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22 The Lord[a] abhors a person who lies,[b]
but those who deal truthfully[c] are his delight.[d]
23 The shrewd person[e] conceals[f] knowledge,
but foolish people[g] proclaim folly.[h]
24 The diligent[i] person[j] will rule,
but the slothful[k] will be put to forced labor.[l]

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  1. Proverbs 12:22 tn Heb “an abomination of the Lord.” The term יְהוָה (yehvah, “the Lord”) is a subjective genitive.
  2. Proverbs 12:22 tn Heb “lips of lying.” The genitive שָׁקֶר (shaqer, “lying”) functions as an attributive genitive: “lying lips.” The term “lips” functions as a synecdoche of part (= lips) for the whole (= person): “a liar.”
  3. Proverbs 12:22 tn Heb “but doers of truthfulness.” The term “truthfulness” is an objective genitive, meaning: “those who practice truth” or “those who act in good faith.” Their words and works are reliable.
  4. Proverbs 12:22 sn The contrast between “delight/pleasure” and “abomination” is emphatic. What pleases the Lord is acting truthfully or faithfully.
  5. Proverbs 12:23 tn Heb “a shrewd man” (so NAB); KJV, NIV “a prudent man”; NRSV “One who is clever.” sn A shrewd person knows how to use knowledge wisely, and restrains himself from revealing all he knows.
  6. Proverbs 12:23 sn The term כֹּסֶה (koseh, “covers; hides”) does not mean that he never shares his knowledge, but discerns when it is and is not appropriate to speak, cf. 10:14; 17:27.
  7. Proverbs 12:23 tn Heb “the mind of fools.” The לֵב (lev, “mind, heart”) is the place of thinking and so it is the both source of what is said and the place of discernment for what to say aloud.
  8. Proverbs 12:23 tn Or “speak out foolishly.” The noun may be a direct object (folly) or an adverbial accusative (foolishly).sn The noun אִוֶּלֶת (ʾivvelet, “foolishness; folly”) is the antithesis of perception and understanding. It is related to the noun אֱוִּיל (ʾevvil, “fool”), one who is morally bad because he despises wisdom and discipline, mocks at guilt, is licentious and quarrelsome, and is almost impossible to rebuke. W. McKane says that the more one speaks, the less he is able to speak effectively (Proverbs [OTL], 422). Cf. TEV “stupid people advertise their ignorance;” NLT “fools broadcast their folly.”
  9. Proverbs 12:24 sn By their diligent work they succeed to management. The diligent rise to the top, while the lazy sink to the bottom.
  10. Proverbs 12:24 tn Heb “the hand of the diligent.” The term “hand” is a synecdoche of part (= hand) for the whole (= person): diligent person. The hand is emphasized because it is the instrument of physical labor; it signifies the actions and the industry of a diligent person—what his hand does.
  11. Proverbs 12:24 tn The term רְמִיָּה (remiyyah) can mean “slack, negligent, deceptive” (HALOT 1243 s.v.). By the feature of ellipsis and double duty we should probably understand it as “the hand of the negligent,” as a way of referring to a negligent person. The term refers to one who is not diligent, who perhaps tries deceive his employer about his work, which he has neglected.
  12. Proverbs 12:24 tn The term מַס (mas) refers to forced or conscripted labor and is sometimes translated as “slave labor” (NIV, cf. NLT “slave”) but it is far from clear that it means slavery (see NIDOTTE 984 s.v.). The term certainly describes imposed work requirements. For Israelites within Israel it is elsewhere used only in connection to conscription to work on royal building projects making it like a form of taxation (forced labor has often been used in world history as taxation instead of money). The precise use of the term here is unclear because of general lack of information, but perhaps the lazy person will not earn enough money to meet obligations and be required to pay via forced labor.