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Proverbs 28:7-9

Context

28:7 The one who keeps the law 1  is a discerning child, 2 

but a companion of gluttons brings shame 3  to his parents. 4 

28:8 The one who increases his wealth by increasing interest 5 

gathers it for someone who is gracious 6  to the needy.

28:9 The one who turns away his ear 7  from hearing the law,

even his prayer 8  is an abomination. 9 

1 tn The Hebrew word could refer (1) to “instruction” by the father (cf. NCV) or (2) the Mosaic law (so most English versions). The chapter seems to be stressing religious obedience, so the referent is probably the law. Besides, the father’s teaching will be what the law demands, and the one who associates with gluttons is not abiding by the law.

2 tn Heb “son,” but the immediate context does not suggest limiting this only to male children.

3 sn The companion of gluttons shames his father and his family because such a life style as he now embraces is both unruly and antisocial.

4 tn Heb “father,” but the immediate context does not suggest limiting this only to the male parent.

5 tn Heb “by interest and increase” (so ASV; NASB “by interest and usury”; NAB “by interest and overcharge.” The two words seem to be synonyms; they probably form a nominal hendiadys, meaning “by increasing [exorbitant] interest.” The law prohibited making a commission or charging interest (Exod 22:25; Lev 25:36-37; Deut 23:20; Ps 15:5). If the poor needed help, the rich were to help them – but not charge them interest.

6 tn The term חוֹנֵן (khonen, “someone who shows favor”) is the active participle.

sn The verse is saying that in God’s justice wealth amassed unjustly will eventually go to the poor. God will take the wealth away from them and give it to people who will distribute it better to the poor.

7 sn The expression “turn away the ear from hearing” uses a metonymy to mean that this individual will not listen – it indicates a deliberate refusal to follow the instruction of the law.

8 sn It is hard to imagine how someone who willfully refuses to obey the law of God would pray according to the will of God. Such a person is more apt to pray for some physical thing or make demands on God. (Of course a prayer of repentance would be an exception and would not be an abomination to the Lord.)

9 sn C. H. Toy says, “If a man, on his part, is deaf to instruction, then God, on his part, is deaf to prayer” (Proverbs [ICC], 499). And W. McKane observes that one who fails to attend to God’s law is a wicked person, even if he is a man of prayer (Proverbs [OTL], 623).



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