The one who covers 1 his transgressions will not prosper, 2 but whoever confesses them and forsakes them will find mercy. 3
He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.
People who cover over their sins will not prosper. But if they confess and forsake them, they will receive mercy.
You can't whitewash your sins and get by with it; you find mercy by admitting and leaving them.
He who keeps his sins secret will not do well; but one who is open about them, and gives them up, will get mercy.
No one who conceals transgressions will prosper, but one who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.
He that covereth
shall not prosper
but whoso confesseth
[them] shall have mercy
|NET © [draft] ITL|
The one who covers
them and forsakes
them will find mercy.
|NET © Notes||
1 tn The Hebrew participles provide the subject matter in this contrast. On the one hand is the person who covers over (מְכַסֶּה, mÿkhasseh) his sins. This means refusing to acknowledge them in confession, and perhaps rationalizing them away. On the other hand there is the one who both “confesses” (מוֹדֶה, modeh) and “forsakes” (עֹזֵב, ’ozev) the sin. To “confess” sins means to acknowledge them, to say the same thing about them that God does.
2 sn The verse contrasts the consequences of each. The person who refuses to confess will not prosper. This is an understatement (a figure of speech known as tapeinosis); the opposite is the truth, that eventually such a person will be undone and ruined. On the other hand, the penitent will find mercy. This expression is a metonymy of cause for the effect – although “mercy” is mentioned, what mercy provides is intended, i.e., forgiveness. In other passages the verb “conceal” is used of God’s forgiveness – he covers over the iniquity (Ps 32:1). Whoever acknowledges sin, God will cover it; whoever covers it, God will lay it open.
3 sn This verse is unique in the book of Proverbs; it captures the theology of forgiveness (e.g., Pss 32 and 51). Every part of the passage is essential to the point: Confession of sins as opposed to concealing them, coupled with a turning away from them, results in mercy.