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Proverbs 16:9

Context

16:9 A person 1  plans his course, 2 

but the Lord directs 3  his steps. 4 

Proverbs 16:33

Context

16:33 The dice are thrown into the lap, 5 

but their every decision 6  is from the Lord. 7 

Proverbs 19:21

Context

19:21 There are many plans 8  in a person’s mind, 9 

but it 10  is the counsel 11  of the Lord which will stand.

Proverbs 21:1

Context

21:1 The king’s heart 12  is in the hand 13  of the Lord like channels of water; 14 

he turns it wherever he wants.

1 tn Heb “the heart of a man.” This stresses that it is within the heart that plans are made. Only those plans that are approved by God will succeed.

2 tn Heb “his way” (so KJV, NASB).

3 tn The verb כּוּן (kun, “to establish; to confirm”) with צַעַד (tsaad, “step”) means “to direct” (e.g., Ps 119:133; Jer 10:23). This contrasts what people plan and what actually happens – God determines the latter.

4 sn “Steps” is an implied comparison, along with “way,” to indicate the events of the plan as they work out.

5 tn Heb “the lot is cast.” Because the ancient practice of “casting lots” is unfamiliar to many modern readers, the imagery has been updated to “throwing dice.”

sn The proverb concerns the practice of seeking divine leading through casting lots. For a similar lesson, see Amenemope (18, 19:16-17, in ANET 423).

6 tn Heb “all its decision.”

7 sn The point concerns seeking God’s will through the practice. The Lord gives guidance in decisions that are submitted to him.

8 sn The plans (from the Hebrew verb חָשַׁב [khashav], “to think; to reckon; to devise”) in the human heart are many. But only those which God approves will succeed.

9 tn Heb “in the heart of a man” (cf. NAB, NIV). Here “heart” is used for the seat of thoughts, plans, and reasoning, so the translation uses “mind.” In contemporary English “heart” is more often associated with the seat of emotion than with the seat of planning and reasoning.

10 tn Heb “but the counsel of the Lord, it will stand.” The construction draws attention to the “counsel of the Lord”; it is an independent nominative absolute, and the resumptive independent pronoun is the formal subject of the verb.

11 tn The antithetical parallelism pairs “counsel” with “plans.” “Counsel of the Lord” (עֲצַת יְהוָה, ’atsat yehvah) is literally “advice” or “counsel” with the connotation of “plan” in this context (cf. NIV, NRSV, NLT “purpose”; NCV “plan”; TEV “the Lord’s will”).

sn The point of the proverb is that the human being with many plans is uncertain, but the Lord with a sure plan gives correct counsel.

12 sn “Heart” is a metonymy of subject; it signifies the ability to make decisions, if not the decisions themselves.

13 sn “Hand” in this passage is a personification; the word is frequently used idiomatically for “power,” and that is the sense intended here.

14 tn “Channels of water” (פַּלְגֵי, palge) is an adverbial accusative, functioning as a figure of comparison – “like channels of water.” Cf. NAB “Like a stream”; NIV “watercourse”; NRSV, NLT “a stream of water.”

sn The farmer channels irrigation ditches where he wants them, where they will do the most good; so does the Lord with the king. No king is supreme; the Lord rules.



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