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Proverbs 7:2-4

Context

7:2 Keep my commands 1  so that you may live, 2 

and obey 3  my instruction as your most prized possession. 4 

7:3 Bind them on your forearm; 5 

write them on the tablet of your heart. 6 

7:4 Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” 7 

and call understanding a close relative,

1 tc Before v. 2 the LXX inserts: “My son, fear the Lord and you will be strong, and besides him, fear no other.” Although this addition has the precedent of 3:7 and 9 and harmonizes with 14:26, it does not fit here; the advice is to listen to the teacher.

2 tn The construction of an imperative with the vav (ו) of sequence after another imperative denotes a logical sequence of purpose or result: “that you may live,” or “and you will live.”

3 tn The term “obey” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied by the parallelism; it is supplied for the sake of clarity and smoothness. Some English versions, in light of the second line of v. 1, supply “guard” (e.g., NIV, NCV, NLT).

4 tn Heb “the little man in your eye.” Traditionally this Hebrew idiom is translated into English as “the apple of your eye” (so KJV, NAB, NIV, NRSV); a more contemporary rendering would be “as your most prized possession.” The word for “man” has the diminutive ending on it. It refers to the pupil, where the object focused on – a man – is reflected in miniature. The point is that the teaching must be the central focus of the disciple’s vision and attention.

5 tn Heb “fingers” (so KJV and many other English versions). In light of Deut 6:8, “fingers” appears to be a metonymy for the lower part of the arm.

6 sn This is an allusion to Deut 6:8. Binding the teachings on the fingers and writing them on the tablets here are implied comparisons for preserving the teaching in memory so that it can be recalled and used with ease.

7 sn The metaphor is meant to signify that the disciple will be closely related to and familiar with wisdom and understanding, as close as to a sibling. Wisdom will be personified in the next two chapters, and so referring to it as a sister in this chapter certainly prepares for that personification.



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