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17 A kind person[a] benefits[b] himself,[c]
but a cruel person brings himself trouble.[d]

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  1. Proverbs 11:17 tn Heb “man of kindness,” “of loyalty,” or “of loyal love.”sn This contrasts the “kind person” and the “cruel person” (one who is fierce, cruel), showing the consequences of their dispositions.
  2. Proverbs 11:17 tn The term גֹּמֶל (gomel) means “to deal fully [or “adequately”] with” someone or something. The kind person will benefit himself.
  3. Proverbs 11:17 tn Heb “his own soul.” The term נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, “soul”) is used as a synecdoche of part (= soul) for the whole (= person): “himself” (BDB 660 s.v. 4).
  4. Proverbs 11:17 tn Heb “brings trouble to his flesh.”sn There may be a conscious effort by the sage to contrast “soul” and “body”: He contrasts the benefits of kindness for the “soul” (translated “himself”) with the trouble that comes to the “flesh/body” (translated “himself”) of the cruel.