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Proverbs 31:13

Context

31:13 She obtains 1  wool and flax,

and she is pleased to work with her hands. 2 

Proverbs 31:21-22

Context

31:21 She is not 3  afraid of the snow 4  for her household,

for all of her household are clothed with scarlet. 5 

31:22 She makes for herself coverlets; 6 

her clothing is fine linen and purple. 7 

1 tn The first word of the fourth line begins with דּ (dalet) the fourth letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The verb דָרַשׁ (darash) means “to seek; to inquire; to investigate.” The idea is that she looks for the wool and flax to do her work, but the whole verse assumes she has obtained it. This verb also occurs in the hymn of Ps 111, which says in v. 2 that “the works of the Lord are searched.” One word used in another passage is not that significant; but the cumulative effect of words and ideas suggest that the composition of this poem is influenced by hymnology.

2 tn Heb “and she works in the pleasure of her hands.” The noun חֵפֶץ (khefets) means “delight; pleasure.” BDB suggests it means here “that in which one takes pleasure,” i.e., a business, and translates the line “in the business of her hands” (BDB 343 s.v. 4). But that translation reduces the emphasis on pleasure and could have easily been expressed in other ways. Here it is part of the construct relationship. The “hands” are the metonymy of cause, representing all her skills and activities in making things. It is also a genitive of specification, making “pleasure” the modifier of “her hands/her working.” She does her work with pleasure. Tg. Prov 31:13 has, “she works with her hands in accordance with her pleasure.”

3 tn The first word of the twelfth line begins with ל (lamed), the twelfth letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

4 sn “Snow” is a metonymy of adjunct; it refers to the cold weather when snow comes. The verse is saying that this time is not a concern for the wise woman because the family is well prepared.

5 tn For the MT’s “scarlet” the LXX and the Latin have “two” or “double” – the difference being essentially the vocalization of a plural as opposed to a dual. The word is taken in the versions with the word that follows (“covers”) to means “double garments.” The question to be asked is whether scarlet would keep one warm in winter or double garments. The latter is the easier reading and therefore suspect.

6 tn The first word of the thirteenth line begins with מ (mem), the thirteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The word rendered “coverlets” appears in 7:16, where it has the idea of “covered.” K&D 17:335 suggests “pillows” or “mattresses” here. The Greek version has “lined overcoats” or “garments,” but brings over the last word of the previous verse to form this line and parallel the second half, which has clothing in view.

7 sn The “fine linen” refers to expensive clothing (e.g., Gen 41:42), as does the “purple” (e.g., Exod 26:7; 27:9, 18). Garments dyed with purple indicated wealth and high rank (e.g., Song 3:5). The rich man in Luke 16:19 was clothed in fine linen and purple as well. The difference is that the wise woman is charitable, but he is not.



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