A king’s wrath 1 is like 2 a messenger of death, 3 but a wise person appeases it. 4
A king’s wrath is a messenger of death, but a wise man will appease it.
The fury of a king is like messengers of death, But a wise man will appease it.
The anger of the king is a deadly threat; the wise do what they can to appease it.
An intemperate leader wreaks havoc in lives; you're smart to stay clear of someone like that.
The wrath of the king is like those who give news of death, but a wise man will put peace in place of it.
A king’s wrath is a messenger of death, and whoever is wise will appease it.
As messengers of death is the king’s wrath, But a wise man will appease it.
of a king
[is as] messengers
but a wise
|NET © [draft] ITL|
is like a messenger
|NET © Notes||
1 sn This proverb introduces the danger of becoming a victim of the king’s wrath (cf. CEV “if the king becomes angry, someone may die”). A wise person knows how to pacify the unexpected and irrational behavior of a king. The proverb makes the statement, and then gives the response to the subject.
2 tn The comparative “like” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied by the metaphor; it is supplied for the sake of clarity.
3 tn The expression uses an implied comparison, comparing “wrath” to a messenger because it will send a message. The qualification is “death,” an objective genitive, meaning the messenger will bring death, or the message will be about death. E.g., 1 Kgs 2:25, 29-34 and 46. Some have suggested a comparison with the two messengers of Baal to the god Mot (“Death”) in the Ugaritic tablets (H. L. Ginsberg, “Baal’s Two Messengers,” BASOR 95 : 25-30). If there is an allusion, it is a very slight one. The verse simply says that the king’s wrath threatens death.
4 tn The verb is כָּפַּר (kapar), which means “to pacify; to appease” and “to atone; to expiate” in Levitical passages. It would take a wise person to know how to calm or pacify the wrath of a king – especially in the ancient Near East.