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Proverbs 21:5

Context

21:5 The plans of the diligent 1  lead 2  only to plenty, 3 

but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty. 4 

Proverbs 21:17

Context

21:17 The one who loves 5  pleasure 6  will be 7  a poor person; 8 

whoever loves wine and anointing oil 9  will not be rich.

1 tn The word “diligent” is an adjective used substantivally. The related verb means “to cut, sharpen, decide”; so the adjective describes one who is “sharp” – one who acts decisively. The word “hasty” has the idea of being pressed or pressured into quick actions. So the text contrasts calculated expeditiousness with unproductive haste. C. H. Toy does not like this contrast, and so proposes changing the latter to “lazy” (Proverbs [ICC], 399), but W. McKane rightly criticizes that as unnecessarily forming a pedestrian antithesis (Proverbs [OTL], 550).

2 tn The term “lead” is supplied in the translation.

3 tn The Hebrew noun translated “plenty” comes from the verb יָתַר (yatar), which means “to remain over.” So the calculated diligence will lead to abundance, prosperity.

4 tn Heb “lack; need; thing needed”; NRSV “to want.”

5 sn The participle “loves” (אֹהֵב, ’ohev) indicates in this context that more is involved than the enjoyment of pleasure, for which there is no problem. The proverb is looking at “love” in the sense of needing and choosing, an excessive or uncontrolled indulgence in pleasure.

6 sn “Pleasure” is actually the Hebrew word “joy” (שִׂמְחָה, simkhah). It is a metonymy of effect, the cause being the good life that brings the joy. In the second colon, “wine” and “oil” would be metonymies of cause, the particular things in life that bring joy. Therefore the figures in the lines work together to give the complete picture.

7 tn The phrase “will be” is supplied in the translation.

8 tn Heb “a man of poverty”; NRSV “will suffer want.”

9 sn In elaborate feasts and celebrations the wine was for drinking but the oil was for anointing (cf. NAB, NCV “perfume”). Both of these characterize the luxurious life (e.g., Ps 23:5; 104:15; Amos 6:6).



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