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Proverbs 1:5-6

Context

1:5 (Let the wise also 1  hear 2  and gain 3  instruction,

and let the discerning 4  acquire 5  guidance! 6 )

1:6 To discern 7  the meaning of 8  a proverb and a parable, 9 

the sayings of the wise 10  and their 11  riddles. 12 

1 tn The term “also” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity and smoothness.

sn Verse 5 functions as a parenthesis in the purpose statements of 1:1-7. There are two purpose statements in 1:2 (“to know wisdom” and “to discern sayings”). The first is stated in detail in 1:3-4, first from the perspective of the student then the teacher. 1:6 will state the second purpose of 1:2. But between the two the writer notes that even the wise can become wiser. The book is not just for neophytes; it is for all who want to grow in wisdom.

2 tn The verb יִשְׁמַע (yishma’) functions as a jussive of advice or counsel (“Let him hear!”) rather than a customary imperfect (“he will hear”). The jussive is supported by the parallelism with the following Hiphil jussive וְיוֹסֶף (vÿyosef, “Let him add!”).

3 tn Heb “add.”

4 tn The Niphal substantival participle נָבוֹן (navon, “discerning”), rather than the noun, is used to describe a person who is habitually characterized by discernment. 1:5 forms a striking contrast to 1:4 – there was the simpleton and the youth, here the wise and discerning. Both need this book.

5 tn The Hiphil verb וְיוֹסֶף (vÿyosef) is a jussive rather than an imperfect as the final short vowel (segol) and accent on the first syllable shows (BDB 415 s.v. יָסַף Hiph).

6 tn The noun תַּחְבֻּלָה (takhbulah, “direction; counsel”) refers to moral guidance (BDB 287 s.v.). It is related to חֹבֵל (khovel, “sailor”), חִבֵּל (khibel, “mast”) and חֶבֶל (khevel, “rope; cord”), so BDB suggests it originally meant directing a ship by pulling ropes on the mast. It is used in a concrete sense of God directing the path of clouds (Job 37:12) and in a figurative sense of moral guidance (Prov 11:14; 20:18; 24:6). Here it refers to the ability to steer a right course through life (A. Cohen, Proverbs, 2).

7 tn The infinitive construct + ל (lamed) means “to discern” and introduces the fifth purpose of the book. It focuses on the benefits of proverbs from the perspective of the reader. By studying proverbs the reader will discern the hermeneutical key to understanding more and more proverbs.

8 tn The phrase “the meaning of” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied; it is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity.

9 tn The noun מְלִיצָה (mÿlitsah) means “allusive expression; enigma” in general, and “proverb, parable” in particular (BDB 539 s.v.; HALOT 590 s.v.). The related noun מֵלִיץ means “interpreter” (Gen 42:23). The related Arabic root means “to turn aside,” so this Hebrew term might refer to a saying that has a “hidden meaning” to its words; see H. N. Richardson, “Some Notes on לִיץ and Its Derivatives,” VT 5 (1955): 163-79.

10 tn This line functions in apposition to the preceding, further explaining the phrase “a proverb and a parable.”

11 tn The term “their” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but seems to be implied; it is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity and smoothness.

12 tn The noun חִידָה (khidah, “riddle”) designates enigmatic sayings whose meaning is obscure or hidden, such as a riddle (Num 12:8; Judg 14:12, 19), allegory (Ezek 17:2), perplexing moral problem (Pss 49:5; 78:2), perplexing question (1 Kgs 10:1 = 2 Chr 9:1) or ambiguous saying (Dan 8:23); see BDB 295 s.v. and HALOT 309 s.v. If this is related to Arabic hada (“to turn aside, avoid”), it refers to sayings whose meanings are obscure. The sayings of the wise often take the form of riddles that must be discerned.



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