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Proverbs 12:11-13 New English Translation (NET Bible)

11 The one who works[a] his field will have plenty[b] of food,
but whoever chases daydreams[c] lacks sense.[d]
12 The wicked person has desired[e] the stronghold[f] of the wicked,
but the root of the righteous will yield fruit.[g]
13 The evil person is ensnared[h] by the transgression of his speech,[i]
but the righteous person escapes out of trouble.[j]


  1. Proverbs 12:11 sn In the biblical period agriculture was the most common occupation for the people; so “working a field” describes a substantial occupation, but also represents working in general. Diligent work, not get-rich-quick schemes, is the key to ensuring income.
  2. Proverbs 12:11 tn Heb “will have his fill of” or “will be satisfied with.”
  3. Proverbs 12:11 tn Heb “empty things” or “vain things.” The term רֵיקִים (reqim) refers to worthless pursuits in an effort to make money. The fact that the participle used is “chase after” shows how elusive these are. Cf. NIV “fantasies”; NCV “empty dreams”; TEV “useless projects.”
  4. Proverbs 12:11 tn Heb “lacking of mind.” The term לֵב (lev, “mind, heart”) refers by metonymy to thinking, and by extension to discernment, wisdom, good sense.
  5. Proverbs 12:12 sn The contrast includes a contrast of verb forms, here the perfect verb “has desired,” next the imperfect verb “will yield [fruit].” The perfect verb leaves the wicked at the point of desire for a goal. He or she has [only] desired, but there is no implication of achievement. In contrast the righteous are described not in terms of their goal or desire, but their root, implying their foundation or character. Their focus is different but their root will yield fruit or be productive.
  6. Proverbs 12:12 tn This line is difficult to interpret. BDB connects the term מְצוֹד (metsod) to II מָצוֹד which means (1) “snare; hunting-net” and (2) what is caught: “prey” (BDB 844-45 s.v. II מָצוֹד). This would function as a metonymy of cause for what the net catches: the prey. Or it may be saying that the wicked get caught in their own net, that is, reap the consequences of their own sins. On the other hand, HALOT 622 connects מְצוֹד (metsod) to II מְצוּדָה (metsudah, “mountain stronghold”; cf. NAB “the stronghold of evil men will be demolished”). The LXX translated it as: “The desires of the wicked are evil.” The Syriac has: “The wicked desire to do evil.” The Latin expands it: “The desire of the wicked is a defense of the worst [things, or persons].” C. H. Toy suggests emending the text to read “wickedness is the net of bad men” (Proverbs [ICC], 250).
  7. Proverbs 12:12 tc The MT reads יִתֵּן (yitten, “will give; gives,” without a direct object: “the root of the righteous gives.” The LXX reads “the root of the righteous endures” (cf. NAB). This suggests a Hebrew Vorlage of אֵיתָן (ʾetan, “constant; continual”; HALOT 44-45 s.v. I אֵיתָן 2) which would involve the omission of א (ʾalef) in the MT.tn Heb “will give/yield.” The verb נָתַן (natan) is used elsewhere in the phrase to “produce fruit” (e.g. Lev 25:19 of the land; Zech 8:12 of the vine). Yielding fruit can be a natural implication of healthy roots (cf. Ps. 1:3; Isa 11:1; Jer 12:2). The sage has probably left out specific mention of the word “fruit” to heighten the contrast between desiring a goal and receiving a result which is the byproduct of good character. However the omission may imply a text critical problem.
  8. Proverbs 12:13 tc MT reads the noun מוֹקֵשׁ (moqesh, “bait; lure”). The LXX, Syriac and Tg. Prov 12:13 took it as a passive participle (“is ensnared”). The MT is the more difficult reading and so is preferred. The versions appear to be trying to clarify a difficult reading. tn Heb “snare of a man.” The word “snare” is the figurative meaning of the noun מוֹקֵשׁ (“bait; lure” from יָקַשׁ [yaqash, “to lay a bait, or lure”]).
  9. Proverbs 12:13 tn Heb “transgression of the lips.” The noun “lips” is a genitive of specification and it functions as a metonymy of cause for speech: sinful talk or sinning by talking. J. H. Greenstone suggests that this refers to litigation; the wicked attempt to involve the innocent (Proverbs, 131).
  10. Proverbs 12:13 sn J. H. Greenstone suggests that when the wicked become involved in contradictions of testimony, the innocent is freed from the trouble. Another meaning would be that the wicked get themselves trapped by what they say, but the righteous avoid that (Proverbs, 131).
New English Translation (NET)

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