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Proverbs 13:17-19 New English Translation (NET Bible)

17 An unreliable[a] messenger falls[b] into trouble,[c]
but a faithful envoy[d] brings[e] healing.
18 The one who neglects[f] discipline ends up in[g] poverty and shame,
but the one who accepts reproof is honored.[h]
19 A desire fulfilled will be sweet[i] to the soul,
but fools abhor[j] turning away from evil.[k]


  1. Proverbs 13:17 tn Heb “bad.”
  2. Proverbs 13:17 tn The RSV changes this to a Hiphil to read, “plunges [men] into trouble.” But the text simply says the wicked messenger “falls into trouble,” perhaps referring to punishment for his bad service.
  3. Proverbs 13:17 tn Or “evil.”
  4. Proverbs 13:17 tn Heb “an envoy of faithfulness.” The genitive אֱמוּנִים (ʾemunim, “faithfulness”) functions as an attributive adjective: “faithful envoy.” The plural form אמונים (literally, “faithfulnesses”) is characteristic of abstract nouns. The term “envoy” (צִיר, tsir) suggests that the person is in some kind of government service (e.g., Isa 18:2; Jer 49:14; cf. KJV, ASV “ambassador”). This individual can be trusted to “bring healing”—be successful in the mission. The wisdom literature of the ancient Near East has much to say about messengers.
  5. Proverbs 13:17 tn The verb “brings” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied by the parallelism; it is supplied in the translation for the sake of smoothness.
  6. Proverbs 13:18 tn The verb III פָּרַע (paraʿ) normally means “to let go; to let alone” and here “to neglect; to avoid; to reject” (BDB 828 s.v.).
  7. Proverbs 13:18 tn The phrase “ends up in” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied by the parallelism; it is supplied in the translation for the sake of smoothness.
  8. Proverbs 13:18 sn Honor and success are contrasted with poverty and shame; the key to enjoying the one and escaping the other is discipline and correction. W. McKane, Proverbs (OTL), 456, notes that it is a difference between a man of weight (power and wealth, from the idea of “heavy” for “honor”) and the man of straw (lowly esteemed and poor).
  9. Proverbs 13:19 tn The verb III עָרַב (ʿarav, “to be sweet”) is stative. The imperfect form of a stative verb should be future tense or modal, not present tense as in most translations.
  10. Proverbs 13:19 tn Heb “an abomination of fools.” The noun כְּסִילִים (kesilim, “fools”) functions as a subjective genitive: “fools hate to turn away from evil” (cf. NAB, TEV, CEV). T. T. Perowne says: “In spite of the sweetness of good desires accomplished, fools will not forsake evil to attain it” (Proverbs, 103). Cf. Prov 13:12; 29:27.
  11. Proverbs 13:19 tn The word רָע (raʿ, “bad”) can refer to evil and is traditionally taken as such in this verse. However, רָע can also refer to something of little worth. Perhaps the verse comments on the fool’s unwillingness to forego what is inferior or to avoid cutting corners and to persevere for what is truly desirable.
New English Translation (NET)

NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2017 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://netbible.com All rights reserved.


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