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(0.27) (Pro 27:9)

tn Some think the MT is unintelligible as it stands: “The sweetness of his friend from the counsel of the soul.” The Latin version has “the soul is sweetened by the good counsels of a friend.” D. W. Thomas suggests, “counsels of a friend make sweet the soul” (“Notes on Some Passages in the Book of Proverbs,” VT 15 [1965]: 275). G. R. Driver suggests, “the counsel of a friend is sweeter than one’s own advice” (literally, “more than the counsel of the soul”). He also suggests “more than of fragrant wood.” See G. R. Driver, “Hebrew Notes,” ZAW 52 (1934): 54; idem, “Suggestions and Objections,” ZAW 55 (1937): 69-70. The LXX reads “and the soul is rent by misfortunes.” The MT, for want of better or more convincing readings, may be interpreted to mean something like “[Just as] ointment and incense brings joy to the heart, [so] the sweetness of one’s friend [comes] from his sincere counsel.”

(0.27) (Exo 15:22)

sn The first event of the Israelites’ desert experience is a failure, for they murmur against Yahweh and are given a stern warning—and the provision of sweet water. The event teaches that God is able to turn bitter water into sweet water for his people, and he promises to do such things if they obey. He can provide for them in the desert—he did not bring them into the desert to let them die. But there is a deeper level to this story—the healing of the water is incidental to the healing of the people, their lack of trust. The passage is arranged in a neat chiasm, starting with a journey (A), ending with the culmination of the journey (A'); developing to bitter water (B), resolving to sweet water (B'); complaints by the people (C), leading to the instructions for the people (C'); and the central turning point is the wonder miracle (D).

(0.27) (Pro 16:24)

sn Two predicates are added to qualify the metaphor: The pleasant words are “sweet” and “healing.” “Soul” includes in it the appetites, physical and spiritual; and so sweet to the “soul” would summarize all the ways pleasant words give pleasure. “Bones” is a metonymy of subject, the boney framework representing the whole person, body and soul. Pleasant words, like honey, will enliven and encourage the whole person. One might recall, in line with the imagery here, how Jonathan’s eyes brightened when he ate from the honeycomb (1 Sam 14:27).

(0.25) (Sos 5:16)

tn The term מַחֲמַדִּים (makhamaddim, “desirable”) is the plural form of the noun מַחְמַד (makhmad, “desire, desirable thing, precious object”; HALOT 570 s.v. מַחְמָד 1; BDB 326 s.v. מַחְמַד). Like the plural מַמְתַקִּים (“sweetness”) in the preceding parallel line, this use of the plural is probably an example of the plural of intensity: “very desirable.”

(0.25) (Pro 13:19)

tn Heb “an abomination of fools.” The noun כְּסִילִים (kesilim, “fools”) functions as a subjective genitive: “fools hate to turn away from evil” (cf. NAB, TEV, CEV). T. T. Perowne says: “In spite of the sweetness of good desires accomplished, fools will not forsake evil to attain it” (Proverbs, 103). Cf. Prov 13:12; 29:27.

(0.25) (Pro 7:5)

tn The Hiphil of חָלַק (khalaq, “to be smooth/slippery”) means “to use smooth words,” that is, to flatter (Pss 5:10; 36:3; Prov 2:16; 28:23; 29:5). The seductive speech of the temptress is as sweet as honey and smooth as oil (5:3).

(0.25) (Pro 5:4)

sn The verb “to be bitter” (מָרַר, marar) describes things that are harmful and destructive for life, such as the death of the members of the family of Naomi (Ruth 1:20) or finding water that was undrinkable (Exod 15:22-27). The word indicates that the sweet talking will turn out badly.

(0.25) (Pro 3:24)

tn The verb עָרְבָה (ʿarevah) is from III עָרַב (ʿarav, “to be sweet; to be pleasing; to be pleasant”; BDB 787 s.v. III עָרַב). It should not be confused with the other five homonymic roots that are also spelled עָרַב (see BDB 786-88).

(0.25) (Psa 55:14)

tn Heb “who together we would make counsel sweet.” The imperfect verbal forms here and in the next line draw attention to the ongoing nature of the actions (the so-called customary use of the imperfect). Their relationship was characterized by such intimacy and friendship. See IBHS 502-3 §31.2b.

(0.25) (Gen 8:21)

tn The Lord “smelled” (וַיָּרַח, vayyarakh) a “soothing smell” (רֵיחַ הַנִּיחֹחַ, reakh hannikhoakh). The object forms a cognate accusative with the verb. The language is anthropomorphic. The offering had a sweet aroma that pleased or soothed. The expression in Lev 1 signifies that God accepts the offering with pleasure, and in accepting the offering he accepts the worshiper.

(0.22) (Pro 20:17)

sn The image of food and eating is carried throughout the proverb. Food taken by fraud seems sweet at first, but afterward it is not. To end up with a mouth full of gravel (a mass of small particles; e.g., Job 20:14-15; Lam 3:16) implies by comparison that what has been taken by fraud will be worthless and useless and certainly in the way (like food turning into sand and dirt).

(0.22) (Pro 19:6)

tn The verb יְחַלּוּ (yekhallu) is a Piel imperfect of חָלָה (khalah) meaning “to seek favor; to entreat favor; to mollify; to appease”; cf. NIV “curry favor.” It literally means “making the face of someone sweet or pleasant,” as in stroking the face. To “entreat the favor” of someone is to induce him to show favor; the action aims at receiving gifts, benefits, or any other kind of success.

(0.22) (Num 5:15)

tn The word “remembering” is זִכָּרוֹן (zikkaron); the meaning of the word here is not so much “memorial,” which would not communicate much, but the idea of bearing witness before God concerning the charges. The truth would come to light through this ritual, and so the attestation would stand. This memorial would bring the truth to light. It was a somber occasion, and so no sweet smelling additives were placed on the altar.

(0.22) (Exo 32:11)

tn S. R. Driver (Exodus, 351) draws on Arabic to show that the meaning of this verb (חָלָה, khalah) was properly “make sweet the face” or “stroke the face”; so here “to entreat, seek to conciliate.” In this prayer, Driver adds, Moses urges four motives for mercy: 1) Israel is Yahweh’s people, 2) Israel’s deliverance has demanded great power, 3) the Egyptians would mock if the people now perished, and 4) the oath God made to the fathers.

(0.22) (Exo 29:18)

sn According to Lev 1 the burnt offering (often called whole burnt offering, except that the skins were usually given to the priests for income) was an atoning sacrifice. By consuming the entire animal, God was indicating that he had completely accepted the worshiper, and as it was a sweet smelling fire sacrifice, he was indicating that he was pleased to accept it. By offering the entire animal, the worshiper was indicating on his part a complete surrender to God.

(0.22) (Exo 20:24)

sn The “burnt offering” is the offering prescribed in Lev 1. Everything of this animal went up in smoke as a sweet aroma to God. It signified complete surrender by the worshiper who brought the animal, and complete acceptance by God, thereby making atonement. The “peace offering” is legislated in Lev 3 and 7. This was a communal meal offering to celebrate being at peace with God. It was made usually for thanksgiving, for payment of vows, or as a freewill offering.

(0.19) (Sos 5:13)

tn Alternately, “towers of perfume.” The MT reads מִגְדְּלוֹת (migdelot) which yields the awkward “towers of perfume.” The term מִגְדָּל (migdal, “tower”) is normally used in reference to (1) watch-towers, defended towers along the city wall, and individual towers in the countryside to protect the borders, (2) storehouses, and (3) a tower in a vineyard (HALOT 543-44 s.v. I מִגְדָּל). It is never used in OT in association with a flower garden. On the other hand, LXX reads φυουσαι (phuousai, “yielding”) which reflects an alternate vocalization tradition of מְגַדְּלוֹת (megaddelot; Piel participle feminine plural from גָּדַל, gadal, “to increase, produce”). This makes good sense contextually because the Piel stem of גָּדַל means “to grow” plants and trees (Isa 44:14; Ezek 31:4; Jonah 4:10) (HALOT 179 s.v. I גדל 2). This revocalization is suggested by BHS editors, as well as the Hebrew lexicographers (HALOT 544 s.v. 2; 179 s.v. I 2; BDB 152 s.v. גָּדַל 1). Several translations follow LXX and revocalize the text (RSV, NIV, NJPS margin): “His cheeks are like beds of spice yielding perfume” (NIV) and “His cheeks are like beds of spice producing perfume” (NJPS margin). The other translations struggle to make sense of the MT, but are forced to abandon a literal rendering of מִגְדְּלוֹת (“towers”): “banks sweet herbs” (ASV), “banks sweetly scented” (JB), “treasure-chambers full of perfume” (NEB), “banks of sweet scented herbs” (NASB), and “banks of perfume” (JPS, NJPS).

(0.19) (Amo 5:21)

tn Heb “I will not smell.” These verses are full of vivid descriptions of the Lord’s total rejection of Israelite worship. In the first half of this verse two verbs are used together for emphasis. Here the verb alludes to the sense of smell, a fitting observation since offerings would have been burned on the altar ideally to provide a sweet aroma to God (see, e.g., Lev 1:9, 13, 17; Num 29:36). Other senses that are mentioned include sight and hearing in vv. 22-23.

(0.19) (Sos 7:13)

sn Her comparison of their love to fruit stored “over our door” reflects an ancient Near Eastern practice of storing fruit on a shelf above the door of a house. In the ancient Near East, fruits were stored away on shelves or cupboards above doorways where they were out of reach and left to dry until they became very sweet and delectable. The point of comparison in this figurative expression seems to be two-fold: (1) She was treasuring up special expressions of her sexual love to give to him, and (2) All these good things were for him alone to enjoy. See M. H. Pope, The Song of Songs [AB], 650.

(0.19) (Num 14:8)

tn The subjective genitives “milk and honey” are symbols of the wealth of the land, second only to bread. Milk was a sign of such abundance (Gen 49:12; Isa 7:21, 22). Because of the climate the milk would thicken quickly and become curds, eaten with bread or turned into butter. The honey mentioned here is the wild honey (see Deut 32:13; Judg 14:8-9). It signified sweetness, or the finer things of life (Ezek 3:3).



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