and from the first fruits of all your crops; 2
but righteousness delivers from mortal danger. 27
11:28 The one who trusts in his riches will fall,
but the poor person hears no threat. 40
but the wealth of a sinner is stored up for the righteous. 48
but those who love the rich are many.
but the folly 51 of fools is folly.
but the income of the wicked brings trouble. 54
than a fattened ox where there is hatred. 59
and it is like a high wall in his imagination. 68
19:4 Wealth adds many friends,
but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty. 77
they seek death. 81
is riches and honor and life.
and the borrower is servant 86 to the lender.
22:16 The one who oppresses the poor to increase his own gain
and the one who gives to the rich 87 – both end up only in poverty.
23:4 Do not wear yourself out to become rich;
be wise enough to restrain yourself. 88
for they surely make wings for themselves,
and fly off into the sky like an eagle! 90
but a discerning poor person can evaluate him properly. 93
but the one who hastens 98 to gain riches will not go unpunished.
and does not know that poverty will overtake him. 100
do not give me poverty or riches,
and say, “Who is the Lord?”
Or lest I become poor and steal
and demean 109 the name of my God.
1 tn The imperative כַּבֵּד (kabbed, “honor”) functions as a command, instruction, counsel or exhortation. To honor God means to give him the rightful place of authority by rendering to him gifts of tribute. One way to acknowledge God in one’s ways (v. 6) is to honor him with one’s wealth (v. 9).
2 tn Heb “produce.” The noun תְּבוּאָה (tÿvu’ah) has a two-fold range of meaning: (1) “product; yield” of the earth (= crops; harvest) and (2) “income; revenue” in general (BDB 100 s.v.). The imagery in vv. 9-10 is agricultural; however, all Israelites – not just farmers – were expected to give the best portion (= first fruits) of their income to
3 tn Heb “with plenty” (so KJV, NASB, NRSV); NIV “to overflowing.” The noun שָׂבָע (sava’, “plenty; satiety”) functions as an adverbial accusative of manner or contents: “completely.”
4 sn This pictures the process of pressing grapes in which the upper receptacle is filled with grapes and the lower one catches the juice. The harvest of grapes will be so plentiful that the lower vat will overflow with grape juice. The pictures in v. 10 are metonymies of effect for cause (= the great harvest that God will provide when they honor him).
6 tn Heb “treasures of wickedness” (so KJV, ASV); NASB “Ill-gotten gains”; TEV “Wealth that you get by dishonesty.”
7 sn The term “righteousness” here means honesty (cf. TEV). Wealth has limited value even if gained honestly; but honesty delivers from mortal danger.
8 tn Heb “death.” This could refer to literal death, but it is probably figurative here for mortal danger or ruin.
9 tn Heb “does not allow…to go hungry.” The expression “The
10 tn The term נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) means “soul” but its root meaning is “throat” and it has a broad range of meanings; here it denotes “appetite” (BDB 660 s.v. 5.a; see, e.g., Pss 63:6; 107:9; Prov 27:7; Isa 56:11; 58:10; Jer 50:19; Ezek 7:19). The term could denote “desire” (BDB 660 s.v. 6.a) which would include the inner urge for success. By contrast, the wicked live unfulfilled lives – as far as spiritual values are concerned.
11 tn Heb “thrusts away” (cf. ASV, NASB); NLT “refuses to satisfy.” The verb הָדַף (hadaf) means “to thrust away; to push; to drive,” either to depose or reject (BDB 213 s.v.).
12 tn This verse contrasts the “appetite” of the righteous with the “craving” of the wicked. This word הַוַּה (havvah, “craving”) means “desire” often in a bad sense, as ‘the desire of the wicked,” which could not be wholesome (Ps 52:9).
13 tn Heb “a palm of slackness.” The genitive noun רְמִיָּה (remiyyah, “slackness”) functions as an attributive adjective: “a slack palm” (BDB 941 s.v.). The term כַף (khaf, “palm”) is a synecdoche of part (= palm) for the whole person (= one who works with his hands). The hand is emphasized because it is the instrument of physical labor. The “slack hand” is contrasted with the “diligent hand.” A slack hand refers to a lazy worker or careless work that such hands produce. See N. C. Habel, “Wisdom, Wealth, and Poverty Paradigms in the Book of Proverbs,” BiBh 14 (1988): 28-49.
14 tc The MT reads רָאשׁ (ra’sh, “poor”) which is the plene spelling of רָשׁ (rash, “poor [person]”; HALOT 1229-30 s.v. רֵישׁ). Both Tg. Prov 10:4 and LXX reflect an alternate vocalization רִישׁ (rish, “poverty”) which is from the same root, and essentially means the same thing.
tn Heb “causes poverty.” The expression is literally, “the palm of slackness causes poverty.”
15 tn Heb “but the hand of the diligent” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV). The genitive noun חָרוּצִים (kharutsim, “diligence”) functions as an attributive adjective: “a diligent hand.” The noun חָרוּצִים (kharutsim) uses the plural form because the plural is often used for abstract moral qualities. The term יָד (yad, “hand”) is a synecdoche of part (= “hand”) for the whole person (= “the one who works with his hands”). The hand is emphasized because it is the instrument of physical labor.
16 tn Heb “makes rich” (so NASB, NRSV). The Hiphil verb is used in a causative sense; literally, “the hand of the diligent makes rich.”
17 tn Heb “is.” This expression, “a rich man’s wealth is his strong city,” is a metaphor. The comparative particle “like” is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity and smoothness.
18 tn Heb “a city of his strength.” The genitive עֹז (’oz, “strength”) functions as an attributive genitive: “strong city” = “fortified city.” This phrase is a metaphor; wealth protects its possessions against adversity like a fortified city. Such wealth must be attained by diligence and righteous means (e.g., 13:8; 18:23; 22:7).
19 tn Heb “the ruin of the poor.” The term דַּלִּים (dalim, “of the poor”) functions as an objective genitive. Poverty leads to the ruin of the poor. The term “ruin” includes the shambles in which the person lives. This provides no security but only the fear of ruin. This proverb is an observation on life.
20 tn Heb “is their poverty.”
21 tn The term בְּרָכָּה (bÿrakhah, “blessing”) refers to a gift, enrichment or endowment from the
22 tn Heb “of the
23 tn Heb “makes rich” (so NASB); NAB “brings wealth.” The direct object “a person” does not appear in the Hebrew but is implied by the Hiphil verb; it is supplied in the translation.
24 tn Heb “toil.” The noun עֶצֶב (’etsev) has a basic two-fold range of meanings: (1) “toil; labor” which produces pain and sorrow, and (2) “pain; sorrow” which is the result of toil and labor (BDB 780 s.v.). This is the word used of the curse of “toil” in man’s labor (Gen 3:17) and the “pain” in the woman’s child-bearing (Gen 3:16). God’s blessing is pure and untarnished – it does not bring physical pain or emotional sorrow.
25 tn Heb “with.”
26 sn The “day of wrath” refers to divine punishment in this life (R. N. Whybray, Proverbs [CBC], 67; e.g., also Job 21:30; Ezek 7:19; Zeph 1:18). Righteousness and not wealth is more valuable in anticipating judgment.
27 tn Heb “from death.”
28 tn Heb “the soul of blessing.” The genitive functions attributively. “Blessing” refers to a gift (Gen 33:11) or a special favor (Josh 15:19). The term נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, “soul”) functions as a synecdoche of part (= soul) for the whole (= person); see BDB 660 s.v. 4.
30 tn The verb מַרְוֶה (marveh, “to be saturated; to drink one’s fill”) draws a comparison between providing water for others with providing for those in need (e.g., Jer 31:25; Lam 3:15). The kind act will be reciprocated.
31 tn The phrase “for others” does not appear in the Hebrew but is implied by the causative Hiphil verb which normally takes a direct object; it is elided in the Hebrew for the sake of emphasis. It is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity and smoothness.
32 tn This verb also means “to pour water,” and so continues the theme of the preceding participle: The one who gives refreshment to others will be refreshed. BDB 924 s.v. רָוָה lists the form יוֹרֶא (yore’) as a Hophal imperfect of רָוָה (ravah, the only occurrence) and translates it “will himself also be watered” (cf. KJV, ASV, NASB). But the verb looks very much like a Hiphil of the root יָרָא (yara’, “to shoot; to pour”). So the editors of BHS suggest יוּאָר (yu’ar).
33 sn The implication from the parallelism is that the righteous do not trust in their own riches, but in the
34 tn Heb “leafage” or “leaf” (cf. KJV “as a branch”); TEV “leaves of summer”; NLT “leaves in spring.” The simile of a leaf is a figure of prosperity and fertility throughout the ancient Near East.
35 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.
36 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.
37 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.
38 sn As the word “ransom” (כֹּפֶר, cofer) indicates, the rich are susceptible to kidnapping and robbery. But the poor man pays no attention to blackmail – he does not have money to buy off oppressors. So the rich person is exposed to legal attacks and threats of physical violence and must use his wealth as ransom.
39 tn Heb “the life of a man.”
40 tn The term גְּעָרָה (gÿ’arah) may mean (1) “rebuke” (so KJV, NASB) or (2) “threat” (so NIV; cf. ASV, NRSV, NLT ). If “rebuke” is the sense here, it means that the burdens of society fall on the rich as well as the dangers. But the sense of “threat” better fits the context: The rich are threatened with extortion, but the poor are not (cf. CEV “the poor don’t have that problem”).
41 tc The MT reads מֵהֵבֶל (mehevel, “from vanity”). The Greek and Latin versions (followed by RSV) reflect מְבֹהָל (mÿvohal, “in haste”) which exhibits metathesis. MT is the more difficult reading and therefore preferred. The alternate reading fits the parallelism better, but is therefore a less difficult reading.
tn Heb “wealth from vanity” (cf. KJV, ASV). The term הֶבֶל (hevel) literally means “vapor” and figuratively refers to that which is unsubstantial, fleeting, or amount to nothing (BDB 210 s.v.). Used in antithesis with the expression “little by little,” it means either “without working for it” or “quickly.” Some English versions assume dishonest gain (cf. NASB, NIV, CEV).
42 tn Heb “will become small.” The verb מָעָט (ma’at) means “to become small; to become diminished; to become few.” Money gained without work will diminish quickly, because it was come by too easily. The verb forms a precise contrast with רָבָה (ravah), “to become much; to become many,” but in the Hiphil, “to multiply; to make much many; to cause increase.”
43 tn Heb “by hand”; cf. KJV, ASV, NASB “by labor.”
44 tn Heb “will increase.”
45 tn Heb “good.”
46 sn In ancient Israel the idea of leaving an inheritance was a sign of God’s blessing; blessings extended to the righteous and not the sinners.
47 tn Heb “the children of children.”
49 tn Heb “hated.” The verse is just a statement of fact. The verbs “love” and “hate” must be seen in their connotations: The poor are rejected, avoided, shunned – that is, hated; but the rich are sought after, favored, embraced – that is, loved.
50 sn C. H. Toy suggests that this line probably means that wealth is an ornament to those who use it well (Proverbs [ICC], 269). J. H. Greenstone suggests that it means that the wisdom of the wise, which is their crown of glory, constitutes their wealth (Proverbs, 155).
51 tc The MT reads אִוֶלֶת (’ivelet, “folly”). The editors of BHS propose emending the text to וְלִוְיַת (vÿlivyat, “but the wealth”), as suggested by the LXX. See M. Rotenberg, “The Meaning of אִוֶּלֶת in Proverbs,” LesŒ 25 (1960-1961): 201. A similar emendation is followed by NAB (“the diadem”) and NRSV (“the garland”).
52 tn The term בֵּית (bet, “house”) functions as an adverbial accusative of location.
53 sn The Hebrew noun חֹסֶן (khosen) means “wealth; treasure.” Prosperity is the reward for righteousness. This is true only in so far as a proverb can be carried in its application, allowing for exceptions. The Greek text for this verse has no reference for wealth, but talks about amassing righteousness.
54 tn Heb “will be troubled.” The function of the Niphal participle may be understood in two ways: (1) substantival use: abstract noun meaning “disturbance, calamity” (BDB 747 s.v. עָכַר) or passive noun meaning “thing troubled,” or (2) verbal use: “will be troubled” (HALOT 824 s.v. עכר nif).
55 sn One of the frequent characteristics of wisdom literature is the “better” saying; it is a comparison of different but similar things to determine which is to be preferred. These two verses focus on spiritual things being better than troubled material things.
56 sn Turmoil refers to anxiety; the fear of the
57 sn Not all wealth has turmoil with it. But the proverb is focusing on the comparison of two things – fear of the
58 tn Heb “and love there.” This clause is a circumstantial clause introduced with vav, that becomes “where there is love.” The same construction is used in the second colon.
59 sn Again the saying concerns troublesome wealth: Loving relationships with simple food are better than a feast where there is hatred. The ideal, of course, would be loving family and friends with a great meal in addition, but this proverb is only comparing two things.
60 tn Heb “he who is prudent” or “he who deals wisely” (cf. KJV). The proverb seems to be referring to wise business concerns and the reward for the righteous. One who deals wisely in a matter will find good results. R. N. Whybray sees a contrast here: “The shrewd man of business will succeed well, but the happy man is he who trusts the
61 tn Or “he who gives heed to a word,” that is, “who listens to instruction” (cf. NIV, NLT).
62 tn Heb “good” (so KJV, ASV).
63 tn Although traditionally this word is translated “happy” (cf. KJV, ASV, NAB, NRSV, NLT), such a translation can be misleading because the word means far more than that. It describes the heavenly bliss that comes from knowing one is right with God and following God’s precepts. The “blessed” could be at odds with the world (Ps 1:1-3).
64 tn Heb “and the one who trusts in the
65 sn This proverb forms a contrast with the previous one. The rich, unlike the righteous, trust in wealth and not in God.
66 tn The comparative “like” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied by the metaphor; it is supplied for the sake of clarity.
67 tn Heb “city of his strength”; NIV “fortified city.” This term refers to their place of refuge, what they look to for security and protection in time of trouble.
68 tc The MT reads בְּמַשְׂכִּיתוֹ (bÿmaskito, “in his imaginations”). The LXX, Tg. Prov 18:11, and the Latin reflect בִּמְשֻׂכָּתוֹ (bimsukato, “like a fence [or, high wall]”) that is, wealth provides protection. The MT reading, on the other hand, suggests that this security is only in the mind.
tn The proverb is an observation saying, reporting a common assumption without commenting on it. The juxtaposition with the last verse is a loud criticism of this misguided faith. The final word בְּמַשְׂכִּיתוֹ (“in his imaginations”) indicates that one’s wealth is a futile place of refuge.
69 tn The Niphal imperfect probably should be taken in the passive sense (the poor person is deserted by his “friend,” cf. NAB, NIV) rather than as a direct middle (the poor person deserted his friend).
70 sn This proverb simply makes an observation on life: People pursue wealthy folk hoping that they can gain something from the rich, but the poor are deserted even by friends, who fear that the poor will try to gain something from them.
71 tc The Kethib reads מְבֻחֶלֶת (mÿbukhelet), “gotten by greed” (based on a cognate Syriac verb, “to be greedy”); but the Qere is מְבֹהֶלֶת (mÿvohelet), “gotten hastily [or, quickly].” A large number of
72 tn The form is the Pual imperfect, “will not be blessed,” suggesting that divine justice is at work.
sn The Hebrew verb means “enriched, made fruitful, prospered.” Whatever the inheritance was, it will not reach its full potential or even remain permanent.
73 tn Heb “in its end”; KJV, ASV “the end thereof.”
74 tn The word “diligent” is an adjective used substantivally. The related verb means “to cut, sharpen, decide”; so the adjective describes one who is “sharp” – one who acts decisively. The word “hasty” has the idea of being pressed or pressured into quick actions. So the text contrasts calculated expeditiousness with unproductive haste. C. H. Toy does not like this contrast, and so proposes changing the latter to “lazy” (Proverbs [ICC], 399), but W. McKane rightly criticizes that as unnecessarily forming a pedestrian antithesis (Proverbs [OTL], 550).
75 tn The term “lead” is supplied in the translation.
76 tn The Hebrew noun translated “plenty” comes from the verb יָתַר (yatar), which means “to remain over.” So the calculated diligence will lead to abundance, prosperity.
77 tn Heb “lack; need; thing needed”; NRSV “to want.”
78 tn The first word of the verse is the noun meaning “doing, deed, work.” The BHS editors suggest reading with the LXX an active participle – “the one who makes” (cf. NAB “He who makes”). The second word means “treasure,” from the verb “lay up, store up.” It is an objective genitive here.
79 tn The comparative “like” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied by the metaphor; it is supplied for the sake of clarity.
80 tn The Hebrew הֶבֶל נִדָּף (hevel nidaf) is properly “a driven vapor” (“driven” = the Niphal participle). The point of the metaphor is that the ill-gotten gains will vanish into thin air. The LXX has “pursues” (as if reading רֹדֵף, rodef); cf. NAB “chasing a bubble over deadly snares.”
81 tn The Hebrew has “seekers of death,” meaning “[they that seek them] are seekers of death,” or that the fortune is “a fleeting vapor for those who seek death.” The sense is not readily apparent. The Greek and the Latin versions have “snares of death”; the form מוֹקְשֵׁי (moqÿshe) was read instead of מְבַקְשֵׁי (mÿvaqshe). This reading does not make a more credible metaphor, and one must explain the loss of the letter ב (bet) in the textual variant. It is, however, slightly easier to interpret in the verse, and is followed by a number of English versions (e.g., NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT). But whether the easier reading is the correct one in this case would be difficult to prove.
82 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”).
83 tn “Humility” is used here in the religious sense of “piety”; it is appropriately joined with “the fear of the
84 tn Heb “the fear of the
85 sn The proverb is making an observation on life. The synonymous parallelism matches “rule over” with “servant” to show how poverty makes people dependent on, or obligated to, others.
87 tn Heb “oppressing the poor, it is gain; giving to the rich, it is loss.” The Hebrew is cryptic, but two sins are mentioned here that will be punished by poverty: extortion and bribery. Perhaps the proverb is simply saying it is easy to oppress the poor for gain, but it is a waste of money to try to buy or bribe a patron (D. Kidner, Proverbs [TOTC], 149).
88 tn Heb “from your understanding cease.” In the context this means that the person should have enough understanding to stop wearing himself out trying to be rich (cf. NRSV “be wise enough to desist”).
89 tc The Kethib is הֲתָעוּף (hata’uf), “do your eyes fly [light] on it?” The Qere is the Hiphil, הֲתָעִיף (hata’if) “do you cause your eyes to fly on it?” But the line is difficult. The question may be indirect: If you cast your eyes on it, it is gone – when you think you are close, it slips away.
tn The term “riches” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation based on the previous verse.
90 sn This seventh saying warns people not to expend all their energy trying to get rich because riches are fleeting (cf. Instruction of Amememope, chap. 7, 9:10-11 which says, “they have made themselves wings like geese and have flown away to heaven”). In the ancient world the symbol of birds flying away signified fleeting wealth.
91 tn Heb “a rich man,” although the context does not indicate that this is limited only to males.
92 sn The idiom “in his own eyes” means “in his own opinion,” that is, his self conceit. The rich person thinks he is wise because he is rich, that he has made all the right choices.
93 tn The form יַחְקְרֶנּוּ (yakhqÿrennu) means “he searches him” (cf. KJV, ASV) or “he examines him”; a potential imperfect nuance fits well here to indicate that a discerning person, even though poor, can search the flaws of the rich and see through the pretension and the false assumptions (cf. NAB, NASB, NIV “sees through him”). Several commentators have connected the word to the Arabic root hqr, which means “despise” (D. W. Thomas, “Notes on Some Passages in the Book of Proverbs,” JTS 38 : 400-403), but that would be both predictable and flat.
94 tn Or “will have plenty of food” (Heb “bread”); so NAB, NASB, NCV.
95 tn Heb “empty things” or “vain things”; NRSV “follows worthless pursuits.”
sn Prosperity depends on diligent work and not on chasing empty dreams. The proverb is essentially the same as Prov 12:11 except for the last expression.
96 tn The repetition of the verb strengthens the contrast. Both halves of the verse use the verb יִשְׂבַּע (yisba’, “will be satisfied; will be filled with; will have enough”). It is positive in the first colon, but negative in the second – with an ironic twist to say one is “satisfied” with poverty.
97 tn Heb “a man of faithfulness,” although the context does not indicate this should be limited only to males.
sn The text does not qualify the nature of the faithfulness. While this would certainly have implications for the person’s righteous acts, its primary meaning may be his diligence and reliability in his work. His faithful work will bring the returns.
98 sn The proverb is not rebuking diligent labor. One who is eager to get rich quickly is the opposite of the faithful person. The first person is faithful to God and to the covenant community; the second is trying to get rich as quickly as possible, at the least without doing an honest day’s work and at the worst dishonestly. In a hurry to gain wealth, he falls into various schemes and will pay for it. Tg. Prov 28:20 interprets this to say he hastens through deceit and wrongdoing.
99 tn Heb “a man with an evil eye” (as opposed to the generous man who has a “good” eye). This individual is selfish, unkind, unsympathetic to others. He looks only to his own gain. Cf. NAB “The avaricious man”; NLT “A greedy person.”
100 sn The one who is hasty to gain wealth is involved in sin in some way, for which he will be punished by poverty. The idea of “hastening” after riches suggests a dishonest approach to acquiring wealth.
101 tn Heb “wide of soul.” This is an idiom meaning “a greedy person.” The term נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, traditionally, “soul”) has here its more basic meaning of appetites (a person is a soul, a bundle of appetites; BDB 660 s.v. 5.a). It would mean “wide of appetite” (רְהַב־נֶפֶשׁ), thus “greedy.”
102 sn Greed “stirs up” the strife. This individual’s attitude and actions stir up dissension because people do not long tolerate him.
103 tn The construction uses the participle בּוֹטֵחַ (boteakh) followed by עַל־יְהוָה (’al-yÿhvah), which gives the sense of “relying confidently on the
104 tn The verb דָּשֵׁן (dashen) means “to be fat,” and in the Piel/Pual stems “to make fat/to be made fat” (cf. KJV, ASV). The idea of being “fat” was symbolic of health and prosperity – the one who trusts in the
105 tn The two words might form a hendiadys: “falsehood and lies” being equivalent to “complete deception.” The word שָׁוְא means “false; empty; vain; to a false purpose.” The second word means “word of lying,” thus “a lying word.” Taken separately they might refer to false intentions and false words.
106 tn The word חֹק (khoq) means “statute”; it is also used of a definite assignment in labor (Exod 5:14; Prov 31:15), or of a set portion of food (Gen 47:22). Here it refers to food that is the proper proportion for the speaker.
108 tn The verb כָּחַשׁ (kakhash) means “to be disappointing; to deceive; to fail; to grow lean.” In the Piel stem it means “to deceive; to act deceptively; to cringe; to disappoint.” The idea of acting deceptively is illustrated in Hos 9:2 where it has the connotation of “disowning” or “refusing to acknowledge” (a meaning very close to its meaning here).
109 tn The Hebrew verb literally means “to take hold of; to seize”; this produces the idea of doing violence to the reputation of God.