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Proverbs 14:6-8

Context

14:6 The scorner 1  seeks wisdom but finds none, 2 

but understanding is easy 3  for a discerning person.

14:7 Leave the presence of a foolish person, 4 

or 5  you will not understand 6  wise counsel. 7 

14:8 The wisdom of the shrewd person 8  is to discern 9  his way,

but the folly of fools is deception. 10 

1 sn The “scorner” (לֵץ, lets) is intellectually arrogant; he lacks any serious interest in knowledge or religion. He pursues wisdom in a superficial way so that he can appear wise. The acquisition of wisdom is conditioned by one’s attitude toward it (J. H. Greenstone, Proverbs, 149).

2 tn Heb “and there is not.”

3 sn The Niphal of קָלַל (qalal) means “to appear light; to appear trifling; to appear easy.”

4 tn Heb “a man, a stupid fellow.”

5 tn Heb “and.” The vav (ו) that introduces this clause may be understood as meaning “or….”

6 tc The MT reads וּבַל־יָדַעְתָּ (uval-yadata, “you did not know [the lips of knowledge]).” It must mean that one should leave the fool because he did not receive knowledge from what fools said. Tg. Prov 14:7 freely interprets the verse: “for there is no knowledge on his lips.” The LXX reflects a Hebrew Vorlage of וּכְלֵי־דַעַת (ukhÿle-daat, “[wise lips] are weapons of discretion”). The textual variant involves wrong word division and orthographic confusion between ב (bet) and כ (kaf). C. H. Toy emends the text: “for his lips do not utter knowledge” as in 15:7 (Proverbs [ICC], 285). The MT is workable and more difficult.

7 tn Heb “lips of knowledge” (so KJV, ASV). “Lips” is the metonymy of cause, and “knowledge” is an objective genitive (speaking knowledge) or attributive genitive (knowledgeable speech): “wise counsel.”

8 tn Or “the prudent [person]” (cf. KJV, NASB, NIV).

9 tn The Hiphil infinitive construct denotes purpose. Those who are shrewd will use it to give careful consideration to all their ways.

10 tn The word means “deception,” but some suggest “self-deception” here (W. McKane, Proverbs [OTL], 466; and D. W. Thomas, “Textual and Philological Notes on Some Passages in the Book of Proverbs,” VTSup 3 [1955]: 286); cf. NLT “fools deceive themselves.” The parallelism would favor this, but there is little support for it. The word usually means “craft practiced on others.” If the line is saying the fool is deceitful, there is only a loose antithesis between the cola.



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