3:1 My child, 2 do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep 3 my commandments,
3:2 for they will provide 4 a long and full life, 5
and they will add well-being 6 to you.
3:3 Do not let truth and mercy 7 leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart. 8
1 sn The chapter begins with an introductory exhortation (1-4), followed by an admonition to be faithful to the
2 tn Heb “my son” (likewise in vv. 11, 21).
3 tn The verb יִצֹּר (yitsor) is a Qal jussive and the noun לִבֶּךָ (libbekha, “your heart”) functions as the subject: “let your heart keep my commandments.”
4 tn The phrase “they will provide” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for the sake of smoothness.
5 tn Heb “length of days and years of life” (so NASB, NRSV). The idiom “length of days” refers to a prolonged life and “years of life” signifies a long time full of life, a life worth living (T. T. Perowne, Proverbs, 51). The term “life” refers to earthly felicity combined with spiritual blessedness (BDB 313 s.v. חַיִּים).
6 tn The noun שָׁלוֹם (shalom, “peace”) here means “welfare, health, prosperity” (BDB 1022 s.v. 3). It can be used of physical health and personal well-being. It is the experience of positive blessing and freedom from negative harm and catastrophe.
7 tn The two words חֶסֶד וֶאֶמֶת (khesed ve’emet, “mercy and truth”) form a nominal hendiadys, the second word becoming an adjective: “faithful covenant love” or “loyal [covenant] love and faithfulness.”
8 sn This involves two implied comparisons (hypocatastasis). One is a comparison of living out the duties and responsibilities taught with binding a chain around the neck, and the other is a comparison of the inward appropriation of the teachings with writing them on a tablet. So the teachings are not only to become the lifestyle of the disciple but his very nature.