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Proverbs 3:34-35

Context

3:34 Although 1  he is scornful to arrogant scoffers, 2 

yet 3  he shows favor to the humble. 4 

3:35 The wise inherit honor,

but he holds fools up 5  to public contempt. 6 

1 tn The particle אִם (’im, “though”) introduces a concessive clause: “though….”

2 tn Heb “he mocks those who mock.” The repetition of the root לִיץ (lits, “to scorn; to mock”) connotes poetic justice; the punishment fits the crime. Scoffers are characterized by arrogant pride (e.g., Prov 21:24), as the antithetical parallelism with “the humble” here emphasizes.

3 tn The prefixed vav (ו) introduces the apodosis to the concessive clause: “Though … yet …”

4 tn The Hebrew is structured chiastically (AB:BA): “he scorns / arrogant scoffers // but to the humble / he gives grace.” The word order in the translation is reversed for the sake of smoothness and readability.

5 tc MT reads מֵרִים (merim, “he lifts up”): singular Hiphil participle of רוּם (rum, “to rise; to exalt”), functioning verbally with the Lord as the implied subject: “but he lifts up fools to shame.” The LXX and Vulgate reflect the plural מְרִימִים (mÿrimim, “they exalt”) with “fools” (כְּסִילִים, kesilim) as the explicit subject: “but fools exalt shame.” The textual variant was caused by haplography or dittography of ים (depending on whether MT or the alternate tradition is original).

6 tn The noun קָלוֹן (qalon, “ignominy; dishonor; contempt”) is from קָלָה (qalah) which is an alternate form of קָלַל (qalal) which means (1) “to treat something lightly,” (2) “to treat with contempt [or, with little esteem]” or (3) “to curse.” The noun refers to personal disgrace or shame. While the wise will inherit honor, fools will be made a public display of dishonor. God lets fools entangle themselves in their folly in a way for all to see.



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