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Proverbs 13:14-16

Context

13:14 Instruction 1  from the wise 2  is like 3  a life-giving fountain, 4 

to turn 5  a person 6  from deadly snares. 7 

13:15 Keen insight 8  wins 9  favor,

but the conduct 10  of the unfaithful is harsh. 11 

13:16 Every shrewd 12  person acts with knowledge,

but a fool displays 13  his folly.

1 tn The term תוֹרָה (torah) in legal literature means “law,” but in wisdom literature often means “instruction; teaching” (BDB 435 s.v.); cf. NAV, NIV, NRSV “teaching”; NLT “advice.”

2 tn Heb “instruction of the wise.” The term חָכָם (khakham, “the wise”) is a genitive of source.

3 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.

4 tn Heb “fountain of life” (so KJV, NAB, NIV, NRSV). The genitive חַיִּים (khayyim) functions as a genitive of material, similar to the expression “fountain of water.” The metaphor means that the teaching of the wise is life-giving. The second colon is the consequence of the first, explaining this metaphor.

5 tn The infinitive construct with preposition לְ (lamed) gives the result (or, purpose) of the first statement. It could also be taken epexegetically, “by turning.”

6 tn The term “person” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity and smoothness.

7 tn Heb “snares of death” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT). The genitive מָוֶת (mavet) functions as an attributive adjective. The term “snares” makes an implied comparison with hunting; death is like a hunter. W. McKane compares the idea to the Ugaritic god Mot, the god of death, carrying people off to the realm of the departed (Proverbs [OTL], 455). The expression could also mean that the snares lead to death.

8 tn Heb “good insight.” The expression שֵׂכֶל־טוֹב (sekhel-tov) describes a person who has good sense, sound judgment, or wise opinions (BDB 968 s.v. שֵׂכֶל).

9 tn Heb “gives”; NASB “produces.”

10 tn Heb “way,” frequently for conduct, behavior, or lifestyle.

11 tc The MT reads אֵיתָן (’etan, “enduring; permanent; perennial”; BDB 450 s.v. יתן 1). Several scholars suggest that the text here is corrupt and the reading should be “harsh; hard; firm; rugged” (BDB 450 s.v. 2). G. R. Driver suggested that לֹא (lo’, “not”) was dropped before the word by haplography and so the meaning would have been not “enduring” but “passing away” (“Problems in the Hebrew Text of Proverbs,” Bib 32 [1951]: 181). The LXX, Syriac, and Tg. Prov 13:15 reflect a Hebrew Vorlage of תֹאבֵד (toved) “are destroyed.” The BHS editors suggest emending the text to אֵידָם (’edam) “their calamity” from אֵיד (’ed, “calamity, distress”; BDB 15 s.v.): “the way of the faithless [leads to] their calamity.” The idea of “harsh” or “hard” could also be drawn from a meaning of the word in the MT meaning “firm,” that is, enduring.

12 sn The shrewd person knows the circumstances, dangers and pitfalls that lie ahead. So he deals with them wisely. This makes him cautious.

13 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.



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