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The one who turns away his ear[a] from hearing the law,
even his prayer[b] is an abomination.[c]
10 The one who leads the upright astray in an evil way
will himself fall into his own pit,[d]
but the blameless will inherit what is good.[e]
11 A rich person[f] is wise in his own opinion,[g]
but a discerning poor person can evaluate him properly.[h]

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  1. Proverbs 28:9 sn The expression “turn away the ear from hearing” uses a metonymy to mean that this individual will not listen—it indicates a deliberate refusal to follow the instruction of the law.
  2. Proverbs 28:9 sn It is hard to imagine how someone who willfully refuses to obey the law of God would pray according to the will of God. Such a person is more apt to pray for some physical thing or make demands on God. (Of course a prayer of repentance would be an exception and would not be an abomination to the Lord.)
  3. Proverbs 28:9 sn C. H. Toy says, “If a man, on his part, is deaf to instruction, then God, on his part, is deaf to prayer” (Proverbs [ICC], 499). And W. McKane observes that one who fails to attend to God’s law is a wicked person, even if he is a man of prayer (Proverbs [OTL], 623).
  4. Proverbs 28:10 sn The image of falling into a pit (a figure of speech known as hypocatastasis, involving implied comparison) is meant to say that the evil to which he guides people will ultimately destroy him.
  5. Proverbs 28:10 sn This proverb is teaching that those who corrupt others will be destroyed, usually by their own devices, but those who manage to avoid being corrupted will be rewarded. According to this proverb the righteous can be led astray (e.g., 26:27).
  6. Proverbs 28:11 tn Heb “a rich man,” although the context does not indicate that this is limited only to males.
  7. Proverbs 28:11 sn The idiom “in his own eyes” means “in his own opinion,” that is, his self conceit. The rich person thinks he is wise because he is rich, that he has made all the right choices.
  8. Proverbs 28:11 tn The form יַחְקְרֶנּוּ (yakhqerennu) means “he searches him” (cf. KJV, ASV) or “he examines him”; a potential imperfect nuance fits well here to indicate that a discerning person, even though poor, can search the flaws of the rich and see through the pretension and the false assumptions (cf. NAB, NASB, NIV “sees through him”). Several commentators have connected the word to the Arabic root hqr, which means “despise” (D. W. Thomas, “Notes on Some Passages in the Book of Proverbs,” JTS 38 [1937]: 400-403), but that would be both predictable and flat.