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(1.00) (Psa 7:12)

tn Heb “if he does not return, his sword he sharpens.” The referent (God) of the pronominal subject of the second verb (“sharpens”) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

(0.99) (Psa 140:3)

tn Heb “they sharpen their tongue like a serpent.” Ps 64:3 reads, “they sharpen their tongues like sword.” Perhaps Ps 140:3 uses a mixed metaphor, the point being that “they sharpen their tongues [like a sword],” as it were, so that when they speak, their words wound like a serpent’s bite. Another option is that the language refers to the pointed or forked nature of a serpent’s tongue, which is viewed metaphorically as “sharpened.”

(0.99) (Pro 27:17)

tn Heb “sharpens the face of his friend.” The use of the word “face” (cf. KJV, ASV “countenance”) would here emphasize that it is the personality or character that is being sharpened. Constructive criticism sharpens character. Use of the wits in interaction that makes two people sharp as a razor (W. McKane, Proverbs [OTL], 615); another example, from the Talmud, is that of two students sharpening each other in the study of the Torah (b. Ta’anit 7a).

(0.98) (Jos 10:21)

tn Heb “no man sharpened [or perhaps, “pointed”] his tongue against the sons of Israel.” Cf. NEB “not a man of the Israelites suffered so much as a scratch on his tongue,” which understands “sharpened” as “scratched” (referring to a minor wound). Most modern translations understand the Hebrew expression “sharpened his tongue” figuratively for opposition or threats against the Israelites.

(0.85) (Psa 52:2)

tn Heb “like a sharpened razor, doer of deceit.” The masculine participle עָשָׂה (’asah) is understood as a substantival vocative, addressed to the powerful man.

(0.71) (Job 16:9)

tn The verb is used of sharpening a sword in Ps 7:12; here it means “to look intently” as an animal looks for prey. The verse describes God’s relentless pursuit of Job.

(0.70) (Pro 12:24)

tn The term חָרַץ (kharats, “diligent”) means (1) literally: “to cut; to sharpen,” (2) figurative: “to decide” and “to be diligent. It is used figuratively in Proverbs for diligence. The semantic development of the figure may be understood thus: “cut, sharpen” leads to “act decisively” which leads to “be diligent.” By their diligent work they succeed to management. The diligent rise to the top, while the lazy sink to the bottom.

(0.57) (Joe 3:10)

sn This implement was used to prune the vines, i.e., to cut off extra leaves and young shoots (M. Klingbeil, NIDOTTE 1:1117-18). It was a short knife with a curved hook at the end sharpened on the inside like a sickle.

(0.57) (Mic 4:3)

sn This implement was used to prune the vines, i.e., to cut off extra leaves and young shoots (M. Klingbeil, NIDOTTE 1:1117-18). It was a short knife with a curved hook at the end sharpened on the inside like a sickle.

(0.50) (Pro 27:17)

tn BDB classifies the verb in the first colon as a Qal apocopated jussive of I חָדָה (khadah, “to grow sharp”; BDB 292 s.v.), and the verb in the second half of the verse (יַחַד, yakhad) as a Hiphil apocopated jussive. The difference would be: “let iron by means of iron grow sharp, and let a man sharpen the countenance of his friend.” But it makes more sense to take them both as Hiphil forms, the first being in pause. Other suggestions have been put forward for the meaning of the word, but the verb “sharpens” fits the context the best, and is followed by most English versions. The verb may be a shortened form of the imperfect rather than a jussive.

(0.50) (Ecc 10:10)

tn The verb קלל in the Pilpel means “to sharpen; to make a blade sharp” (HALOT 1104 s.v. קלל 1).This denominative verb is derived from the rare noun II קָלַל “smooth; shiny” (referring to bronze; Ezek 1:7; Dan 10:6; HALOT 1105 s.v.). Sharpening the blade or head of a bronze ax will make it smooth and shiny. It is not derived from I קָלַל (qalal) “to treat light” or the noun I קְלָלָה (qÿlalah) “curse.” Nor is it related to I קָלַל “to shake” (Ezek 21:26); cf. HALOT 1104. BDB 886 s.v. קָלַל 2 erroneously relates it to I קָלַל, suggesting “to whet” or “to move quickly to and fro.”

(0.49) (Exo 11:7)

tn Or perhaps “growl”; Heb “not a dog will sharpen his tongue.” The expression is unusual, but it must indicate that not only would no harm come to the Israelites, but that no unfriendly threat would come against them either – not even so much as a dog barking. It is possible this is to be related to the watchdog (see F. C. Fensham, “Remarks on Keret 114b – 136a,” JNSL 11 [1983]: 75).

(0.49) (1Sa 13:21)

tn Heb “the price was.” The meaning of the Hebrew word פְּצִירָה (pÿtsirah) is uncertain. This is the only place it occurs in the OT. Some propose the meaning “sharpening,” but “price” is a more likely meaning if the following term refers to a weight (see the following note on the word “shekel”). See P. K. McCarter, I Samuel (AB), 238.

(0.49) (Isa 2:4)

sn This implement was used to prune the vines, i.e., to cut off extra leaves and young shoots (H. Wildberger, Isaiah, 1:93; M. Klingbeil, NIDOTTE 1:1117-18). It was a short knife with a curved hook at the end sharpened on the inside like a sickle. Breaking weapons and fashioning agricultural implements indicates a transition from fear and stress to peace and security.

(0.49) (Isa 49:2)

sn The figurative language emphasizes the servant’s importance as the Lord’s effective instrument. The servant’s mouth, which stands metonymically for his words, is compared to a sharp sword because he will be an effective spokesman on God’s behalf (see 50:4). The Lord holds his hand on the servant, ready to draw and use him at the appropriate time. The servant is like a sharpened arrow reserved in a quiver for just the right moment.

(0.49) (Jer 9:8)

tc This reading follows the Masoretic consonants (the Kethib, a Qal active participle from שָׁחַט, shakhat). The Masoretes preferred to read “a sharpened arrow” (the Qere, a Qal passive participle from the same root or a homonym, meaning “hammered, beaten”). See HALOT 1354 s.v. II שָׁחַט for discussion. The exact meaning of the word makes little difference to the meaning of the metaphor itself.

(0.42) (Pro 21:5)

tn The word “diligent” is an adjective used substantivally. The related verb means “to cut, sharpen, decide”; so the adjective describes one who is “sharp” – one who acts decisively. The word “hasty” has the idea of being pressed or pressured into quick actions. So the text contrasts calculated expeditiousness with unproductive haste. C. H. Toy does not like this contrast, and so proposes changing the latter to “lazy” (Proverbs [ICC], 399), but W. McKane rightly criticizes that as unnecessarily forming a pedestrian antithesis (Proverbs [OTL], 550).

(0.42) (Jer 31:29)

tn This word only occurs here and in the parallel passage in Ezek 18:2 in the Qal stem and in Eccl 10:10 in the Piel stem. In the latter passage it refers to the bluntness of an ax that has not been sharpened. Here the idea is of the “bluntness” of the teeth, not from having ground them down due to the bitter taste of sour grapes but to the fact that they have lost their “edge,” “bite,” or “sharpness” because they are numb from the sour taste. For this meaning for the word see W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah (Hermeneia), 2:197.

(0.42) (Eze 18:2)

tn This word only occurs here and in the parallel passage in Jer 31:29-30 in the Qal stem and in Eccl 10:10 in the Piel stem. In the latter passage it refers to the bluntness of an ax that has not been sharpened. Here the idea is of the “bluntness” of the teeth, not from having ground them down due to the bitter taste of sour grapes but to the fact that they have lost their “edge,” “bite,” or “sharpness” because they are numb from the sour taste. For this meaning for the word, see W. L. Holladay, Jeremiah (Hermeneia), 2:197.



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