2; HALOT 322 s.v. I חלק hif.2). The related Arabic cognate verb means “make smooth, lie, forge, fabricate.” The seductive speech of the temptress is compared to olive oil (5:3) and is recounted (7:14-20).
21 tn Heb “whose words she makes smooth.” The phrase is a relative clause that does not have a relative pronoun. The antecedent of the 3rd person feminine singular suffix is clearly “the sexually loose woman” earlier in the line.
22 tn The construction is the active participle of עָזַב (’azav) with the article, serving as an attributive adjective. The verb means “to forsake; to leave; to abandon.”
23 tn Heb “companion” (so NAB, NASB); NIV “partner.” The term אַלּוּף (’alluf, “companion”) is from the root אָלַף (’alaf, “to be familiar with; to cleave to”) and refers to a woman’s husband (Prov 2:17; Jer 3:4; see BDB 48 s.v. אַלּוּף 2). This noun follows the passive adjectival formation and so signifies one who is well-known.
24 tn Heb “of her youth.” The noun נְעוּרֶיהָ (nÿ’ureha, “her youth”) functions as a temporal genitive. The plural form is characteristic of nouns that refer to long periods of duration in the various stages of life. The time of “youth” encompasses the entire formative period within marriage.
25 tn Heb “the covenant.” This could refer to the Mosaic covenant that prohibits adultery, or more likely, as in the present translation, the marriage covenant (cf. also TEV, CEV). The lexicons list this use of “covenant” (בְּרִית, bÿrit) among other referents to marriage (Prov 2:17; Ezek 16:8; Mal 2:14; BDB 136 s.v. 1.5; HALOT 157 s.v. A.9).
26 tn Heb “covenant of God.” The genitive-construct could mean “covenant made before God.” The woman and her husband had made a marriage-covenant in which God was invoked as witness. Her sin is against her solemn pledge to her husband, as well as against God.
27 tn Or “she sinks her house down to death.” The syntax of this line is difficult. The verb שָׁחָה is Qal perfect 3rd person feminine singular of שׁוּחַ (“to sink down”) which must take a feminine singular subject – most likely the “loose woman” of 2:16-17. However, most English versions take בֵּיתָהּ (betah) “her house” (ms noun + 3rd person feminine singular suffix) as the subject (e.g., KJV, RSV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, CEV): “her house sinks down to death.” But בֵּיתָהּ “her house” (ms noun + 3rd person feminine singular suffix) is masculine rather than feminine so it cannot be the subject. K&D 16:83 suggests that בֵּיתָהּ (“her house”) is a permutative noun that qualifies the subject: “she together with all that belongs to her [her house] sinks down to death” (GKC 425 §131.k). D. Kidner suggests that “her house” is in apposition to “death” (e.g., Job 17:13; 30:23; Prov 9:18; Eccl 12:5), meaning that death is her house: “she sinks down to death, which is her house” (Proverbs [TOTC], 62). The BHS editors attempt to resolve this syntactical problem by suggesting a conjectural emendation of MT בֵּיתָהּ (“her house”) to the feminine singular noun נְתִיבֹתֶהָּ (“her path”) which appears in 7:27, to recover a feminine subject for the verb: “her path sinks down to death.” However, the reading of the MT is supported by all the versions.
28 tc The MT reads שָׁחָה (Qal perfect 3rd person feminine singular of שׁוּחַ “to sink down”): “she sinks her house down to death.” The LXX reflects שָׁתָה (shatah, Qal perfect 3rd person feminine singular of שִׁית (shith) “to place; to put”): “she established her house near death.” This is a matter of simple orthographic confusion between ח (khet) and ת (tav). The MT preserves the more difficult reading (see following note) so it is probably the original.
29 tn The verb “lead” is not in the Hebrew but is implied by the parallelism; it is supplied in the translation for the sake of smoothness.
30 tn Heb “to the departed spirits” or “to the Rephaim.” The term רְפָאִים (rÿfa’im, “Rephaim”) refers to spirits of the dead who are inhabitants of Sheol (BDB 952 s.v.; HALOT 1274-75 s.v. I רְפָאִים). It is used in parallelism with מֵתִים (metim, “the dead”) to refer to the departed spirits of the dead in Sheol (Ps 88:11; Isa 26:14). The Rephaim inhabit מָוֶת (mavet, “[place of] death”; Prov 2: 18), שְׁאוֹל (shÿ’ol, “Sheol”; Job 26:5; Prov 9:18; Isa 14:9), “darkness and the land of forgetfulness” (Ps 88:14), and “the land of the Rephaim” (Isa 26:19). Scholars debate whether רְפָאִים is derived from the root (1) רָפָא (rafa’, “to heal”), meaning “the healers” or (2) רָפָה (rafah, “to be weak; to sink down”), meaning “the powerless ones” or “those who sink down (to Sheol)” (BDB 952 s.v.; HALOT 1274-75 s.v.). The related term occurs in Phoenician and Neo-Punic meaning “spirits of the dead” (DISO 282) and in Ugaritic referring to “spirits of the dead” who inhabited the underworld and were viewed as healers (UT 2346; WUS 2527). The Hebrew term is often translated “the shades” as a description of the shadowy existence of those who dwelling in Sheol who have lost their vitality (R. F. Schnell, IDB 4:35). Used here in parallelism with מָוֶת (“[place of] death”), רְפָאִים (“the Rephaim”) probably functions as a synecdoche of inhabitants (= the departed spirits of the dead) for the place inhabited (= Sheol). The point of this line is that those who fall prey to an adulteress will end up among the departed spirits in the realm of the dead. This might mean (1) physical death: he will get himself killed by her zealous husband (e.g., Prov 5:23; 6:32-35; 7:23-27) or (2) spiritual death: he will find himself estranged from the community, isolated from the blessings of God, a moral leper, living a shadowy existence of “death” in the land of no return (W. McKane, Proverbs [OTL], 288).
31 tn Heb “all who go in to her will not return.”
32 sn The phrase “reach the paths of life” is a figurative expression for experiencing joy and fullness of blessing (BDB 673 s.v. נָשַׂג 2.a).
33 tn The conjunction לְמַעַן (lÿma’an, “so; as a result”) introduces the concluding result (BDB 775 s.v. מַעַן 2; HALOT 614 s.v. מַעַן 2.c) of heeding the admonition to attain wisdom (2:1-11) and to avoid the evil men and women and their destructive ways (2:12-19).
34 tn The noun “good” (טוֹבִים, tovim) does not function as an attributive genitive (“the good way”) because it is a plural noun and the term “way” (דֶרֶךְ, derekh) is singular. Rather it functions as a genitive of possession identifying the people who walk on this path: “the way of the good people.”
35 tn In the light of the parallelism, the noun “righteous” (צַדִּיקִים, tsadiqim) functions as a genitive of possession rather than an attributive genitive.
36 tn Heb “the blameless” (so NASB, NIV); NAB “the honest”; NRSV “the innocent.” The term תְּמִימִים (tÿmimim, “the blameless”) describes those who live with integrity. They are blameless in that they live above reproach according to the requirements of the law.
37 tn Heb “the guilty.” The term רְשָׁעִים (rÿsha’im, “the wicked”) is from the root רָשַׁע (rasha’, “to be guilty”) and refers to those who are (1) guilty of sin: moral reprobates or (2) guilty of crime: criminals deserving punishment (BDB 957 s.v. רָשָׁע). This is the person who is probably not a covenant member and manifests that in the way he lives, either by sinning against God or committing criminal acts. The noun sometimes refers to guilty criminals who deserve to die (Num 16:26; 35:31; 2 Sam 4:11). Here they will be “cut off” and “torn away” from the land.
38 tn Heb “cut off.” The verb כָּרַת (karat, “to be cut off”) indicates either that the guilty will (1) die prematurely, (2) be excommunicated from the community or (3) be separated eternally in judgment. The Mishnah devoted an entire tractate (m. Keritot) to this topic. The context suggests that the guilty will be “removed” from the land where the righteous dwell in security either through death or expulsion.
39 tn The word בָּגַד (bagad) means “to act treacherously” (BDB 93 s.v.; HALOT 108 s.v. בגד). It describes those who deal treacherously, unfaithfully or deceitfully in marriage relations, matters of property or personal rights, in violating covenants, and in their words and general conduct.
40 tn The consonantal form יסחו (yskhv) is vocalized in the MT as יִסְּחוּ (yissÿkhu, Qal imperfect 3rd person masculine plural from נָסַח, nasakh, “to tear away”) but this produces an awkward sense: “they [= the righteous in vv. 20-21] will tear away the treacherous from it” (BDB 650 s.v. נָסַח). Due to the parallelism, the BHS editors suggest emending the form to יִנָּסְחוּ (yinnaskhu, Niphal imperfect 3rd person masculine plural): “the treacherous will be torn away from it.” However, Tg. Prov 2:22 points the form as יֻסְחוּ (yuskhu) which reflects an old Qal passive vocalization – probably the best solution to the problem: “the treacherous will be torn away from it.”
41 tn Heb “a man of violence.” The noun חָמָס (khamas, “violence”) functions as an attributive genitive. The word itself means “violence, wrong” (HALOT 329 s.v.) and refers to physical violence, social injustice, harsh treatment, wild ruthlessness, injurious words, hatred, and general rudeness (BDB 329 s.v.).
42 tn Heb “do not choose.”
43 tn The basic meaning of the verb לוּז (luz) is “to turn aside; to depart” (BDB 531 s.v.). The Niphal stem is always used figuratively of moral apostasy from the path of righteousness: (1) “to go astray” (Prov 2:15; 3:32; 14:2) and (2) “crookedness” in action (Isa 30:12; see HALOT 522 s.v. לוז nif; BDB 531 s.v. Niph).
44 tn Heb “abomination of the
45 tn Heb “but with the upright is his intimate counsel.” The phrase “he reveals” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for the sake of smoothness and clarity.
46 tn Heb “his counsel.” The noun סוֹד (sod) can refer to (1) “intimate circle” of friends and confidants, (2) “confidential discussion” among friends and confidants, or “secret counsel” revealed from one confidant to another and kept secret and (3) relationship of “intimacy” with a person (BDB 691 s.v.; HALOT 745 s.v.). God reveals his secret counsel to the heavenly assembly (Job 15:8; Jer 23:18, 22) and his prophets (Amos 3:7). God has brought the angels into his “intimate circle” (Ps 89:8). Likewise, those who fear the
47 sn The terms describe one who is both worthless and wicked. Some suggest that בְּלִיַּעַל (bÿliyya’al) is a compound of the negative בְּלִי (bÿli) and a noun יַעַל (ya’al, “profit; worth”). Others suggest that the root is from בַּעַל (ba’al, “lord [of goats]”) or a derivative of בָּלַע (bala’) with reduplication (“confusion” or “engulfing ruin”), or a proper name from Babylonian Bililu. See B. Otzen, TDOT 2:131-36; and D. W. Thomas, “בְּלִיַּעַל in the Old Testament,” Biblical and Patristic Studies in Memory of Robert Pierce Casey, 11-19. Whatever the etymology, usage shows that the word describes people who violate the law (Deut 15:9; Judg 19:22; 1 Kgs 21:10, 13; Prov 16:27; et al.) or act in a contemptuous and foolish manner against cultic observance or social institutions (1 Sam 10:27; 25:17; 30:22); cf. NRSV “a scoundrel and a villain” (NAB and NIV similar). The present instruction will focus on the devious practice of such wicked and worthless folk.
48 tn Heb “crooked” or “twisted.” This term can refer to something that is physically twisted or crooked, or something morally perverse. Cf. NAB “crooked talk”; NRSV “crooked speech.”
49 tn Heb “walks around with a perverse mouth.” The term “mouth” is a metonymy of cause, an organ of speech put for what is said. This is an individual who says perverted or twisted things.
50 sn The sinister sign language and gestures of the perverse individual seem to indicate any kind of look or gesture that is put on and therefore a form of deception if not a way of making insinuations. W. McKane suggests from the presence of חֹרֵשׁ (khoresh) in v. 14 that there may be some use of magic here (Proverbs [OTL], 325).
51 tn The noun is an adverbial accusative of manner, explaining the circumstances that inform his evil plans.
52 tn The word “contention” is from the root דִּין (din); the noun means “strife, contention, quarrel.” The normal plural form is represented by the Qere, and the contracted form by the Kethib.
53 tn This word is a substantive that is used here as an adverbial accusative – with suddenness, at an instant.
54 sn The word “blessings” has the sense of gifts, enrichments, that is, the rewards or the results of being righteous. The blessings come either from the people the righteous deal with, or from God. CEV understands the blessings as praise for good behavior (“Everyone praises good people”).
55 tn Heb “the mouth.” The term פֶּה (peh, “mouth”) functions as a metonymy of cause for speech.
56 tn Heb “covers.” Behind the speech of the wicked is aggressive violence (W. McKane, Proverbs [OTL], 422).
57 tn The syntax of this line is ambiguous. The translation takes “the mouth of the wicked” as the nominative subject and “violence” as the accusative direct object; however, the subject might be “violence,” hence: “violence covers the mouth of the wicked” (cf. KJV, ASV, NIV).
58 tn Heb “mouth.” The word “mouth” is metonymy of cause, representing what the righteous say and teach.
59 tn Heb “a fountain of life is the mouth of the righteous” (NAB similar). The subject (“a fountain of life”) and the predicate (“the mouth of the righteous”) in the Hebrew text are reversed in the present translation (as in most English versions) for the sake of clarity and smoothness. The idea of this metaphor, “the fountain of life,” may come from Ps 36:9 (e.g., also Prov 13:14; 14:27; 16:22). What the righteous say is beneficial to life or life-giving. Their words are life-giving but the words of the wicked are violent. See R. B. Y. Scott, “Wise and Foolish, Righteous and Wicked,” VT 29 (1972): 145-65.
60 tn Heb “the mouth.” The term פֶּה (peh, “mouth”) functions as a metonymy of cause for speech.
61 tn Heb “covers.” Behind the speech of the wicked is aggressive violence (W. McKane, Proverbs [OTL], 422).
62 tn The syntax of this line is ambiguous. The translation takes “the mouth of the wicked” as the nominative subject and “violence” as the accusative direct object; however, the subject might be “violence,” hence: “violence covers the mouth of the wicked.”
63 sn This contrasts the wicked motivated by hatred (animosity, rejection) with the righteous motivated by love (kind acts, showing favor).
65 tn Heb “on the lips” (so NAB, NASB, NRSV). The term “lips” is a metonymy of cause for the words spoken by the lips.
66 tn Heb “the one who is discerning.” The term “discerning” describes someone who is critically perceptive and has understanding. He can be relied on to say things that are wise.
67 tn Heb “the one lacking of heart.” The noun לֵב (lev, “heart”) functions as a genitive of specification: “lacking in respect to heart.” The term לֵב functions in a figurative sense (metonymy of association) for wisdom because the heart is viewed as the seat of common sense (BDB 524 s.v. 3.a).
68 tn Heb “a rod is for the back of the one lacking heart.” The term שֵׁבֶט (shevet, “rod”) functions figuratively: synecdoche of specific (= rod of discipline) for general (= discipline in general). The term גֵו (gev, “back”) is a synecdoche of part (= back) for the whole (= person as a whole). The back is emphasized because it was the object of physical corporeal discipline. This proverb is not limited in its application to physical corporeal punishment because the consequences of foolishness may come in many forms, physical corporeal discipline being only one form.
69 tn Heb “lips of falsehood.” The genitive noun שָׁקֶר (shaqer, “falsehood”) functions as an attributive genitive. The noun “lips” is a metonymy of cause for speech produced by lips. The one who shows friendliness while concealing hatred is a liar (e.g., Ps 28:3).
70 tn Heb “causes to go out.” The Hiphil of יָצָא (yatsa) literally means “to cause to go out” (BDB 424 s.v. Hiph.1). This may refer to speech (“to utter”) in the sense of causing words to go out of one’s mouth, or it may refer to slander (“to spread”) in the sense of causing slander to go out to others.
71 tn The word דִבָּה (dibbah) means “whispering; defamation; evil report” (BDB 179 s.v.). Cf. NAB “accusations”; TEV “gossip.”
sn The one who spreads slander is a fool because it not only destroys others but comes back on the guilty. See also the sayings of Amenemope and Ahiqar on these subjects (ANET 423, 429).
72 tn Heb “he is a fool.” The independent personal pronoun הוּא (hu’, “he”) is used for emphasis. This is reflected in the translation as “certainly.”
73 tn Heb “going about in slander.” This expression refers to a slanderer. The noun means “slander” and so “tale-bearer” (so KJV, ASV, NASB), “informer.” The related verb (רָכַל, rakhal) means “to go about” from one person to another, either for trade or for gossip.
74 tn The participle מְגַלֶּה (mÿgaleh) means “uncovering” or “revealing” secrets.
sn This is the intent of a person who makes disparaging comments about others – he cannot wait to share secrets that should be kept.
75 tn Heb “faithful of spirit.” This phrase describes the inner nature of the person as faithful and trustworthy. This individual will not rush out to tell whatever information he has heard, but will conceal it.
76 sn The way of a fool describes a headlong course of actions (“way” is an idiom for conduct) that is not abandoned even when wise advice is offered.
77 sn The fool believes that his own plans and ideas are perfect or “right” (יָשָׁר, yashar); he is satisfied with his own opinion.
78 tn Heb “in his own eyes.”
79 tn Or “a wise person listens to advice” (cf. NIV, NRSV, TEV, CEV, NLT).
80 tn Heb “The fool, at once his vexation is known.” This rhetorically emphatic construction uses an independent nominative absolute, which is then followed by the formal subject with a suffix. The construction focuses attention on “the fool,” then states what is to be said about him.
81 tn Heb “on the day” or “the same day.”
sn The fool is impatient and unwise, and so flares up immediately when anything bothers him. W. McKane says that the fool’s reaction is “like an injured animal and so his opponent knows that he has been wounded” (Proverbs [OTL], 442).
82 tn Heb “shrewd.”
83 tn Heb “covers.” The verb כָּסָה (casah) means “covers” in the sense of ignores or bides his time. The point is not that he does not respond at all, but that he is shrewd enough to handle the criticism or insult in the best way – not instinctively and irrationally.
84 tn The text has “he pours out faithfully”; the word rendered “faithfully” or “reliably” (אֱמוּנָה, ’emunah) is used frequently for giving testimony in court, and so here the subject matter is the reliable witness.
85 tn Heb “righteousness.”
86 tn Heb “witness of falsehoods.” The genitive noun functions attributively, and the plural form depicts habitual action or moral characteristic. This describes a person who habitually lies. A false witness cannot be counted on to help the cause of justice.
87 tn The term “speaks” does not appear in this line but is implied by the parallelism; it is supplied in the translation for clarity and smoothness.
89 tn Heb “the tongue” (so NAB, NIV, NRSV). The term לָשׁוֹן (lashon, “tongue”) functions as a metonymy of cause for what is said.
90 tn The term “brings” does not appear in the Hebrew but is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity and smoothness.
91 sn Healing is a metonymy of effect. Healing words are the opposite of the cutting, irresponsible words. What the wise say is faithful and true, gentle and kind, uplifting and encouraging; so their words bring healing.
92 sn The shrewd person knows the circumstances, dangers and pitfalls that lie ahead. So he deals with them wisely. This makes him cautious.
93 tn Heb “spreads open” [his folly]. W. McKane suggests that this is a figure of a peddler displaying his wares (Proverbs [OTL], 456; cf. NAB “the fool peddles folly”). If given a chance, a fool will reveal his foolishness in public. But the wise study the facts and make decisions accordingly.
94 tn Heb “a man of belial.” This phrase means “wicked scoundrel.” Some translate “worthless” (so ASV, NASB, CEV), but the phrase includes deep depravity and wickedness (C. H. Toy, Proverbs [ICC], 125-26).
96 tn Heb “on his lips” (so NAB) The term “lips” is a metonymy of cause. To say that “evil” is on his lips means that he talks about the evil he has dug up.
97 sn The simile stresses the devastating way that slander hurts people. W. McKane says that this one “digs for scandal and…propagates it with words which are ablaze with misanthropy” (Proverbs [OTL], 494).
98 tn Heb “a man of perverse things”; NAB “an intriguer.” This refers to someone who destroys lives. The parallelism suggests that he is a “slanderer” or “gossip” – one who whispers and murmurs (18:8; 26:20, 22).
99 tn The term אַלּוּף (’aluf) refers to a “friend” or “an intimate associate.” The word has other possible translations, including “tame” or “docile” when used of animals. Rashi, a Jewish scholar who lived
100 tn Heb “man of violence.” He influences his friends toward violence. The term חָמָס (khamas, “violence”) often refers to sins against society, social injustices, and crimes.
101 tn The verb in the first colon is the Piel imperfect, and the form in the second is the Hiphil perfect; the first is a habitual imperfect, and the second a gnomic perfect. The first verb, “to persuade, seduce, entice,” is the metonymy of cause; the second verb, “to lead,” is the metonymy of effect, the two together forming the whole process.
102 tn Heb “not good” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV); NLT “a harmful path.” The expression “a way that is not good” is an example of tapeinosis – a deliberate understatement for the sake of emphasis: It is terrible. This refers to crime and violence. The understatement is used to warn people away from villains and to remind them to follow a good path.
103 sn The participle עֹצֶה (’otseh) describes one as shutting his eyes (cf. KJV, ASV). This could mean simply “closing the eyes,” or it could refer to “winking” (so many English versions). The proverb is saying that facial expressions often reveal if someone is plotting evil (e.g., 6:13-14).
104 tn The conjunction “and” does not appear in the Hebrew but is implied by the synonymous parallelism.
105 tn The participle קֹרֵץ (qorets) indicates that the person involved is pinching, compressing, or biting his lips (cf. NIV “purses his lips”).
106 tn The verb is a Piel perfect; it means “complete, finish, bring to an end.” The two cola may form the whole process: The first line has “to devise” evil, and the second has “he completes” evil. BDB, however, classifies this use of the Piel as “to accomplish in thought” meaning “to determine” something (BDB 478 s.v. כָּלָה 1f). In that case the two lines would have synonymous ideas, i.e., using facial expressions to plan evil actions.
107 tn The Hiphil participle מֵרַע (mera’) indicates one who is a doer of evil. The line affirms that a person of this nature will eagerly listen to evil talk – it is part of his nature.
108 tn Heb “to the lip of evil”; ASV, NAB, NASB, NRSV “wicked lips.” The term “lip” is a metonymy of cause for speech (what is said); the term “evil” is an attributive genitive. The same will be true in the parallel line where the expression “to the tongue of destruction” (NASB “a destructive tongue”) means things that are said that destroy others.
109 tc The verb מֵזִין (mezin) is from זִין (zir, “to feed”); therefore, the suggested emendation is to take it from אֹזֶן (’ozen, “ear”) as a denominative verb, “to give ear; to listen to.” Two Hebrew
111 tn Heb “covers” (so NASB); NIV “covers over.” How people respond to the faults of others reveals whether or not they have love. The contrast is between one who “covers” (forgives, cf. NCV, NRSV) the fault of a friend and one who repeats news about it. The former promotes love because he cares about the person; the latter divides friends.
112 sn The participle מְבַקֵּשׁ (mÿvaqesh) means “seeks” in the sense of seeking to secure or procure or promote love. There can be no friendship without such understanding and discretion.
113 sn W. G. Plaut notes that harping on the past has destroyed many friendships and marriages (Proverbs, 188). W. McKane observes that this line refers to the person who breaks up friendships by his scandalous gossip, even if it is done with a kind of zeal for the welfare of the community, for it will destroy love and trust (Proverbs [OTL], 508-9).
114 sn The proverb is set up in a cause and effect relationship. The cause is that evil people seek rebellion. The term מְרִי (mÿri) means “rebellion.” It is related to the verb מָרָה (marah, “to be contentious; to be rebellious; to be refractory”). BDB 598 s.v. מְרִי translates the line “a rebellious man seeketh only evil” (so NASB).
115 tn The parallelism seems to be formal, with the idea simply continuing to the second line; the conjunction is therefore translated to reflect this. However, the proverb could be interpreted as antithetical just as easily.
116 sn Those bent on rebellion will meet with retribution. The messenger could very well be a merciless messenger from the king; but the expression could also figuratively describe something God sends – storms, pestilence, or any other misfortune.
117 tn Heb “the one who loves transgression the one who loves a quarrel.” There is some ambiguity in the first line. The meaning would not differ greatly if either were taken as the subject; but the parallelism suggests that the proverb is about a quarrelsome and arrogant person who loves sin and invites destruction.
118 tn Some have taken this second line literally and interpreted it to mean he has built a pretentious house. Probably it is meant to be figurative: The gate is the mouth (the figure would be hypocatastasis) and so to make it high is to say lofty things – he brags too much (e.g., 1 Sam 2:3; Prov 18:12; 29:23); cf. NCV, TEV, NLT. C. H. Toy (Proverbs [ICC], 348) wishes to emend פִּתְחוֹ (pitkho, “his gate”) to פִּיו (piv, “his mouth”), but that is unnecessary since the idea can be obtained by interpretation.
119 tn The verse parallels two descriptions of the wicked person: “crooked/perverse of heart” (genitive of specification), and “turned away in his tongue” (deceitful). The first phrase describes twisted intentions. The second, using the Niphal participle (“one turned away”) with “tongue,” the metonymy of cause, describes one who has turned away from speaking truth. Cf. NLT “the twisted tongue tumbles into trouble.”
120 tn The phrase “does not find good” is a figure (tapeinosis) meaning, “will experience calamity.” The wicked person can expect trouble ahead.
121 tn Heb “tongue”; NIV “whose tongue is deceitful.”
122 tn The verse begins with אֶת־פְּנֵי מֵבִין (’et-pÿni mevin), “before the discerning” or “the face of the discerning.” The particle אֶת here is simply drawing emphasis to the predicate (IBHS 182-83 §10.3.2b). Cf. NIV “A discerning man keeps wisdom in view.”
123 tn The term “run” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied for the sake of clarification.
124 sn To say that “the eyes of the fool run to the ends of the earth” means that he has no power to concentrate and cannot focus his attention on anything. The language is hyperbolic. Cf. NCV “the mind of a fool wanders everywhere.”
125 tn The Niphal participle functions substantively and has a reflexive nuance: “one who has separated himself” (cf. KJV, ASV, NASB). He is not merely anti-social; he is a problem for society since he will defy sound judgment. The Mishnah uses the verse to teach the necessity of being part of a community because people have social responsibilities and need each other (m. Avot 2:4).
126 tc The MT has “seeks [his own] desire[s].” The translation in the LXX represents a Hebrew Vorlage of לְתֹאֲנָה (lÿto’anah) instead of לְתַאֲוָה (lÿta’avah); this could be translated “seeks his own occasion,” that is, “his own pretext” (C. H. Toy, Proverbs [ICC], 354; cf. NAB). The MT makes sense as it stands and the emendation is not really necessary.
128 sn This expression forms an understatement (tapeinosis); the opposite is the point – he detests understanding or discernment.
129 tn The Hitpael infinitive construct בְּהִתְגַּלּוֹת (bÿhitgalot) functions nominally as the object of the preposition. The term means “reveal, uncover, betray.” So the fool takes pleasure “in uncovering” his heart.
130 tn Heb “his heart.” This is a metonymy meaning “what is on his mind” (cf. NAB “displaying what he thinks”; NRSV “expressing personal opinion”). This kind of person is in love with his own ideas and enjoys spewing them out (W. McKane, Proverbs [OTL], 515). It is the kind of person who would ask a question, not to learn, but to show everyone how clever he is (cf. TEV).
131 tn Heb “[It is] bad, [it is] bad.” Since “bad” can be understood in some modern contexts as a descriptive adjective meaning “good,” the translation uses “worthless” instead – the real point of the prospective buyer’s exclamation.
132 sn This proverb reflects standard procedure in the business world. When negotiating the transaction the buyer complains how bad the deal is for him, or how worthless the prospective purchase, but then later brags about what a good deal he got. The proverb will alert the inexperienced as to how things are done.
133 tn The Hitpael imperfect of הָלַל (halal) means “to praise” – to talk in glowing terms, excitedly. In this stem it means “to praise oneself; to boast.”
134 tn Heb “a wicked man.”
135 tn Heb “he hardens his face.” To make the face firm or hard means to show boldness (BDB 738 s.v. עָזַז Hiph); cf. NRSV “put on a bold face.”
136 tn The “upright” is an independent nominative absolute; the pronoun becomes the formal (emphatic) subject of the verb.
137 tc The Kethib is the imperfect of כּוּן (kun), “he establishes.” This reading has the support of the Syriac, Latin, and Tg. Prov 21:29, and is followed by ASV. The Qere is the imperfect tense of בִּין (bin), “he understands; he discerns.” It has the support of the LXX and is followed by NIV, NCV, NRSV, NLT. The difficulty is that both make good sense in the passage and both have support. The contrast is between the wicked who shows a bold face (reflecting a hardened heart) and the upright who either gives thought to his ways (or solidifies his ways). The sense of the Qere may form a slightly better contrast, one between the outer appearance of boldness and the inner discernment of action.
138 sn This proverb, written in loose synonymous parallelism, instructs that the scorner should be removed because he causes strife. The “scorner” is לֵץ (lets), the one the book of Proverbs says cannot be changed with discipline or correction, but despises and disrupts anything that is morally or socially constructive.
139 tc The LXX freely adds “when he sits in council (ἐν συνεδρίῳ, ejn sunedriw), he insults everyone.” The MT does not suggest that the setting is in a court of law; so the LXX addition is highly unlikely.
140 sn The verse is making an implied comparison (a figure of speech known as hypocatastasis) between sowing and sinning. One who sins is like one who sows, for there will be a “harvest” or a return on the sin – trouble.
141 tc There is a variant reading in the LXX; instead of “the rod of his wrath” it reads “the punishment of his deeds.” C. H. Toy wishes to emend שֵׁבֶט (shevet) to שֶׁבֶר (shever), “the produce of his work” (Proverbs [ICC], 416). But the Hebrew text is not obscure, and שֶׁבֶר does not exactly mean “produce.” The expression “rod of his wrath” may not follow the imagery of 8a very closely, but it is nonetheless understandable. The “rod” is a symbol of power; “wrath” is a metonymy of cause indicating what wrath will do, and an objective genitive. The expression signifies that in reaping trouble for his sins this person will no longer be able to unleash his fury on others. The LXX adds: “A man who is cheerful and a giver God blesses” (e.g., 2 Cor 9:7).
142 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.”
143 tn Or “who,” referring to the ruler (so ASV, NAB, TEV).
144 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.
145 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.
147 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.”
148 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).
149 tn Heb “an evil eye.” This is the opposite of the “good eye” which meant the generous man. The “evil eye” refers to a person who is out to get everything for himself (cf. NASB, NCV, CEV “selfish”). He is ill-mannered and inhospitable (e.g., Prov 28:22). He is up to no good – even though he may appear to be a host.
150 tc The line is difficult; it appears to mean that the miser is the kind of person who has calculated the cost of everything in his mind as he offers the food. The LXX has: “Eating and drinking with him is as if one should swallow a hair; do not introduce him to your company nor eat bread with him.” The Hebrew verb “to calculate” (שָׁעַר, sha’ar) with a change of vocalization and of sibilant would yield “hair” (שֵׂעָר, se’ar) – “like a hair in the throat [נֶפֶשׁ, nefesh], so is he.” This would picture an irritating experience. The Instruction of Amenemope uses “blocking the throat” in a similar saying (chapt. 11, 14:7 [ANET 423]). The suggested change is plausible and is followed by NRSV; but the rare verb “to calculate” in the MT would be easier to defend on the basis of the canons of textual criticism because it is the more difficult reading.
151 tn The phrase “the cost” does not appear in the Hebrew but is implied by the verb; it is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity.
152 tn Heb “soul.”
153 sn Eating and drinking with a selfish miser would be irritating and disgusting. The line is hyperbolic; the whole experience turns the stomach.
154 tn Or “your compliments” (so NASB, NIV); cf. TEV “your flattery.”
sn This is the eighth saying; it claims that it would be a mistake to accept hospitality from a stingy person. He is always thinking about the cost, his heart is not in it, and any attempt at pleasant conversation will be lost.
155 sn The mention of “the ears” emphasizes the concerted effort to get the person’s undivided attention. However, a fool rejects instruction and discipline.
156 sn Saying number nine indicates that wisdom is wasted on a fool. The literature of Egypt has no specific parallel to this one.
157 sn Sending a messenger on a mission is like having another pair of feet. But if the messenger is a fool, this proverb says, not only does the sender not have an extra pair of feet – he cuts off the pair he has. It would not be simply that the message did not get through; it would get through incorrectly and be a setback! The other simile uses “violence,” a term for violent social wrongs and injustice. The metaphorical idea of “drinking” violence means suffering violence – it is one’s portion. So sending a fool on a mission will have injurious consequences.
158 tn The participle could be taken as the subject of the sentence: “the one who sends…cuts off…and drinks.”
159 sn The consequence is given in the first line and the cause in the second. It would be better not to send a message at all than to use a fool as messenger.
160 tn Heb “who wounds everyone” (so NASB). A similar rendering is given by ASV, NAB, NIV, NRSV, and NLT; it is the only one that makes sense out of a verse that most commentators consider hopelessly corrupt. That is not to say it is the correct rendering, only that it makes sense as a required negative statement in a proverb. The first line has רַב מְחוֹלֵל־כֹּל (rav mÿkholel-col). The first word, רַב (rav), can mean “archer,” “ master,” or “much.” The verb מְחוֹלֵל (mÿkholel) can mean “to wound” or “to bring forth.” The possibilities are: “a master performs [or, produces] all,” “a master injures all,” “an archer wounds all,” or “much produces all.” The line probably should be stating something negative, so the idea of an archer injuring or wounding people [at random] is preferable. An undisciplined hireling will have the same effect as an archer shooting at anything and everything (cf. NLT “an archer who shoots recklessly”).
161 tn The participle שֹׂכֵר (shokher) is rendered here according to its normal meaning “hires” or “pays wages to.” Other suggestions include “one who rewards a fool” (derived from the idea of wages) and “one who stops a fool” (from a similar word).
162 tn The Niphal imperfect from נָכַר (nakhar) means “to act [or, treat] as a foreigner [or, stranger]; to misconstrue; to disguise.” The direct object (“it”) is not present in the Hebrew text but is implied. In this passage it means that the hater speaks what is “foreign” to his thought; in other words, he dissembles.
163 tn Or “places; puts; lays up” (cf. KJV, ASV, NASB).
164 tn Heb “within him” (so KJV, ASV) or “in his midst”; NAB “in his inmost being.”
sn Hypocritical words may hide a wicked heart. The proverb makes an observation: One who in reality despises other people will often disguise that with what he says.
165 tn The particle כִּי (ki) is here interpreted with a temporal nuance. It is also possible that it could be read as concessive (so NIV, NLT “Though”).
166 tn The meaning of the rare Piel form of חָנַן (khanan) is “to make gracious; to make favorable.” The subject is קוֹלוֹ (qolo, “his voice”), a metonymy of cause for what he says. The idea is that what he says is very gracious in its content and its effect.
167 sn It may be that the placing of this proverb in this setting is designed to point out that the person speaking graciously is this wicked person who conceals an evil heart. Otherwise it may have in mind a person who has already proven untrustworthy but protests in order to conceal his plans. But even if that were not the connection, the proverb would still warn the disciple not to believe someone just because it sounded wonderful. It will take great discernment to know if there is sincerity behind the person’s words.
168 sn The number “seven” is used in scripture as the complete number. In this passage it is not intended to be literally seven; rather, the expression means that there is complete or total abomination in his heart. Cf. TEV “his heart is filled to the brim with hate.”
169 sn “Abomination” means something that is loathed. This is a description applied by the writer, for the hypocritical person would not refer to his plans this way.
171 tn The form תִּכַּסֶּה (tikkasseh) is the Hitpael imperfect (with assimilation); it is probably passive, meaning “is concealed,” although it could mean “conceals itself” (naturally). Since the proverb uses antithetical parallelism, an imperfect tense nuance of possibility (“may be concealed”) works well here (cf. NIV, NLT).
172 sn The Hebrew verb means “to uncover,” here in the sense of “to reveal; to make known; to expose.” The verse is promising that the evil the person has done will be exposed publicly. The common belief that righteousness will ultimately triumph informs this saying.
173 sn The verse is teaching talionic justice (“an eye for an eye,” etc.), and so the activities described should be interpreted as evil in their intent. “Digging a pit” would mean laying a trap for someone (the figure of speech would be a metonymy of cause for the effect of ruining someone, if an actual pit is being dug; the figure would be hypocatastasis if digging a pit is being compared to laying a trap, but no pit is being dug). Likewise, “rolling a stone” on someone means to destroy that individual.
174 tn Heb “the tongue of deception.” The subject matter of this proverb is deceptive speech. The “tongue of deception” (using a metonymy of cause with an attributive genitive) means that what is said is false. Likewise the “smooth mouth” means that what is said is smooth, flattering.
175 sn The verse makes it clear that only pain and ruin can come from deception. The statement that the lying tongue “hates those crushed by it” suggests that the sentiments of hatred help the deceiver justify what he says about people. The ruin that he brings is probably on other people, but it could also be taken to include his own ruin.
176 tn The Niphal participle of אָמַן (’aman) means “faithful; reliable; sure; trustworthy.” The word indicates that the wounds from a friend “can be trusted” (so NIV, NCV) because they are meant to correct and not to destroy (e.g., 25:12; Deut 7:9; Job 12:20).
177 sn “Kisses” probably represents a metonymy of adjunct; the term describes any expressions or indications of affection. But coming from an enemy, they will be insincere – as indicated by their excessive number.
178 tn The form is נַעְתָּרוֹת (na’tarot), the Niphal participle of עָתַר (’atar, “to be abundant”). Contemporary translations render this rare form in a number of different ways: “deceitful” (NASB, NKJV); “profuse” (NRSV); “many” (NLT). But the idea of “excessive” or “numerous” fits very well. The kisses of an enemy cannot be trusted, no matter how often they are presented.
179 tn Heb “a man,” but the context here does not suggest that the proverb refers to males only.
180 tn The form is the Hiphil participle, literally “deals smoothly,” i.e., smoothing over things that should be brought to one’s attention.
sn The flatterer is too smooth; his words are intended to gratify. In this proverb some malice is attached to the flattery, for the words prove to be destructive.
181 sn The image of “spreading a net” for someone’s steps is an implied comparison (a figure of speech known as hypocatastasis): As one would literally spread a net, this individual’s flattery will come back to destroy him. A net would be spread to catch the prey, and so the idea is one of being caught and destroyed.
182 tn There is some ambiguity concerning the referent of “his steps.” The net could be spread for the one flattered (cf. NRSV, “a net for the neighbor’s feet”; NLT, “their feet,” referring to others), or for the flatterer himself (cf. TEV “you set a trap for yourself”). The latter idea would make the verse more powerful: In flattering someone the flatterer is getting himself into a trap (e.g., 2:16; 7:5; 26:28; 28:23).