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Proverbs 8:11-21 New English Translation (NET Bible)

11 For wisdom is better than rubies,
and desirable things cannot be compared[a] to her.
12 “I, wisdom, have dwelt[b] with prudence,[c]
and I find[d] knowledge and discretion.
13 The fear of the Lord is to hate[e] evil;
I hate arrogant pride[f] and the evil way
and perverse utterances.[g]
14 Counsel and sound wisdom belong to me;[h]
I possess understanding and might.
15 By me kings reign,
and by me[i] potentates[j] decree[k] righteousness;
16 by me princes rule,
as well as nobles and[l] all righteous judges.[m]
17 I will love[n] those who love me,
and those who seek me diligently will find me.
18 Riches and honor are with me,
long-lasting wealth and righteousness.
19 My fruit is better than the purest gold,[o]
and my harvest[p] is better than choice silver.
20 I walk in the path of righteousness,
in the pathway of justice,
21 that I may cause[q] those who love me to inherit wealth,
and that I may fill[r] their treasuries.[s]


  1. Proverbs 8:11 tn The verb יִשְׁווּ (yishevu, from שָׁוָה, shavah) can be rendered “are not comparable” or with a modal nuance, “cannot be compared” with her.
  2. Proverbs 8:12 tn The verb שָׁכַנְתִּי (shakanti) is a perfect form which should normally be past or perfective. Some of this root’s perfect forms follow stative morphology (though the imperfect forms consistently use the morphology of dynamic verbs). The meanings of some verbs drift across the stative vs. dynamic boundary over time. If interpreted as a stative verb, it would be present tense.
  3. Proverbs 8:12 tn The noun is “shrewdness,” i.e., the right use of knowledge in special cases (see also the discussion in 1:4); cf. NLT “good judgment.” The word in this sentence is an adverbial accusative of specification.
  4. Proverbs 8:12 tn This verb form is an imperfect, showing habitual action.tc It has been reasonably proposed, based on Greek witnesses, that the verb can be read as a Niphal rather than a Qal. The proposal keeps the same consonants for this verb (but reads different vowels), however the Greek implies that the noun “knowledge” should be emended to a participle (requires adding a מ, [mem]). The meaning of this reading is “I reveal myself (or “am found”) making discretion known.
  5. Proverbs 8:13 tn The verb שָׂנֵא (saneʾ) means “to hate.” In this sentence it functions nominally as the predicate. Fearing the Lord is hating evil.sn The verb translated “hate” has the basic idea of rejecting something spontaneously. For example, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (Mal 1:2b, 3a). It frequently has the idea of disliking or loathing (as English does), but almost always with an additional aspect of rejection. To “hate evil” is not only to dislike it, but to reject it and have nothing to do with it.
  6. Proverbs 8:13 tn Since גֵּאָה (geʾah, “pride”) and גָּאוֹן (gaʾon, “arrogance; pride”) are both from the same verbal root גָּאָה (gaʾah, “to rise up”), they should here be interpreted as one idea, forming a nominal hendiadys: “arrogant pride.”
  7. Proverbs 8:13 tn Heb “and a mouth of perverse things.” The word “mouth” is a metonymy of cause for what is said; and the noun תַהְפֻּכוֹת (tahpukhot, “perverse things”) means destructive things (the related verb is used for the overthrowing of Sodom).
  8. Proverbs 8:14 tc In the second half of v. 14 instead of אֲנִי (ʾani) the editors propose reading simply לִי (li) as the renderings in the LXX, Latin, and Syriac suggest. Then, in place of the לִי that comes in the same colon, read וְלִי (veli). While the MT is a difficult reading, it can be translated as it is. It would be difficult to know exactly what the ancient versions were reading, because their translations could have been derived from either text. They represent an effort to smooth out the text.tn Heb “To me [belong] counsel and sound wisdom.” The second colon in the verse has: “I, understanding, to me might.”sn In vv. 14-17 the pronouns come first and should receive greater prominence—although it is not always easy to do this with English.
  9. Proverbs 8:15 tn The words “by me” are understood to apply from the first line through the technique of ellipsis and double duty.
  10. Proverbs 8:15 tn The verb רָזַן (razan) means “to be weighty; to be judicious; to be commanding.” It only occurs in the Qal active participle in the plural as a substantive, meaning “potentates; rulers” (e.g., Ps 1:1-3). Cf. KJV, ASV “princes”; NAB “lawgivers.”
  11. Proverbs 8:15 sn This verb יְחֹקְקוּ (yekhoqequ) is related to the noun חֹק (khoq), which is a “statute; decree.” The verb is defined as “to cut in; to inscribe; to decree” (BDB 349 s.v. חָקַק). The point the verse is making is that when these potentates decree righteousness, it is by wisdom. History records all too often that these rulers acted as fools and opposed righteousness (cf. Ps 2:1-3). But people in power need wisdom to govern the earth (e.g., Isa 11:1-4 which predicts how Messiah will use wisdom to do this very thing). The point is underscored with the paronomasia in v. 15 with “kings” and “will reign” from the same root, and then in v. 16 with both “princes” and “rule” being cognate. The repetition of sounds and meanings strengthens the statements.
  12. Proverbs 8:16 tn The term “and” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for the sake of smoothness and readability.
  13. Proverbs 8:16 tc Many of the MT mss read “sovereigns [princes], all the judges of the earth.” The LXX has “sovereigns…rule the earth.” But the MT manuscript in the text has “judges of righteousness.” C. H. Toy suggests that the Hebrew here has assimilated Ps 148:11 in its construction (Proverbs [ICC], 167). The expression “judges of the earth” is what one would expect, but the more difficult and unexpected reading, the one scribes might change, would be “judges of righteousness.” If that reading stands, then it would probably be interpreted as using an attributive genitive.
  14. Proverbs 8:17 tn The verb אָהֵב (ʾahev, “to love”) is stative, so in the imperfect form it is future tense. It still states a general truth.sn In contrast to the word for “hate” (שָׂנֵא, saneʾ), the verb “love” (אָהֵב, ʾahev) includes within it the idea of choosing spontaneously. So in this line “loving” and “seeking” point out the means of finding wisdom.
  15. Proverbs 8:19 tn The two synonyms, “than gold, than fine gold” probably form a hendiadys here to express “the very finest gold.”
  16. Proverbs 8:19 tn The noun תְּבוּאָה (tevuʾah) means “harvest, yield of crops, produce” and by extension “profit” (HALOT 1679, s.v.). The agricultural imagery is an implied metaphor (hypocatastasis) for the gains that wisdom produces in one’s life.
  17. Proverbs 8:21 tn The infinitive construct expressing the purpose of the preceding “walk” in the way of righteousness. These verses say that wisdom is always on the way of righteousness for the purposes of bestowing the same to those who find her. If sin is involved, then wisdom has not been followed.
  18. Proverbs 8:21 tn Heb “and their treasuries I fill.” The imperfect verb expresses purposive modality because of the parallelism with the infinitive beginning the verse.
  19. Proverbs 8:21 tc The LXX adds at the end of this verse: “If I declare to you the things of daily occurrence, I will remember to recount the things of old.”
New English Translation (NET)

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