24:23 These sayings also are from the wise:
To show partiality 1 in judgment is terrible: 2
24:24 The one who says to the guilty, 3 “You are innocent,” 4
peoples will curse him, and nations will denounce 5 him.
24:25 But there will be delight 6 for those who convict 7 the guilty, 8
and a pleasing blessing 9 will come on them.
1 tn Heb “to recognize faces”; KJV, ASV “to have respect of persons”; NLT “to show favoritism.”
2 tn Heb “not good.” This is a figure known as tapeinosis – a deliberate understatement to emphasize a worst-case scenario: “it is terrible!”
3 tn The word means “wicked; guilty” or “criminal”; the contrast could be “wicked – righteous” (cf. KJV, ASV, NAB, NASB) or “innocent – guilty” (cf. NIV, TEV, CEV). Since this line follows the statement about showing partiality in judgment, it involves a forensic setting. Thus the statement describes one who calls a guilty person innocent or acquitted.
4 tn Or “righteous”; the same Hebrew word may be translated either “innocent” or “righteous” depending on the context.
5 tn The verb means “to be indignant.” It can be used within the range of “have indignation,” meaning “loathe” or “abhor,” or express indignation, meaning “denounce” or “curse.” In this passage, in collocation with the previous term “curse,” the latter is intended (cf. NAB, NIV, NLT).
6 tn The verb means “to be pleasant; to be delightful.” The imperfect tense promises that there “will be delight” to those who rebuke the wicked.
7 tn The verb יָכַח (yakhakh) means “to decide; to adjudge; to prove.” This word occurs frequently in the book of Proverbs meaning “to reprove” or “to rebuke.” It deals with disputes, legal or otherwise. It can refer to a charge against someone or starting a dispute (and so rebuke); it can mean quarrel, argue; and it can mean settle a dispute. In this context the first or last use would work: (1) reproving the wicked for what they do (cf. KJV, NASB, NRSV), or (2) convicting them in a legal setting (cf. NAB, NIV, NLT). In light of the previous forensic context the second sense is preferred here.
8 tn “The guilty” is supplied in the translation for clarity based on the preceding context. See the previous note on the word “convict”: If a non-forensic context is preferred for vv. 23-25, “wicked” would be supplied here.
9 tn The expression is בִרְכַּת־טוֹב (birkat-tov, “blessing of good”); the genitive “good” has to be an attributive genitive modifying “blessings.” The word is general enough to mean any number of things – rich, healthy, pleasing, etc. The parallelism here narrows the choice. Some English versions interpret the “blessing” here as prosperity (cf. NAB, TEV, CEV).