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Proverbs 13:4


13:4 The appetite 1  of the sluggard 2  craves 3  but gets nothing,

but the desire of the diligent will be abundantly satisfied. 4 

Proverbs 19:8


19:8 The one who acquires wisdom 5  loves himself; 6 

the one who preserves understanding will prosper. 7 

Proverbs 21:10


21:10 The appetite 8  of the wicked desires 9  evil;

his neighbor is shown no favor 10  in his eyes.

1 tn The noun נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, traditionally “soul”) has a broad range of meanings, and here denotes “appetite” (e.g., Ps 17:9; Prov 23:3; Eccl 2:24; Isa 5:14; Hab 2:5; BDB 660 s.v. 5.c) or (2) “desire” (e.g., Deut 12:20; Prov 19:8; 21:10; BDB 660 s.v. 6.a).

2 sn The contrast is between the “soul (= appetite) of the sluggard” (נַפְשׁוֹ עָצֵל, nafshoatsel) and the “soul (= desire) of the diligent” (נֶפֶשׁ חָרֻצִים, nefesh kharutsim) – what they each long for.

3 tn The Hitpael verb means “to lust after; to crave.” A related verb is used in the Decalogue’s prohibition against coveting (Exod 20:17; Deut 5:21).

4 tn Heb “will be made fat” (cf. KJV, NASB); NRSV “is richly supplied.”

5 tn Heb “heart.” Most English versions translate as “wisdom,” but cf. NAB “intelligence.” This refers to a mind that works (e.g., Prov 7:7; 9:4).

6 tn Heb “his own soul.” The expression “loves his soul” means that he is paying attention to his needs or taking care of his life (cf. NAB “is his own best friend”). This expression works with its parallel to provide the whole idea: “loving the soul” is the metonymy of the cause for prospering, and “prospering” is the metonymy of the effect (of loving).

7 tn Heb “finds good” (similar KJV, NASB); NCV “will succeed.” The MT reads לִמְצֹא (limtso’), a Qal infinitive construct. The LXX (as well as the other major early versions) renders it as a future, which reflects a Vorlage of יִמְצָא (yimtsa’). The infinitive is used here in a modal sense, meaning “is destined to” or “is certain of” finding good in life.

8 tn Heb “soul.” The Hebrew text uses נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, traditionally, “soul”) as the formal subject of the sentence – “the soul of a wicked man desires.” This term has at its core the idea of appetites, and so its use here underscores that the cravings are deep-seated (BDB 660 s.v. 5), and the translation “appetite” reflects this.

9 sn The word has the meanings of “desire, crave, long for, lust after.” It usually has “soul” as its subject. The word is used in the Ten Commandments in the prohibition against coveting a neighbor’s house (Deut 5:18).

10 tn The form יֻחַן (yukhan) is a Hophal imperfect from חָנַן (khanan); it means “to be shown mercy” – here negated to mean “he will not be shown mercy.” The person who lives to satisfy his own craving for evil will not be interested in meeting the needs of others.

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