The way of the guilty person 1 is devious, 2 but as for the pure, 3 his way is upright.
The way of the guilty is devious, but the conduct of the innocent is upright.
The way of a guilty man is crooked, But as for the pure, his conduct is upright.
The guilty walk a crooked path; the innocent travel a straight road.
Mixed motives twist life into tangles; pure motives take you straight down the road.
Twisted is the way of him who is full of crime; but as for him whose heart is clean, his work is upright.
The way of the guilty is crooked, but the conduct of the pure is right.
The way of a guilty man is perverse; But as for the pure, his work is right.
but [as for] the pure
|NET © [draft] ITL|
of the guilty
is devious, but as for the pure
, his way is upright.
|NET © Notes||
1 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.”
2 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”).
3 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.