All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD.
All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the LORD weighs the motives.
People may be pure in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their motives.
Humans are satisfied with whatever looks good; GOD probes for what is good.
All a man’s ways are clean to himself; but the Lord puts men’s spirits into his scales.
All one’s ways may be pure in one’s own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirit.
All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the spirits.
|NET © [draft] ITL|
|NET © Notes||
1 tn Heb “ways of a man.”
2 sn The Hebrew term translated “right” (z~E) means “innocent” (NIV) or “pure” (NAB, NRSV, NLT). It is used in the Bible for pure oils or undiluted liquids; here it means unmixed actions. Therefore on the one hand people rather naively conclude that their actions are fine.
3 tn Heb “in his eyes.”
4 tn The figure (a hypocatastasis) of “weighing” signifies “evaluation” (e.g., Exod 5:8; 1 Sam 2:3; 16:7; Prov 21:2; 24:12). There may be an allusion to the Egyptian belief of weighing the heart after death to determine righteousness. But in Hebrew thought it is an ongoing evaluation as well, not merely an evaluation after death.
5 tn Heb “spirits” (so KJV, ASV). This is a metonymy for the motives, the intentions of the heart (e.g., 21:2 and 24:2).
sn Humans deceive themselves rather easily and so appear righteous in their own eyes; but the proverb says that God evaluates motives and so he alone can determine if the person’s ways are innocent.