4:2 Preach the message, 1 be ready 2 whether it is convenient or not, 3 reprove, rebuke, exhort 4 with complete patience and instruction.
and a word at the right time 7 – how good it is!
so is a word skillfully spoken. 9
1 tn Or “the word.”
2 tn Or “be persistent.”
3 tn Grk “in season, out of season.”
4 tn Or “encourage.”
5 tn Heb “joy to the man” or “the man has joy.”
6 tn Heb “in the answer of his mouth” (so ASV); NASB “in an apt answer.” The term “mouth” is a metonymy of cause for what he says. But because the parallelism is loosely synonymous, the answer given here must be equal to the good word spoken in season. So it is an answer that is proper or fitting.
7 tn Heb “in its season.” To say the right thing at the right time is useful; to say the right thing at the wrong time is counterproductive.
8 sn The verse uses emblematic parallelism, stating the simile in the first part and the point in the second. The meaning of the simile is not entirely clear, but it does speak of beauty, value, and artistry. The “apples of gold” (possibly citrons, quinces, oranges, or apricots) may refer to carvings of fruit in gold on columns.
9 tn Heb “on its wheels.” This expression means “aptly, fittingly.” The point is obviously about the immense value and memorable beauty of words used skillfully (R. N. Whybray, Proverbs [CBC], 148). Noting the meaning of the term and the dual form of the word, W. McKane suggests that the expression is metaphorical for the balancing halves of a Hebrew parallel wisdom saying: “The stichos is a wheel, and the sentence consisting of two wheels is a ‘well-turned’ expression” (Proverbs [OTL], 584). The line then would be describing a balanced, well-turned saying, a proverb; it is skillfully constructed, beautifully written, and of lasting value.