Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool—how much worse lying lips to a ruler!
Excellent speech is not fitting for a fool, Much less are lying lips to a prince.
Eloquent speech is not fitting for a fool; even less are lies fitting for a ruler.
We don't expect eloquence from fools, nor do we expect lies from our leaders.
Fair words are not to be looked for from a foolish man, much less are false lips in a ruler.
Fine speech is not becoming to a fool; still less is false speech to a ruler.
Excellent speech is not becoming to a fool, Much less lying lips to a prince.
|NET © [draft] ITL|
|NET © Notes||
1 tn The word יֶתֶר (yeter) could be rendered either “arrogant” (cf. NIV) or “excellent” (cf. KJV, NASB; NLT “eloquent”) because the basic idea of the word is “remainder; excess,” from the verb “be left over.” It describes “lofty” speech (arrogant or excellent) that is not suited for the fool. The Greek version, using pista, seems to support the idea of “excellent,” and makes a contrast: “words that are excellent do not fit a fool.” The idea of arrogance (NIV) fits if it is taken in the sense of lofty, heightened, or excessive language.
2 tn “a lip of excess.” The term “lip” is a metonymy for what is said.
3 sn The “fool” proper, described by the term נָבָל (naval), occurs only here, in v. 21, and in 30:22 in the book. It describes someone who is godless and immoral in an overbearing way (e.g., 1 Sam 25:25; Ps 14:1). A fool should restrain his words lest his foolishness spew out.
4 tn Heb “speech of falsehood”; NRSV “false speech.”
5 sn This “ruler” (KJV, NASB “prince”; NAB “noble”) is a gentleman with a code of honor, to whom truthfulness is second nature (W. McKane, Proverbs [OTL], 507). The word describes one as “inclined, generous, noble” (BDB 622 s.v. נָדִיב). It is cognate to the word for the “free will offering.” So for such a noble person lies are not suited. The argument is from the lesser to the greater – if fools shouldn’t speak lofty things, then honorable people should not lie (or, lofty people should not speak base things).