6:16 There are six things that the Lord hates,
and hands that shed innocent blood, 10
feet that are swift to run 12 to evil,
than one who pretends to be somebody important 23 yet has no food.
but wisdom is with the well-advised. 29
but he maintains the boundaries of the widow. 31
and before honor comes humility. 33
and a haughty spirit before a fall. 40
than to share the spoils 42 with the proud.
how much less for a servant to rule over princes! 48
I am pure 51 from my sin”?
21:4 Haughty eyes and a proud heart –
the agricultural product 52 of the wicked is sin.
is riches and honor and life.
nor is it honorable for people to seek their own glory. 62
than seven people who respond with good sense. 64
someone else, 67 and not your own lips.
but one who has a lowly spirit 74 will gain honor.
1 tn The particle אִם (’im, “though”) introduces a concessive clause: “though….”
2 tn Heb “he mocks those who mock.” The repetition of the root לִיץ (lits, “to scorn; to mock”) connotes poetic justice; the punishment fits the crime. Scoffers are characterized by arrogant pride (e.g., Prov 21:24), as the antithetical parallelism with “the humble” here emphasizes.
3 tn The prefixed vav (ו) introduces the apodosis to the concessive clause: “Though … yet …”
4 tn The Hebrew is structured chiastically (AB:BA): “he scorns / arrogant scoffers // but to the humble / he gives grace.” The word order in the translation is reversed for the sake of smoothness and readability.
5 tn The conjunction has the explicative use here (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 71, §434).
6 sn This saying involves a numerical ladder, paralleling six things with seven things (e.g., also 30:15, 18, 21, 24, 29). The point of such a numerical arrangement is that the number does not exhaust the list (W. M. Roth, “The Numerical Sequence x / x +1 in the Old Testament,” VT 12 : 300-311; and his “Numerical Sayings in the Old Testament,” VT 13 : 86).
7 tn Heb “his soul.”
8 sn The expression “high/ lofty [רָמוֹת, ramot] eyes” refers to a proud look suggesting arrogant ambition (cf. NCV “a proud look”). The use of “eyes” is a metonymy of adjunct, the look in the eyes accompanying the attitude. This term “high” is used in Num 15:30 for the sin of the “high hand,” i.e., willful rebellion or defiant sin. The usage of “haughty eyes” may be illustrated by its use with the pompous Assyrian invader (Isa 10:12-14) and the proud king of the book of Daniel (11:12). God does not tolerate anyone who thinks so highly of himself and who has such ambition.
9 tn Heb “a tongue of deception.” The genitive noun functions attributively. The term “tongue” functions as a metonymy. The term is used of false prophets who deceive (Jer 14:14), and of a deceiver who betrays (Ps 109:2). The
10 sn The hands are the instruments of murder (metonymy of cause), and God hates bloodshed. Gen 9:6 prohibited shedding blood because people are the image of God. Even David being a man of blood (in war mostly) was not permitted to build the Temple (1 Chr 22:8). But shedding innocent blood was a greater crime – it usually went with positions of power, such as King Manasseh filling the streets with blood (2 Kgs 21:16), or princes doing it for gain (Ezek 22:27).
11 tn Heb “heart that devises plans of wickedness.” The latter term is an attributive genitive. The heart (metonymy of subject) represents the will; here it plots evil schemes. The heart is capable of evil schemes (Gen 6:5); the heart that does this is deceitful (Prov 12:20; 14:22).
12 tc The MT reads “make haste to run,” that is, be eager to seize the opportunity. The LXX omits “run,” that is, feet hastening to do evil. It must have appeared to the LXX translator that the verb was unnecessary; only one verb occurs in the other cola.
sn The word “feet” is here a synecdoche, a part for the whole. Being the instruments of movement, they represent the swift and eager actions of the whole person to do some harm.
15 tn Heb “brothers,” although not limited to male siblings only. Cf. NRSV, CEV “in a family”; TEV “among friends.”
sn These seven things the
16 tn Heb “presumptuousness.” This term is from the root זִיד, zid (or זוּד, zud) which means “to boil; to seethe; to act proudly; to act presumptuously.” The idea is that of boiling over the edge of the pot, signifying overstepping the boundaries (e.g., Gen 25:29).
17 tn The verbs show both the sequence and the correlation. The first is the perfect tense of בּוֹא (bo’, “to enter; to come”); it is followed by the preterite with vav consecutive from the same verb, showing that one follows or comes with the other. Because the second verb in the colon is sequential to the first, the first may be subordinated as a temporal clause.
18 sn This proverb does not state how the disgrace will come, but affirms that it will follow pride. The proud will be brought down.
19 tn Heb “modesty”; KJV, ASV “the lowly.” The adjective צְנוּעִים (tsÿnu’im, “modest”) is used as a noun; this is an example of antimeria in which one part of speech is used in the place of another (see E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 491-506), e.g., “Let the dry [adjective] appear!” = dry land (Gen 1:9). The root צָנַע (tsana’, “to be modest; to be humble”) describes those who are reserved, retiring, modest. The plural form is used for the abstract idea of humility.
20 tn The term “comes” does not appear in the Hebrew, but is supplied in the translation from parallelism.
21 tn Heb “one who is lightly regarded.” The verb קָלָה (qalah) means “to be lightly esteemed; to be dishonored; to be degraded” (BDB 885 s.v.).
22 tn The meaning of the phrase וְעֶבֶד לוֹ (vÿ’eved lo) is ambiguous; the preposition is either possessive (“has a servant”) or a reflexive indirect object (“is a servant for himself”; cf. NAB, TEV). Several versions (LXX, Vulgate, Syriac) read “and yet has a servant.”
23 tn Heb “who feigns importance.” The term מְתַכַּבֵּד (mÿtakkabed, from כָּבֵד, caved, “to be weighty; to be honored; to be important”) is an example of the so-called “Hollywood” Hitpael which describes a person putting on an act (BDB 458 s.v. כָּבֵד Hitp.2).
sn This individual lives beyond his financial means in a vain show to impress other people and thus cannot afford to put food on the table.
24 tn The Hitpael of עָשַׁר (’ashar, “to be rich”) means “to pretend to be rich” (BDB 799 s.v. עָשַׁר Hithp); this is the so-called “Hollywood Hitpael” function which involves “acting” or pretending to be something one is not.
25 tn The Hitpolel of רוּשׁ (rush, “to be poor”) means “to pretend to be poor” (BDB 930 s.v. Hithpolel); this is another example of the “Hollywood Hitpael” – the Hitpolel forms of hollow root verbs are the equivalent of Hitpael stem forms.
26 sn The proverb seems to be a general observation on certain people in life, but it is saying more. Although there are times when such pretending may not be wrong, the proverb is instructing people to be honest. An empty pretentious display or a concealing of wealth can come to no good.
27 sn The parallelism suggests pride here means contempt for the opinions of others. The wise listen to advice rather than argue out of stubborn pride.
28 tn The particle רַק (raq, “only”) modifies the noun “contention” – only contention can come from such a person.
29 tn The Niphal of יָעַץ (ya’ats, “to advise; to counsel”) means “to consult together; to take counsel.” It means being well-advised, receiving advice or consultation (cf. NCV “those who take advice are wise”).
30 sn The “proud” have to be understood here in contrast to the widow, and their “house” has to be interpreted in contrast to the widow’s territory. The implication may be that the “proud” make their gain from the needy, and so God will set the balance right.
31 sn The
32 tn Heb “[is] instruction of wisdom” (KJV and NASB similar). The noun translated “wisdom” is an attributive genitive: “wise instruction.”
sn The idea of the first line is similar to Prov 1:7 and 9:10. Here it may mean that the fear of the
33 tn Heb “[is] humility” (so KJV). The second clause is a parallel idea in that it stresses how one thing leads to another – humility to honor. Humble submission in faith to the
34 tn Heb “an abomination of the
35 tn Heb “every proud of heart”; NIV “all the proud of heart.” “Heart” is the genitive of specification; the phrase is talking about people who have proud hearts, whose ideas are arrogant. These are people who set themselves presumptuously against God (e.g., 2 Chr 26:16; Ps 131:1; Prov 18:12).
37 tc The LXX has inserted two couplets here: “The beginning of a good way is to do justly, // and it is more acceptable with God than to do sacrifices; // he who seeks the
tn The B-line continues the A-line, but explains what it means that they are an abomination to the
38 sn The two lines of this proverb are synonymous parallelism, and so there are parasynonyms. “Pride” is paired with “haughty spirit” (“spirit” being a genitive of specification); and “destruction” is matched with “a tottering, falling.”
39 tn Heb “[is] before destruction.”
40 sn Many proverbs have been written in a similar way to warn against the inevitable disintegration and downfall of pride. W. McKane records an Arabic proverb: “The nose is in the heavens, the seat is in the mire” (Proverbs [OTL], 490).
41 tn Heb “low of spirit”; KJV “of an humble spirit.” This expression describes the person who is humble and submissive before the
42 tn Heb “than to divide plunder.” The word “plunder” implies that the wealth taken by the proud was taken violently and wrongfully – spoils are usually taken in warfare. R. N. Whybray translates it with “loot” (Proverbs [CBC], 95). The proud are in rebellion against God, overbearing and oppressive. One should never share the “loot” with them.
43 sn The term “heart” is a metonymy of subject, referring to the seat of the spiritual and intellectual capacities – the mind, the will, the motivations and intentions. Proud ambitions and intentions will lead to a fall.
44 tn Heb “[is] before honor”; cf. CEV “humility leads to honor.”
46 tn The form נָאוֶה (na’veh) is an adjective meaning “seemly; comely” in the older English versions like KJV, ASV, “fitting” in more recent ones (e.g., NASB, NIV, NRSV). The verbal root נוֹה only occurs in the Pilel stem; but it also has the basic meaning of “being fitting; being comely.” In this sentence the form is a predicate adjective.
47 sn The verse is simply observing two things that are misfits. It is not concerned with a fool who changes and can handle wealth, or a servant who changes to become a nobleman. It is focused on things that are incongruous.
48 sn In the ancient world the prince would be trained for his rule (hence, one of the original purposes of Proverbs). A slave ruling over princes would be arrogant and cruel, or foolish and unwise. For other unbearable things, e.g., 11:22; 17:7; 26:1; and 30:21-23.
49 sn The verse is a rhetorical question; it is affirming that no one can say this because no one is pure and free of sin.
50 tn The verb form זִכִּיתִי (zikkiti) is the Piel perfect of זָכָה (zakhah, “to be clear; to be clean; to be pure”). The verb has the idea of “be clear, justified, acquitted.” In this stem it is causative: “I have made my heart clean” (so NRSV) or “kept my heart pure” (so NIV). This would be claiming that all decisions and motives were faultless.
51 sn The Hebrew verb translated “I am pure” (טָהֵר, taher) is a Levitical term. To claim this purity would be to claim that moral and cultic perfection had been attained and therefore one was acceptable to God in the present condition. Of course, no one can claim this; even if one thought it true, it is impossible to know all that is in the heart as God knows it.
52 tn Heb “the tillage [נִר, nir] of the wicked is sin” (so NAB). The subject picks up the subjects of the first half of the verse, indicating they are equal – the tillage consists of the arrogance and pride. The word “tillage” is figurative, of course, signifying that the agricultural product (the point of the comparison) of the wicked is sin. The relationship between the ideas is then problematic. Are pride and arrogance what the wicked produce? Some (ASV, NASB, NIV, NRSV) have followed the LXX and Tg. Prov 21:4 to read “lamp” instead (נֵר, ner), but that does not solve the difficulty of the relationship between the expressions. It does, however, say that the life ( = lamp), which is arrogance and pride, is sin.
53 tn The word זֵד (zed, “proud”) comes from the verb זִיד (zid, “to boil up; to seethe; to act proudly [or, presumptuously].” Just as water boiling up in a pot will boil over, so the presumptuous person “oversteps” the boundaries.
54 tn The word יָהִיר (yahir) means “haughty,” that is, to be or show oneself to be presumptuous or arrogant.
55 tn Heb “proud haughty scorner his name” (KJV similar). There are several ways that the line could be translated: (1) “Proud, arrogant – his name is scoffer” or (2) “A proud person, an arrogant person – ‘Scoffer’ is his name.” BDB 267 s.v. זֵד suggests, “A presumptuous man, [who is] haughty, scoffer is his name.”
56 tn Heb “does.” The Qal active participle “does” serves as the main verb, and the subject is “proud person” in the first line.
57 tn The expression בְּעֶבְרַת זָדוֹן (be’evrat zadon) means “in the overflow of insolence.” The genitive specifies what the overflow is; the proud deal in an overflow of pride. Cf. NIV “overweening pride”; NLT “boundless arrogance.”
sn The portrait in this proverb is not merely of one who is self-sufficient, but one who is insolent, scornful, and arrogant.
58 tn The Hebrew term עֵקֶב (’eqev, “reward”) is related to the term meaning “heel”; it refers to the consequences or the reward that follows (akin to the English expression “on the heels of”).
59 tn “Humility” is used here in the religious sense of “piety”; it is appropriately joined with “the fear of the
60 tn Heb “the fear of the
61 sn This is a figure of speech known as tapeinosis – a deliberate understatement to emphasize a worst-case scenario: “it is bad!”
62 tn Heb “and the investigation of their glory is not glory.” This line is difficult to understand but it forms an analogy to honey – glory, like honey, is good, but not to excess. The LXX rendered this, “it is proper to honor notable sayings.” A. A. MacIntosh suggests, “He who searches for glory will be distressed” (“A Note on Prov 25:27,” VT 20 : 112-14). G. E. Bryce has “to search out difficult things is glorious” (“Another Wisdom ‘Book’ in Proverbs,” JBL 91 (1972): 145-47). R. C. Van Leeuwen suggests, “to seek difficult things is as glory” (“Proverbs 25:27 Once Again,” VT 36 : 105-14). The Hebrew is cryptic, but not unintelligible: “seeking their glory [is not] glory.” It is saying that seeking one’s own glory is dishonorable.
63 tn Heb “in his eyes.” The lazy person thinks that he has life all figured out and has chosen the wise course of action – but he is simply lazy. J. H. Greenstone says, for example, “Much anti-intellectualism may be traced to such rationalization for laziness” (Proverbs, 269).
64 tn The term means “taste; judgment.” The related verb means “to taste; to perceive,” that is, “to examine by tasting,” or examine by experiencing (e.g., Ps 34:9). Here the idea is expressed with the participle in construct, “those returners [of] good sense,” those who answer tastefully, with discretion. Cf. NIV “who (+ can NRSV) answer discreetly.”
65 tn Heb “a stranger.” This does not necessarily refer to a non-Israelite, as has been demonstrated before in the book of Proverbs, but these are people outside the familiar and accepted circles. The point is that such a person would be objective in speaking about your abilities and accomplishments.
66 sn “Mouth” and “lips” are metonymies of cause; they mean “what is said.” People should try to avoid praising themselves. Self praise can easily become a form of pride, even if it begins with trivial things. It does not establish a reputation; reputation comes from what others think about you.
67 tn “a foreigner”; KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV “a stranger.”
68 sn Once again this proverb uses emblematic parallelism. The crucible and the furnace are used to refine and thus reveal the pure metals. The analogy is that praise will reveal the person because others will examine and evaluate what an individual has done in order to make the public acclamation.
69 tn Heb “and a man,” but the context does not indicate this is limited only to males.
70 tn The verb “is proved” was supplied in the translation in view of the analogy. Many English versions supply “tested” for the same reason.
sn The proverb is saying that public praise is usually a good measure of the qualities and contributions of a person. The other side of it is that righteousness is often denounced, but the proverb is not addressing everything that people say.
71 tn Heb “by [the] praise of him.” The pronominal suffix is an objective genitive, meaning “the praise about him” (= “the praise he receives”). Some commentators would take the suffix as a subjective genitive, meaning “the praise he gives”; this would mean people stand revealed by what they praise (D. Kidner, Proverbs [TOTC], 168). That does not seem to work as well with the emblem of the first line which indicates being tested. The LXX adds a couplet: “The heart of the transgressor seeks evil; but the upright heart seeks knowledge.”
72 tn Heb “pride of a man,” with “man” functioning as a possessive. There is no indication in the immediate context that this is restricted only to males.
73 tn There is a wordplay here due to the repetition of the root שָׁפֵל (shafel). In the first line the verb תִּשְׁפִּילֶנּוּ (tishpilennu) is the Hiphil imperfect of the root, rendered “will bring him low.” In the second line the word is used in the description of the “lowly of spirit,” שְׁפַל־רוּחַ (shÿfal-ruakh). The contrast works well: The proud will be brought “low,” but the one who is “lowly” will be honored. In this instance the wordplay can be preserved in the translation.
74 tn Heb “low in spirit”; KJV “humble in spirit.” This refers to an attitude of humility.
sn The Hebrew word translated “lowly” forms an implied comparison: To be humble is like being low, base, earthbound; whereas pride is often compared to being high, lofty – at least in one’s own eyes.