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Proverbs 1:11-16

Context

1:11 If they say, “Come with us!

We will 1  lie in wait 2  to shed blood; 3 

we will ambush 4  an innocent person 5  capriciously. 6 

1:12 We will swallow them alive 7  like Sheol, 8 

those full of vigor 9  like those going down to the Pit.

1:13 We will seize 10  all kinds 11  of precious wealth;

we will fill our houses with plunder. 12 

1:14 Join with us! 13 

We will all share 14  equally in what we steal.” 15 

1:15 My child, do not go down 16  their way, 17 

withhold yourself 18  from their path; 19 

1:16 for they 20  are eager 21  to inflict harm, 22 

and they hasten 23  to shed blood. 24 

1 tn This cohortative נֶאֶרְבָה (neervah) could denote resolve (“We will lie in wait!”) or exhortation (“Let us lie in wait!”). These sinners are either expressing their determination to carry out a violent plan or they are trying to entice the lad to participate with them.

2 tn The verb אָרַב (’arav, “to lie in wait”) it is used for planning murder (Deut 19:11), kidnapping (Judg 21:20), or seduction (Prov 23:28).

3 tn Heb “for blood.” The term דָּם (dam, “blood”) functions as a metonymy of effect for “blood shed violently” through murder (HALOT 224 s.v. 4).

4 tn Heb “lie in hiding.”

5 tn The term “innocent” (נָקִי, naqi) intimates that the person to be attacked is harmless.

6 tn Heb “without cause” (so KJV, NASB); NCV “just for fun.” The term חִנָּם (khinnam, “without cause”) emphasizes that the planned attack is completely unwarranted.

7 tn Heb “lives.” The noun חַיִּים (khayyim, “lives”) functions as an adverbial accusative of manner: “alive.” The form is a plural of state, used to describe a condition of life which encompasses a long period of time – in this case a person’s entire life. Murder cuts short a person’s life.

8 tn The noun שְׁאוֹל (shÿol) can mean (1) “death,” cf. NCV; (2) “the grave,” cf. KJV, NIV, NLT (3) “Sheol” as the realm of departed spirits, cf. NAB “the nether world,” and (4) “extreme danger.” Here it is parallel to the noun בוֹר (vor, “the Pit”) so it is the grave or more likely “Sheol” (cf. ASV, NRSV). Elsewhere Sheol is personified as having an insatiable appetite and swallowing people alive as they descend to their death (e.g., Num 16:30, 33; Isa 5:14; Hab 2:5). In ancient Near Eastern literature, the grave is often personified in similar manner, e.g., in Ugaritic mythological texts Mot (= “death”) is referred to as “the great swallower.”

9 tn Heb “and whole.” The vav (ו) is asseverative or appositional (“even”); it is omitted in the translation for the sake of style and smoothness. The substantival adjective תָּמִים (tamim, “whole; perfect; blameless”) is an adverbial accusative describing the condition and state of the object. Used in parallel to חַיִּים (khayyim, “alive”), it must mean “full of health” (BDB 1071 s.v. תָּמִים 2). These cutthroats want to murder a person who is full of vigor.

10 tn Heb “find.” The use of the verb מָצָא (matsa’, “to find”) is deliberate understatement to rhetorically down-play the heinous act of thievery.

11 tn Heb “all wealth of preciousness.”

12 tn The noun שָׁלָל (shalal, “plunder”) functions as an adverbial accusative of material: “with plunder.” This term is normally used for the spoils of war (e.g., Deut 20:14; Josh 7:21; Judg 8:24, 25; 1 Sam 30:20) but here refers to “stolen goods” (so NCV, CEV; e.g., Isa 10:2; Prov 16:19; BDB 1022 s.v. 3). The enticement was to join a criminal gang and adopt a life of crime to enjoy ill-gotten gain (A. Cohen, Proverbs, 4). Cf. NAB, NRSV “booty”; TEV “loot.”

13 tn Heb “Throw in your lot with us.” This is a figurative expression (hypocatastasis) urging the naive to join their life of crime and divide their loot equally. The noun גּוֹרָל (goral, “lot”) can refer to (1) lot thrown for decision-making processes, e.g., choosing the scapegoat (Lev 16:8), discovering a guilty party (Jonah 1:7) or allocating property (Josh 18:6); (2) allotted portion (Josh 15:1) and (3) allotted fate or future destiny (Prov 1:14; Dan 12:13; see BDB 174 s.v.). Here the criminals urged the lad to share their life. The verb תַּפִּיל (tappil) is an imperfect of injunction: “Throw in…!” but might also be an imperfect of permission: “you may throw.” It functions metonymically as an invitation to join their life of crime: “share with us” (BDB 658 s.v. 3).

14 tn Heb “there will be to all of us.”

15 tn Heb “one purse” (so KJV, NAB, NRSV). The term כִּיס (kis, “purse; bag”) is a synecdoche of container (= purse) for contents (= stolen goods). The adjective אֶחָד (’ekhad, “one”) indicates that the thieves promised to share equally in what they had stolen.

16 tn Heb “do not walk.”

17 tn Heb “in the way with them.”

18 tn Heb “your foot.” The term “foot” (רֶגֶל, regel) is a synecdoche of part (= your foot) for the whole person (= yourself).

19 sn The word “path” (נְתִיבָה, nÿtivah) like the word “way” (דֶּרֶךְ, derekh) is used as an idiom (developed from a hypocatastasis), meaning “conduct, course of life.”

20 tn Heb “their feet.” The term “feet” is a synecdoche of the part (= their feet) for the whole person (= they), stressing the eagerness of the robbers.

21 tn Heb “run.” The verb רוּץ (ruts, “run”) functions here as a metonymy of association, meaning “to be eager” to do something (BDB 930 s.v.).

22 tn Heb “to harm.” The noun רַע (ra’) has a four-fold range of meanings: (1) “pain, harm” (Prov 3:30), (2) “calamity, disaster” (13:21), (3) “distress, misery” (14:32) and (4) “moral evil” (8:13; see BDB 948-49 s.v.). The parallelism with “swift to shed blood” suggests it means “to inflict harm, injury.”

23 tn The imperfect tense verbs may be classified as habitual or progressive imperfects describing their ongoing continual activity.

24 tc The BHS editors suggest deleting this entire verse from MT because it does not appear in several versions (Codex B of the LXX, Coptic, Arabic) and is similar to Isa 59:7a. It is possible that it was a scribal gloss (intentional addition) copied into the margin from Isaiah. But this does not adequately explain the differences. It does fit the context well enough to be original.



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