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Proverbs 9:6-8

Context

9:6 Abandon your foolish ways 1  so that you may live, 2 

and proceed 3  in the way of understanding.”

9:7 Whoever corrects 4  a mocker is asking for 5  insult; 6 

whoever reproves a wicked person receives 7  abuse.

9:8 Do not reprove 8  a mocker or 9  he will hate you;

reprove a wise person and he will love you.

1 tn There are two ways to take this word: either as “fools” or as “foolish ways.” The spelling for “foolishness” in v. 13 differs from this spelling, and so some have taken that as an indicator that this should be “fools.” But this could still be an abstract plural here as in 1:22. Either the message is to forsake fools (i.e., bad company; cf. KJV, TEV) or forsake foolishness (cf. NAB, NASB, NIV, NCV, NRSV, NLT).

2 tn The two imperatives are joined with vav; this is a volitive sequence in which result or consequence is expressed.

3 tn The verb means “go straight, go on, advance” or “go straight on in the way of understanding” (BDB 80 s.v. אָשַׁר).

4 tn The active participle יֹסֵר (yoser) describes one who tries to correct by means of instruction and discipline; it is paralleled by the Hiphil participle which refers to someone who rebukes or reproves another. Anyone trying this on these types of people would be inviting trouble.

5 tn Heb “receives for himself.”

6 tn The word means “dishonor” or “disgrace.” It is paralleled with מוּמוֹ (mumo), translated “abuse.” The latter term means “blemish,” although some would emend the text to read “reproach.” The MT is figurative but not impossible to interpret: Whoever tries to rebuke a wicked person will receive only insults and perhaps physical attack.

7 tn The verb “receives” is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity and smoothness.

8 tn In view of the expected response for reproof, the text now uses a negated jussive to advise against the attempt. This is paralleled antithetically by the imperative in the second colon. This imperative is in an understood conditional clause: “if you reprove a wise person.”

9 tn Heb “lest he hate you.” The particle פֶּן (pen, “lest”) expresses fear or precaution (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 79, §476). The antonyms “love” and “hate” suggest that the latter means “reject” and the former means “choosing and embracing.”



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