Internet Verse Search Commentaries Word Analysis ITL - draft

Proverbs 17:12

Context
NETBible

It is better for a person to meet 1  a mother bear being robbed of her cubs, than 2  to encounter 3  a fool in his folly. 4 

XREF

2Sa 17:8; 2Ki 2:24; Pr 27:3; Pr 28:15; Ho 13:8; Mt 2:16

NET © Notes

tn Heb “Let a man meet” (so NASB); NLT “It is safer to meet.” The infinitive absolute פָּגוֹשׁ (pagosh, “to meet”) functions as a jussive of advice. The bear meeting a man is less dangerous than a fool in his folly. It could be worded as a “better” saying, but that formula is not found here.

tn The second colon begins with וְאַל (vÿal), “and not.” This negative usually appears with volitives, so the fuller expression of the parallel line would be “and let not a fool in his folly [meet someone].”

tn The words “to meet” are not in the Hebrew text, but are implied by the parallelism and are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

sn The human, who is supposed to be rational and intelligent, in such folly becomes more dangerous than the beast that in this case acts with good reason. As R. L. Alden comments, “Consider meeting a fool with a knife, or gun, or even behind the wheel of a car” (Proverbs, 134). See also E. Loewenstamm, “Remarks on Proverbs 17:12 and 20:27,” VT 37 (1967): 221-24. For a slightly different nuance cf. TEV “some fool busy with a stupid project.”



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