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13 The poor person and the oppressor[a] have this in common:[b]
the Lord gives light[c] to the eyes of them both.
14 If a king judges the poor in truth,[d]
his throne[e] will be established forever.
15 A rod and reproof[f] impart[g] wisdom,
but a child who is unrestrained[h] brings shame to[i] his mother.[j]

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  1. Proverbs 29:13 tn Heb “a man of oppressions”; KJV “the deceitful man.” The noun תֹּךְ (tokh) means “injury; oppression” (BDB 1067 s.v.). Such men were usually the rich and powerful. The Greek and the Latin versions have “the debtor and creditor.”
  2. Proverbs 29:13 tn The verb פָּגַשׁ (pagash) means “to meet; to encounter.” In the Niphal it means “to meet each other; to meet together” (cf. KJV, ASV). The focus in this passage is on what they share in common.
  3. Proverbs 29:13 sn The expression gives light to the eyes means “gives them sight” (cf. NIV). The expression means that by giving them sight the Lord gives them the light of life (e.g., Job 33:30; Ps 13:3). God creates and controls them all. So in spite of their circumstances in life, all people receive their life from God.
  4. Proverbs 29:14 tn The king must judge “in truth” (בֶּאֱמֶת, beʾemet). Some have interpreted this to mean “faithfully” (KJV, ASV) but that is somewhat unclear. The idea is that the poor must be treated fairly and justly (cf. NIV “with fairness”; NRSV “with equity”); “truth” is that which corresponds to the standard of the law revealed by God. There must be no miscarriage of justice for these people simply because they are poor.
  5. Proverbs 29:14 sn The term “throne” is a metonymy of subject; it represents the dynasty, the reign of this particular king and his descendants. The qualification of the enduring administration is its moral character. The language of this proverb reflects the promise of the Davidic Covenant (e.g., Prov 16:12; 20:28; 25:5; 31:5).
  6. Proverbs 29:15 tn The word “rod” is a metonymy of cause, in which the instrument being used to discipline is mentioned in place of the process of disciplining someone. So the expression refers to the process of discipline that is designed to correct someone. Some understand the words “rod and reproof” to form a hendiadys, meaning “a correcting [or, reproving] rod” (cf. NAB, NIV “the rod of correction”).
  7. Proverbs 29:15 tn Heb “gives” (so NAB).
  8. Proverbs 29:15 tn The form is a Pual participle; the form means “to let loose” (from the meaning “to send”; cf. KJV, NIV “left to himself”), and so in this context “unrestrained.”
  9. Proverbs 29:15 sn The Hebrew participle translated “brings shame” is a metonymy of effect; the cause is the unruly and foolish things that an unrestrained child will do.
  10. Proverbs 29:15 sn The focus on the mother is probably a rhetorical variation for the “parent” (e.g., 17:21; 23:24-25) and is not meant to assume that only the mother will do the training and endure the shame for a case like this (e.g., 13:24; 23:13).

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