As a north wind brings rain, so a sly tongue brings angry looks.
The north wind brings forth rain, And a backbiting tongue, an angry countenance.
As surely as a wind from the north brings rain, so a gossiping tongue causes anger!
A north wind brings stormy weather, and a gossipy tongue stormy looks.
As the north wind gives birth to rain, so is an angry face caused by a tongue saying evil secretly.
The north wind produces rain, and a backbiting tongue, angry looks.
The north wind brings forth rain, And a backbiting tongue an angry countenance.
|NET © [draft] ITL|
|NET © Notes||
1 sn One difficulty here is that it is the west wind that brings rain to Israel (e.g., 1 Kgs 18:41-44). C. H. Toy suggests that the expression is general, referring to a northwest wind – unless it is an error (Proverbs [ICC], 468). J. P. M. van der Ploeg suggests that the saying originated outside the land, perhaps in Egypt (“Prov 25:23,” VT 3 : 189-92). But this would imply it was current in a place where it made no sense. R. N. Whybray suggests that the solution lies with the verb “brings forth” (תְּחוֹלֵל, tÿkholel); he suggests redefining it to mean “repels, holds back” (cf. KJV “driveth away”). Thus, the point would be that the north wind holds back the rain just as an angry look holds back slander (Proverbs [CBC], 149). But the support for this definition is not convincing. Seeing this as a general reference to northerly winds is the preferred solution.
2 tn Heb “a tongue of secret” or “a hidden tongue,” referring to someone who goes around whispering about people behind their backs (cf. KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV “a backbiting tongue”).
3 tn The phrase “brings forth” does not appear in Hebrew in this line but is implied by the parallelism with the previous line; it is supplied here in the translation for clarity.
4 sn The verse implies a comparison between the two parts to make the point that certain things automatically bring certain results. Gossiping words will infuriate people as easily as the northerly winds bring the cold rain.