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Proverbs 3:19-26 New English Translation (NET Bible)

19 By wisdom the Lord laid the foundation of the earth;[a]
he established the heavens by understanding.[b]
20 By his knowledge the primordial sea[c] was broken open,[d]
so that the clouds drip down dew.[e]
21 My child, do not let them[f] escape from your sight;
safeguard sound wisdom and discretion.[g]
22 So they will become life for your soul,[h]
and grace around your neck.[i]
23 Then you will walk on your way with security,
and you will not stumble.[j]
24 When[k] you lie down[l] you will not be filled with fear;[m]
when you lie down your sleep will be pleasant.[n]
25 Do not be afraid[o] of sudden[p] disaster,[q]
or when destruction overtakes the wicked;[r]
26 for the Lord will be the source of your confidence,[s]
and he will guard your foot[t] from being caught in a trap.[u]

Footnotes:

  1. Proverbs 3:19 tn Heb “founded the earth.” The verb יָסַד (yasad, “to establish; to found”) describes laying the foundation of a building (1 Kgs 5:31 HT [5:17 ET]; 7:10; 2 Chr 3:3; Ezra 3:10-12; Zech 4:9) and God laying the foundation of the earth (Job 38:4; Pss 24:2; 89:12; 102:26; 104:5; Isa 48:13; 51:13, 16; Zech 12:1).
  2. Proverbs 3:19 sn The theme of God’s use of wisdom in creation is developed in Prov 8:22-31. Because God established the world to operate according to the principle of wisdom it is impossible for anyone to live successfully in his world apart from the wisdom that only God can give.
  3. Proverbs 3:20 sn The word תְּהוֹמוֹת (tehomot, “primordial sea”) alludes to the chaotic “deep” in Gen 1:2 (BDB 1063 s.v. תְּהוֹם 3). This was viewed in the ancient world as a force to be reckoned with. However, God not only formed it but controls it (see J. Emerton, “Spring and Torrent in Ps 74:15, ” VT 15 [1965]: 125).
  4. Proverbs 3:20 sn This might refer to God’s action of dividing the waters to form the dry ground on the third day (Gen 1:9-10) or, less likely, to the breaking up of the fountains of the deep at the flood (Gen 7:11).
  5. Proverbs 3:20 tn The verb is a prefixed form and follows three perfect verbs describing past time events. The form may be understood as an archaic preterite (which normally begins with a waw consecutive). In that case it is simple past time. Or it may be taken as an imperfect to show result, “so that the clouds drip down dew.” sn The two colons form a merism: The wisdom of God is behind all forces of nature, whether the violent breaking forth of its watery forces at creation or the provision of the gentle rain and dew throughout history (T. T. Perowne, Proverbs, 55).
  6. Proverbs 3:21 tn The object of the verb “escape” is either (1) wisdom, knowledge, and understanding in vv. 13-20 or (2) “wisdom and discretion” in the second colon of this verse. Several English versions transpose the terms “wisdom and discretion” from the second colon into the first colon for the sake of clarity and smoothness (e.g., RSV, NRSV, NIV, TEV, CEV). NIV takes the subject from the second colon and reverses the clauses to clarify that.
  7. Proverbs 3:21 tn Or: “purpose,” “power of devising.”
  8. Proverbs 3:22 tn The noun נַפְשֶׁךָ (nafshekha, “your soul”) is a synecdoche of part (= inner soul) for the whole person (= you); see BDB 600 s.v. 4.a.2.
  9. Proverbs 3:22 tn Heb “for your neck.” Cf. 1:9.
  10. Proverbs 3:23 sn Heb “You will not strike your foot.” What the foot strikes (cf. Ps 91:12 “against a stone”) is omitted but something is implied. This is a figure (hypocatastasis) comparing stumbling on a stone in the path to making serious mistakes in life that bring harm.
  11. Proverbs 3:24 tn The particle אִם (ʾim, “if”) here functions in its rare temporal sense (“when”) followed by an imperfect tense (e.g., Num 36:4; BDB 50 s.v. 1.b.4.b).
  12. Proverbs 3:24 tc The LXX reads “sit down,” presumably from תֵּשֵׁב (teshev) while the MT reads תִּשְׁכַּב (tishkav, “lie down”). Either the LXX translator worked from a text which had lost the כ (kaf) or the MT copyist had a damaged text and restored a verb from the root שָׁכַב (shakav, “to lie down”) based on the following verb. The text restored from the LXX would present a progression from walking (v. 23), to sitting, to lying down: “When you sit down, you will not fear, then you will lie down and your sleep will be pleasant.”
  13. Proverbs 3:24 tn Heb “will not have dread.” The verb פָּחַד (pakhad, “tremble, shake with fear”) describes emotion that is stronger than mere fear—it is dread.
  14. Proverbs 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).
  15. Proverbs 3:25 sn The negative exhortation with the jussive verb אַל־תִּירָא (ʾal tiraʾ, “do not be afraid”) is based in part on the assurances given in vv. 23-24 but is directly tied to v. 26.
  16. Proverbs 3:25 tn Heb “terror of suddenness.” The noun פִּתְאֹם (pitʾom, “sudden”) functions as an attributive genitive: “sudden terror” (e.g., Job 22:10; BDB 837 s.v.).
  17. Proverbs 3:25 tn Heb “terror.” The noun פַּחַד (pakhad, “terror”) is a metonymy of effect for cause (= disaster); see BDB 808 s.v. 2. This is suggested by the parallelism with the noun מִשֹּׁאַת (mishoʾat, “destruction”) in the following colon. The term פַּחַד (“terror”) often refers to the object (or cause) of terror (e.g., Job 3:25; 15:21; 22:10; 31:23; Pss 31:12; 36:2; Isa 24:18; Jer 48:44).
  18. Proverbs 3:25 tn Heb “or the destruction of the wicked when it comes.” The noun רְשָׁעִים (reshaʿim, “wicked ones”) probably functions as an objective genitive (the destruction that comes on the wicked) or a genitive of source (the destruction that the wicked bring on others).
  19. Proverbs 3:26 tn Heb “your confidence” (so NAB, NIV, NRSV) or “at your side.” BDB (492) lists both meanings under one entry for כֶּסֶל (kesel). HALOT (489) sees two homonyms, I כֶּסֶל (“loin, side”) and II כֶּסֶל (“confidence”). The preposition ב (bet) either functions locatively meaning “at your side,” or as a bet essentiae (GKC 379 §119.i, BDB 88 s.v. 7 בְּ; HALOT 104 s.v. 3 בְּ), emphasizing the quality or nature of the noun (but which typically cannot be rendered in English) meaning here “your confidence.” It may then be viewed as a metonymy standing either for the object or the source of your confidence. The Vulgate reads “at your side (latus).” The LXX appears to have read כֹּל מְסִלֹּתֶיךָ (kol mesillotekha, “[over] all your ways.”
  20. Proverbs 3:26 tn The term “foot” functions as a synecdoche, where the part stands for the whole (“your foot” stands for “you”). This device helps build a comparison between a hunter’s snare and calamity that afflicts the wicked.
  21. Proverbs 3:26 tn Heb “from capture,” a figure for the calamity of v. 25.
New English Translation (NET)

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