If an iron axhead 1 is blunt and a workman 2 does not sharpen 3 its edge, 4 he must exert a great deal of effort; 5 so wisdom has the advantage of giving success.
If the axe is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success.
If the axe is dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must exert more strength. Wisdom has the advantage of giving success.
Since a dull ax requires great strength, sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed.
Remember: The duller the ax the harder the work; Use your head: The more brains, the less muscle.
If the iron has no edge, and he does not make it sharp, then he has to put out more strength; but wisdom makes things go well.
If the iron is blunt, and one does not whet the edge, then more strength must be exerted; but wisdom helps one to succeed.
If the ax is dull, And one does not sharpen the edge, Then he must use more strength; But wisdom brings success.
If the iron
and he do not whet
then must he put
to more strength
|NET © [draft] ITL|
and a workman does not
sharpen its edge, he must
a great deal of effort; so wisdom
has the advantageof giving success.
|NET © Notes||
1 tn The term “ax head” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for clarity. The preceding noun “iron” functions as a metonymy of material (i.e., iron) for the object with which it is associated (i.e., ax head).
2 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the workman) is implied, and has been specified in the translation for clarity
3 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.”
4 tn Heb “face.”
5 tn Heb “strength.” The term וַחֲיָלִים (vakhayalim, conjunction + plural noun from חַיִל, khayil, “strength; efficiency”) is an example of a plural of intensification (GKC 397-98 §124.e). The point is that it is a waste of a great deal of strength and energy. If a person is not smart, he will have to use a lot of energy and waste his efficiency.