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Proverbs 10:13-15 New English Translation (NET Bible)

13 Wisdom is found in the words[a] of the discerning person,[b]
but the one who lacks sense[c] will be disciplined.[d]
14 Those who are wise[e] store up[f] knowledge,
but foolish speech[g] leads to imminent[h] destruction.
15 The wealth of a rich person is like[i] a fortified city,[j]
but the poor are brought to ruin[k] by[l] their poverty.


  1. Proverbs 10:13 tn Heb “on the lips” (so NAB, NASB, NRSV). The term “lips” is a metonymy of cause for the words spoken by the lips.
  2. Proverbs 10:13 tn Heb “the one who is discerning.” The term “discerning” describes someone who is critically perceptive and has understanding. He can be relied on to say things that are wise.
  3. Proverbs 10:13 tn Heb “the one lacking of mind.” The term לֵב (lev, “mind, heart”) is used as a metonymy of association for what one does with the mind (i.e., thinking), and so refers to discernment, wisdom, good sense.
  4. Proverbs 10:13 tn Heb “a rod is for the back of the one lacking heart.” The term שֵׁבֶט (shevet, “rod”) functions figuratively: synecdoche of specific (= rod of discipline) for general (= discipline in general). The term גֵּו (gev, “back”) is a synecdoche of part (= back) for the whole (= person as a whole). The back is emphasized because it was the object of physical corporeal discipline. This proverb is not limited in its application to physical corporeal punishment because the consequences of foolishness may come in many forms, physical corporeal discipline being only one form.
  5. Proverbs 10:14 tn Heb “wise men.”
  6. Proverbs 10:14 sn The verb צָפַן (tsafan, “to store up; to treasure”) may mean (1) the wise acquire and do not lose wisdom (cf. NAB, NIV, TEV), or (2) they do not tell all that they know (cf. NCV), that is, they treasure it up for a time when they will need it. The fool, by contrast, talks without thinking.
  7. Proverbs 10:14 tn Heb “the mouth of foolishness”; cf. NRSV, NLT “the babbling of a fool.” The term פֶּה (peh, “mouth”) functions as a metonymy of cause for speech. The genitive אֶוִיל (ʾevil, “foolishness”) functions as an attributive adjective: “a foolish mouth” = foolish speech.
  8. Proverbs 10:14 tn Heb “near destruction.” The words of the fool that are uttered without wise forethought may invite imminent ruin (e.g., James 3:13-18). See also Ptah-hotep and Amenemope in ANET 414 and 423.
  9. Proverbs 10:15 tn Heb “is.” This expression, “a rich man’s wealth is his strong city,” is a metaphor. The comparative particle “like” is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity and smoothness.
  10. Proverbs 10:15 tn Heb “a city of his strength.” The genitive עֹז (ʿoz, “strength”) functions as an attributive genitive: “strong city” = “fortified city.” This phrase is a metaphor; wealth protects its possessors against adversity like a fortified city. Such wealth must be attained by diligence and righteous means (e.g., 13:8; 18:23; 22:7).
  11. Proverbs 10:15 tn Heb “the ruin of the poor.” The term דַּלִּים (dallim, “of the poor”) functions as an objective genitive. Poverty leads to the ruin of the poor. The term “ruin” includes the shambles in which the person lives. This provides no security but only the fear of ruin. This proverb is an observation on life.
  12. Proverbs 10:15 tn Heb “is their poverty.”
New English Translation (NET)

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