that is why he teaches sinners the right way to live. 2
but the crookedness of the unfaithful destroys them. 13
but the one who is perverted in his ways 15 despises him.
but as for the pure, 18 his way is upright.
but the way of the wicked ends in destruction. 21
1 tn Heb “good and just.”
2 tn Heb “teaches sinners in the way.”
3 sn The “way of the
4 tn The comparative “like” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied by the metaphor; it is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity.
5 tn Heb “for the one with integrity” (לַתֹּם, latom).
6 tn Or “ruin” (so NIV).
7 tn Heb “those who practice iniquity.”
8 sn The point of righteous living is made with the image of a highway, a raised and well-graded road (a hypocatastasis, implying a comparison between a highway and the right way of living).
9 tn The form סוּר (sur) is a Qal infinitive; it indicates that a purpose of the righteous life is to turn away from evil. “Evil” here has the sense of sinful living. So the first line asserts that the well-cared-for life avoids sin.
10 sn The second half of the verse uses two different words for “guard”; this one is נֹצֵר (notser) “the one who guards his way,” and the first is שֹׁמֵר (shomer) “the one who guards his life” (the order of the words is reversed in the translation). The second colon then explains further the first (synthetic parallelism), because to guard one’s way preserves life.
11 tc The LXX adds three lines after 17a and one after 17b: “The paths of life turn aside from evils, and the ways of righteousness are length of life; he who receives instruction will be prosperous, and he who regards reproofs will be made wise; he who guards his ways preserves his soul, and he who loves his life will spare his mouth.”
12 sn This contrasts two lifestyles, affirming the value of integrity. The upright live with integrity – blamelessness – and that integrity leads them in success and happiness. Those who use treachery will be destroyed by it.
13 tc The form is a Kethib/Qere reading. The Qere יְשָׁדֵּם (yÿshadem) is an imperfect tense with the pronominal suffix. The Kethib וְשַׁדָּם (vÿshadam) is a perfect tense with a vav prefixed and a pronominal suffix. The Qere is supported by the versions.
14 tn Heb “fear of the
15 tn Heb “crooked of ways”; NRSV “devious in conduct.” This construct phrase features a genitive of specification: “crooked in reference to his ways.” The term “ways” is an idiom for moral conduct. The evidence that people fear the
16 tn The first line of the proverb is difficult. Since וָזָר (vazar) occurs only here it has been given much attention. The translation of “guilty” is drawn from an Arabic cognate meaning “to bear a burden” and so “to be sin laden” or “guilty” (cf. NASB, NIV, NCV, NRSV, NLT). G. R. Driver prefers to read the line as “a man crooked of ways is false [zar]” (“Problems in the Hebrew Text of Proverbs,” Bib 32 : 185). C. H. Toy adopts the meaning of “proud” (Proverbs [ICC], 400). Whatever the reading, “guilty” or “proud” or “false,” the idea is that such people are devious. Bad people are underhanded; good people are aboveboard (C. H. Toy, Proverbs [ICC], 400). Another way to analyze the line is to read it with the definition “strange, stranger”: “The way of a man and a stranger is perverse.” But this is unclear, and would form no satisfactory contrast to 8b. Another suggestion is “the way of (usual) man is changeable and strange, but the pure fellow leads a straight and even course” (J. H. Greenstone, Proverbs, 244); cf. NLT “the innocent travel a straight road.”
17 tn The form הֲפַכְפַּךְ (hafakhfakh) is an adjective with an intensified meaning due to the duplication of the second and third radicals; it means “very devious; crooked” (from the verb “to overturn”).
18 tn If this translation stands, then the construction is formed with an independent nominative absolute, resumed by the suffixed noun as the formal subject. It draws attention to the “pure” or “innocent” person in contrast to the previously mentioned wicked.
19 tn The translation understands כי as asseverative. Another option is to translate “for,” understanding v. 6 as a theological explanation for vv. 3-5, which contrasts the respective destinies of the godly and the wicked.
20 tn Heb “the
21 tn Heb “but the way of the wicked perishes.” The “way of the wicked” may refer to their course of life (Ps 146:9; Prov 4:19; Jer 12:1) or their sinful behavior (Prov 12:26; 15:9). The Hebrew imperfect verbal form probably describes here what typically happens, though one could take the form as indicating what will happen (“will perish”).