6:20 My child, guard the commands of your father
and do not forsake the instruction of your mother.
but a prudent wife 11 is from the Lord.
which was put in place by your ancestors. 13
23:22 Listen to your father who begot you,
and do not despise your mother when she is old.
wisdom, and discipline, and understanding.
whoever fathers a wise child 16 will have joy in him.
23:25 May your father and your mother have joy;
may she who bore you rejoice. 17
1 sn The chapter includes an exhortation to acquire wisdom (1-4a), a list of the benefits of wisdom (4b-9), a call to pursue a righteous lifestyle (10-13), a warning against a wicked lifestyle (14-19), and an exhortation to righteousness (20-27).
2 tn Heb “sons.”
3 tn Heb “discipline.”
4 tn The Qal infinitive construct with preposition ל (lamed) indicates the purpose/result of the preceding imperative.
5 tn Heb “know” (so KJV, ASV).
6 tn Heb “a foolish son” (so KJV, NAB, NIV, CEV); NRSV “a stupid child.”
7 tn Heb “the contentions of a wife” (so KJV, NASB); NAB “the nagging of a wife.” The genitive could be interpreted (1) as genitive of source or subjective genitive – she is quarreling; or (2) it could be a genitive of specification, making the word “contentions” a modifier, as in the present translation.
8 tn Heb “is a constant dripping.” The term “like” does not appear in the Hebrew but is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity. The metaphor pictures water dropping (perhaps rain through the roof, cf. NRSV, CEV) in a continuous flow: It is annoying and irritating (e.g., Prov 27:15-16).
9 tc The LXX makes this moralistic statement for 13b: “vows paid out of hire of a harlot are not pure.” It is not based on the MT and attempts to reconstruct a text using this have been unsuccessful.
10 tn Heb “inheritance of fathers” (so KJV, ASV, NASB).
11 sn This statement describes a wife who has a skillful use of knowledge and discretion that proves to be successful. This contrasts with the preceding verse. The proverb is not concerned about unhappy marriages or bad wives (both of which exist); it simply affirms that when a marriage works out well one should credit it as a gift from God.
12 sn Moving a boundary stone was (and still is) a major problem. The boundaries that were established by the forefathers were to be preserved, but no law would stop such violations if people lacked integrity (e.g., Deut 19:14; 27:17; 1 Kgs 21:16-19). Boundaries in Israel were sacred because God owned the land and he apportioned the property to the tribes. To extend one’s property illegally by moving a neighbor’s boundary marker was a violation of covenant and oath. Of course, disputes could arise when both sides claim their ancestors established a boundary.
13 tn Heb “your fathers” (so NAB, NASB).
sn The fourth saying deals with respect for property that belongs to other people (cf. Instruction of Amenemope, chap. 6, 7:12-13 [ANET 422]).
14 tn Heb “buy” (so KJV, NASB, NIV, NLT); CEV “Invest in truth.”
sn The sixteenth saying is an instruction to buy/acquire the kind of life that pleases God and brings joy to parents. “Getting truth” would mean getting training in the truth, and getting wisdom and understanding would mean developing the perception and practical knowledge of the truth.
15 tc The Qere reading has the imperfect יָגִיל (yagil) with the cognate accusative גִּיל (gil) which intensifies the meaning and the specific future of this verb.
16 tn The term “child” is supplied for the masculine singular adjective here.
17 tn The form תָגֵל (tagel) is clearly a short form and therefore a jussive (“may she…rejoice”); if this second verb is a jussive, then the parallel יִשְׂמַח (yismakh) should be a jussive also (“may your father and your mother have joy”).
18 tn Heb “a man.” Here “man” is retained in the translation because the second colon mentions prostitutes.
19 tn Or “causes his father to rejoice”; NAB “makes his father glad.”
20 tn The active participle רֹעֶה (ro’eh) is from the second root רָעָה (ra’ah), meaning “to associate with.” The verb occurs only a few times, and mostly in the book of Proverbs. It is related to רֵעֶה (re’eh, “friend; companion; fellow”). To describe someone as a “companion” or “friend” of prostitutes is somewhat euphemistic; it surely means someone who is frequently engaging the services of prostitutes.
21 tn The Hebrew verb יְאַבֶּד (yÿ’abbed) means “destroys”; it is the Piel imperfect of the verb that means “to perish.”
22 sn Wealth was seen as a sign of success and of God’s blessings, pretty much as it always has been. To be seen as honorable in the community meant one had acquired some substance and kept his reputation. It would be a disgrace to the family to have a son who squandered his money on prostitutes (e.g., Prov 5:10; 6:31).