1 tn Heb “fear of the
2 tn The noun רֵאשִׁית (re’shit) has a two-fold range of meaning (BDB 912 s.v.): (1) “beginning” = first step in a course of action (e.g., Ps 111:10; Prov 17:14; Mic 1:13) or (2) “chief thing” as the principal aspect of something (e.g., Prov 4:7). So fearing the
3 tn Heb “knowledge.” The noun דָּעַת (da’at, “knowledge”) refers to experiential knowledge, not just cognitive knowledge, including the intellectual assimilation and practical application (BDB 394 s.v.). It is used in parallelism to מוּסָר (musar, “instruction, discipline”) and חָכְמָה (khokhmah, “wisdom, moral skill”).
4 tn The conjunction “but” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied by the antithetical parallelism. It is supplied in the translation for clarity.
5 tn The term אֱוִיל (’evil, “fool”) refers to a person characterized by moral folly (BDB 17 s.v.). Fools lack understanding (10:21), do not store up knowledge (10:14), fail to attain wisdom (24:7), and refuse correction (15:5; 27:22). They are arrogant (26:5), talk loosely (14:3) and are contentious (20:3). They might have mental intelligence but they are morally foolish. In sum, they are stubborn and “thick-brained” (J. H. Greenstone, Proverbs, 6).
6 tn The verb of בָּזָה (bazah, “despise”) means to treat things of value with contempt, as if they were worthless (BDB 102 s.v.). The classic example is Esau who despised his birthright and sold it for lentil stew (Gen 25:34). The perfect tense of this verb may be classified as characteristic perfect (what they have done and currently do) or gnomic perfect (what they always do in past, present and future). The latter is preferred; this describes a trait of fools, and elsewhere the book says that fools do not change.
7 sn Hebrew word order is emphatic here. Normal word order is: verb + subject + direct object. Here it is: direct object + subject + verb (“wisdom and instruction fools despise”).
8 sn The difference between תְּחִלַּת (tÿkhillat) here and רֵאשִׁית (re’shit) of 1:7, if there is any substantial difference, is that this term refers to the starting point of wisdom, and the earlier one indicates the primary place of wisdom (K&D 16:202).
9 tn Heb “fear of the
10 tn Heb “knowledge of the Holy One” (so ASV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV).
11 tn The word is in the plural in the Hebrew (literally “holy ones”; KJV “the holy”). It was translated “holy men” in Tg. Prov 9:10. But it probably was meant to signify the majestic nature of the