New English Translation
11 The Lord abhors[a] dishonest scales,[b]
but an accurate weight[c] is his delight.
2 After pride[d] came,[e] disgrace followed;[f]
but wisdom came[g] with humility.[h]
3 The integrity of the upright guides them,[i]
but the crookedness of the treacherous[j] destroys them.[k]
4 Wealth does not profit in the day of wrath,[l]
but righteousness delivers from death.
5 The righteousness of the blameless will make their way smooth,[m]
but the wicked will fall through their own wickedness.[n]
6 The righteousness of the upright will deliver them,[o]
but the treacherous will be ensnared[p] by their own desires.[q]
7 When a wicked person dies, his[r] expectation perishes,[s]
and hope based on power[t] has perished.[u]
8 A righteous person was delivered[v] out of trouble,
then a wicked person took his place.[w]
9 With his speech[x] the godless person[y] destroys[z] his neighbor,
but by knowledge[aa] the righteous will be delivered.
10 When the righteous do well,[ab] the city rejoices;[ac]
when the wicked perish, there is joy.
11 A city is exalted by the blessing provided from[ad] the upright,
but it is destroyed by the counsel[ae] of the wicked.[af]
12 The one who denounces[ag] his neighbor lacks sense,[ah]
but a discerning person[ai] keeps silent.[aj]
13 The one who goes about slandering others[ak] reveals[al] secrets,
but the one who is trustworthy[am] conceals a matter.
14 When there is no guidance[an] a nation falls,
but there is success[ao] in the abundance of counselors.
15 The one who has put up security for a stranger[ap] will surely have trouble,[aq]
but whoever avoids[ar] shaking hands[as] is secure.[at]
16 A generous woman[au] gains honor,
and ruthless men[av] seize wealth.[aw]
17 A kind person[ax] benefits[ay] himself,[az]
but a cruel person brings himself trouble.[ba]
18 The wicked person[bb] earns[bc] deceitful wages,[bd]
but the one who sows[be] righteousness reaps[bf] a genuine[bg] reward.[bh]
19 True[bi] righteousness leads to[bj] life,
but the one who pursues evil pursues it[bk] to his own death.[bl]
20 The Lord abhors[bm] those who are perverse in heart,[bn]
but those who are blameless in their ways[bo] are his delight.[bp]
21 Be assured that[bq] the evil person will not be unpunished,[br]
but the descendants of the righteous[bs] have escaped harm.[bt]
22 Like[bu] a gold ring in a pig’s snout
is a beautiful woman who rejects[bv] discretion.[bw]
23 The desire of the righteous is only good,
but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.[bx]
24 One person is generous[by] and yet grows more wealthy,[bz]
but another withholds more than he should[ca] and comes to poverty.[cb]
25 A generous person[cc] will be enriched,[cd]
and the one who provides water[ce] for others[cf] will himself be satisfied.[cg]
26 People will curse[ch] the one who withholds grain,[ci]
but they will praise[cj] the one who sells it.[ck]
27 The one who diligently seeks[cl] good seeks favor,
but the one who searches for[cm] evil—it will come to him.[cn]
28 The one who trusts in his riches will fall,
but the righteous[co] will flourish like a green leaf.[cp]
29 The one who troubles[cq] his family[cr] will inherit nothing,[cs]
and the fool[ct] will be a servant to the wise person.[cu]
30 The fruit of the righteous is like[cv] a tree producing life,[cw]
and the one who wins souls[cx] is wise.[cy]
31 If the righteous are recompensed on earth,[cz]
how much more[da] the wicked sinner![db]
- Proverbs 11:1 tn Heb “an abomination of the Lord.” The term יְהוָה (yehvah, “the Lord”) is a subjective genitive.
- Proverbs 11:1 tn Heb “scales of deception.” The genitive is attributive: “deceptive scales.” This refers to dishonesty in the market where silver was weighed in the scales. God condemns dishonest business practices (Deut 25:13-16; Lev 19:35-36), as did the ancient Near East (ANET 388, 423).
- Proverbs 11:1 tn Heb “a perfect stone.” שָׁלֵם (shalem) can mean “intact, whole, perfect.” Stones were used for measuring amounts of silver on the scales and so were critical to the integrity of economic translations. Someone might cheat by tampering with the scale or the stones. The Lord is pleased with a proper stone that has not been tampered with because it represents integrity of process in the marketplace.
- Proverbs 11:2 tn Heb “presumptuousness, over-confidence.” This term is from the root זִיד (zid) which means “to be presumptuous, arrogant, impudent” in the Qal, or to behave with such characteristics in the Hiphil.
- Proverbs 11:2 tn Heb “Pride came, then shame came.” The verbs are a perfect and a preterite with vav consecutive of בּוֹא (boʾ, “to enter; to come”). Because the second verb is sequential to the first, the first may be subordinated as a temporal clause. Proverbs in Hebrew utilize the past tense as a prototypical example. English also does so, although less frequently, as in “curiosity killed the cat.”
- Proverbs 11:2 sn This proverb does not state how the disgrace will come, but affirms that it will follow pride. The proud will be brought down.
- Proverbs 11:2 tn The term “came” does not appear in the Hebrew, but is supplied in the translation from parallelism.
- Proverbs 11:2 tn Heb “modesty”; KJV, ASV “the lowly.” The adjective צְנוּעִים (tsenuʿim, “modest”) is used as a noun; this is an example of antimeria in which one part of speech is used in the place of another (see E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 491-506), e.g., “Let the dry [adjective] appear!” = dry land (Gen 1:9). The root צָנַע (tsanaʿ, “to be modest; to be humble”) describes those who are reserved, retiring, modest. The plural form is used for the abstract idea of humility.
- Proverbs 11:3 sn This contrasts two lifestyles, affirming the value of integrity. The upright live with integrity—blamelessness—and that integrity leads them in success and happiness. Those who use treachery will be destroyed by it.
- Proverbs 11:3 tn The verb בָּגַד (bagad) means “to act treacherously, with duplicity, or to betray.”
- Proverbs 11:3 tc The form is a Kethib/Qere reading. The Qere, יְשָׁדֵּם (yeshoddem), is a Qal imperfect of שָׁדַד (shadad, “to devastate”) and is supported by the versions. The syntactically difficult Kethib, וְשַׁדָּם (veshaddam), is a Qal perfect consecutive prefixed with the conjunction vav.
- Proverbs 11:4 sn The “day of wrath” refers to divine punishment in this life (R. N. Whybray, Proverbs [CBC], 67; e.g., also Job 21:30; Ezek 7:19; Zeph 1:18). Righteousness and not wealth is more valuable in anticipating judgment.
- Proverbs 11:5 tn The Piel form of the verb יָשַׁר (yashar) means “to make straight, smooth or easy.” The concrete image is about making a road level and smooth; it represents an easier way of life. It does not mean an easy life in all respects, but means that integrity removes some obstacles and hardships in life, and integrity is the right choice for how to live.
- Proverbs 11:5 sn The wicked may think that they can make their way through life easier by their wickedness, but instead it will at some point bring them down.tn The masculine singular pronouns have been replaces with third person plural pronouns for the sake of style.
- Proverbs 11:6 sn The contrast is between being rescued or delivered (נָצַל, natsal) and being captured (לָכַד, lakhad). Righteousness is freeing; [evil] desires are enslaving.
- Proverbs 11:6 tn The verb לָכַד (lakhad) means “to capture, trap, overpower.” Here it is passive; cf. NIV, TEV “are trapped,” NASB, NKJV “caught,” ESV, NRSV “taken captive.”
- Proverbs 11:6 tc The Hebrew text has the singular construct form וּבְהַוַּת (uvehavvat) which may be from I הַוָּה (havvah, “desire of”) or II הַוָּה (havvah, “disaster of, destruction of”). The line would read “but in the desire of…” (cf. NLT “the ambition of… entraps them”) or “but in the disaster of the treacherous they will be caught.” The BHS editors propose repointing the word to the plural absolute form וּבְהַוֹּת (uvehavvot) resulting in “the treacherous will be ensnared in [their] desires” or “the treacherous will be caught in disasters.” The LXX has a singular form, but it does not represent a Hebrew construct form and not necessarily the same word as the MT: “ungodliness will fall into [the hands of] unrighteousness” or “encounters injustice.”
- Proverbs 11:7 tc The LXX alters the proverb to speak first of the righteous: “When the righteous dies, hope does not perish; but the boasting by the ungodly perishes.” The spirit of the saying is similar to the Hebrew. Perhaps the LXX translators wanted to see the hope of the righteous fulfilled in the world to come. However, they may have tried to address the conceptual problem that arises from a literal reading of the Hebrew, “when a wicked person dies, hope perishes.” The LXX has “hope does not perish.” If the Hebrew text they used read “not,” they may have inferred that the proverb should talk about the righteous. If a “not” were restored to the Hebrew, it would then contrast true hope from hope in power: “When a wicked person dies, hope (itself) does not perish; but expectation based on power has perished.” But note that the LXX text of Proverbs is generally loose as a translation and sometimes has apparent substitutions.tn The pronoun “his” does not occur in the Hebrew text, but has been added to help make sense of the Masoretic text.
- Proverbs 11:7 tn The imperfect verb can be present or future tense. It states a general truth which typically occurs in the given circumstances. sn The subject of this proverb is the hope of the wicked. His expectations die with him (Ps 49). Any hope for long life and success borne of wickedness will be disappointed.
- Proverbs 11:7 tc There are several suggested changes for this word אוֹנִים (ʾonim, “vigor” or “strength”). Rashi, a Jewish scholar who lived a.d. 1040-1105, suggests that the word refers to children, a meaning implied from Gen 49:3. This would mean that even his children would not benefit from his wickedness. Tg. Prov 11:7 rendered it “who practice crookedness,” deriving it from a root which means “wickedness.” A similarly spelled word אָוֶן (ʾaven) and a similarly sounding word עָוֹן (ʿavon) can each refer to sin or wickedness. However the first does not occur in the plural and the second is feminine, no neither are likely to stand behind this masculine plural noun.tn Heb “the hope of strength,” meaning hope based on power, is a genitive of cause or source.
- Proverbs 11:7 tn The use of the Hebrew perfect verb as a perfective, showing the continuing results of an event in the past, emphasizes the finality of the situation. The hope associated with the wicked person is now gone.
- Proverbs 11:8 tn The verb is the Niphal perfect from the first root חָלַץ (khalats), meaning “to draw off; to withdraw,” and hence “to be delivered.” The saying uses a perfect verb for past time followed by a preterite with vav consecutive. In so doing, the perspective of the proverb is that of a sage telling the student of a situation which has happened, and is prototypical of what will happen again.
- Proverbs 11:8 tn Heb “The wicked came [= arrived] in his place,” meaning the place of trouble that the righteous was delivered from. Cf. NASB “the wicked takes his place”; NRSV “the wicked get into it instead”; NIV “it comes on the wicked instead.” The verb is a preterite with vav consecutive and should be past time. On the one hand the sage has seen this take place and the student should expect it to happen again. From another angle, the proverb says that the trouble, which a righteous person appears to be headed for, could actually be prepared for the wicked.
- Proverbs 11:9 tn Heb “with his mouth.” The term פֶּה (peh, “mouth”) functions as a metonymy of cause for speech.
- Proverbs 11:9 sn The Hebrew word originally meant “impious, godless, polluted, profane.” It later developed the idea of a “hypocrite” (Dan 11:32), one who conceals his evil under the appearance of godliness or kindness. This one is a false flatterer.
- Proverbs 11:9 sn The verb שָׁחַת (shakhat) means “to destroy; to ruin” (e.g., the destruction of Sodom in Gen 13:10). The imperfect tense is probably not an habitual imperfect (because the second colon shows exceptions), but probably a progressive imperfect (“this goes on”) or potential imperfect (“they can do this”).
- Proverbs 11:9 sn The antithetical proverb states that a righteous person can escape devastating slander through knowledge. The righteous will have sufficient knowledge and perception to see through the hypocrisy and avoid its effect.
- Proverbs 11:10 tn The text has “in the good [בְּטוֹב, betov] of the righteous,” meaning when they do well, when they prosper. Cf. NCV, NLT “succeed”; TEV “have good fortune.”
- Proverbs 11:10 sn The verb תַּעֲלֹץ (taʿalots, “to rejoice; to exult”) is paralleled with the noun רִנָּה (rinnah, “ringing cry”). The descriptions are hyperbolic, except when the person who dies is one who afflicted society (e.g., 2 Kgs 11:20; Esth 8:15). D. Kidner says, “However drab the world makes out virtue to be, it appreciates the boon of it in public life” (Proverbs [TOTC], 91).
- Proverbs 11:11 tn Heb “the blessing of the upright.” This expression features either an objective or subjective genitive. It may refer to the blessing God gives the upright (which will benefit society) or the blessing that the upright are to the city. The latter fits the parallelism best: The blessings are the beneficent words and deeds that the righteous perform.
- Proverbs 11:11 tn Heb “mouth.” The term פֶּה (peh, “mouth”) functions as a metonymy of cause for counsel, as the parallelism suggests.
- Proverbs 11:11 sn What the wicked say has a disastrous effect on society, endangering, weakening, demoralizing, and perverting with malicious and slanderous words. Wicked leaders, in particular, can bring destruction on a city by their evil counsel.
- Proverbs 11:12 tn Heb “despises” (so NASB) or “belittles” (so NRSV). The participle בָּז (baz, from בּוּז, buz) means “to despise; to show contempt for” someone. It reflects an attitude of pride and judgmentalism. In view of the parallel line, in this situation it would reflect perhaps some public denunciation of another person.sn According to Proverbs (and the Bible as a whole) how one treats a neighbor is an important part of righteousness. One was expected to be a good neighbor, and to protect and safeguard the life and reputation of a neighbor.
- Proverbs 11:12 tn Heb “lacking of mind.” The term לֵב (lev, “mind, heart”) refers by metonymy to what one does with the mind (i.e., thinking), and so refers to discernment, wisdom, good sense.
- Proverbs 11:12 tn Heb “a man of discernment.”
- Proverbs 11:12 sn The verb translated “keeps silence” (יַחֲרִישׁ, yakharish) means “holds his peace.” Rather than publicly denouncing another person’s mistake or folly, a wise person will keep quiet about it (e.g., 1 Sam 10:27). A discerning person realizes that the neighbor may become an opponent and someday retaliate.
- Proverbs 11:13 tn Heb “going about in slander.” This expression refers to a slanderer. The noun means “slander” and so “tale-bearer” (so KJV, ASV, NASB), “informer.” The related verb (רָכַל, rakhal) means “to go about” from one person to another, either for trade or for gossip.
- Proverbs 11:13 tn The participle מְגַלֶּה (megalleh) means “uncovering” or “revealing” secrets.sn This is the intent of a person who makes disparaging comments about others—he cannot wait to share secrets that should be kept.
- Proverbs 11:13 tn Heb “faithful of spirit.” This phrase describes the inner nature of the person as faithful and trustworthy. This individual will not rush out to tell whatever information he has heard, but will conceal it.
- Proverbs 11:14 tn The word תַּחְבֻּלוֹת (takhbulot, “guidance; direction”) is derived from the root I חָבַל (khaval, “rope-pulling” and “steering” or “directing” a ship; BDB 286 s.v.). Thus spiritual guidance is like steering a ship, here the ship of state (R. N. Whybray, Proverbs [CBC], 68; Prov 1:5). Advice is necessary for the success of a nation.
- Proverbs 11:14 tn Heb “victory.” This term תְּשׁוּעָה (teshuʿah) means “salvation” or “victory” (BDB 448 s.v.); cf. NAB, TEV “security”; NRSV, NLT “safety.” Here, it connotes “success” as the antithesis of the nation falling. The setting could be one of battle or economics. Victory or success will be more likely with good advice. This assumes that the counselors are wise.
- Proverbs 11:15 sn The “stranger” could refer to a person from another country or culture, as it often does, but it could also refer to an unknown Israelite, with the idea that the individual stands outside the known and respectable community.
- Proverbs 11:15 tn The sentence begins with the Niphal imperfect and the cognate (רַע־יֵרוֹעַ, raʿ yeroaʿ), stressing that whoever does this “will certainly suffer hurt.” The hurt in this case will be financial responsibility for a bad risk.
- Proverbs 11:15 tn Heb “hates.” The term שֹׂנֵא (soneʾ) means “to reject,” and here “to avoid.” The participle is substantival, functioning as the subject of the clause. The next participle, תֹקְעִים (toqeʿim, “striking hands”), is its object, telling what is hated. The third participle בּוֹטֵחַ (boteach, “is secure”) functions verbally.
- Proverbs 11:15 tn Heb “striking.” The term “hands” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied. The imagery here is shaking hands to seal a contract. It does not refer to greeting people with a handshake or exclude all business agreements.
- Proverbs 11:15 tn The participle בּוֹטֵחַ (boteakh) means to “be secure, confident, safe, or care free.” In this verse it applies specifically to the issue of putting up security for another, not all the rest of life. A person who avoids this bad decision has no worries about its consequences.
- Proverbs 11:16 tn Heb “a woman of grace.” The genitive חֵן (khen, “grace”) functions as an attributive adjective. The contrast is between “a gracious woman” (אֵשֶׁת־חֵן, ʾeshet khen), a woman who is not only graceful but generous, and “powerful men,” a term usually having a bad sense, such as tyrants or ruthless men.
- Proverbs 11:16 tn Heb “those who are terrifying.” The term עָרִיץ (ʿarits) refers to a person who strikes terror into the hearts of his victims. The term refers to a ruthless person who uses violence to overcome his victims (BDB 792 s.v.). Cf. ASV, NASB, NLT “violent men”; NRSV “the aggressive.”
- Proverbs 11:16 tc The LXX adds: “She who hates virtue makes a throne for dishonor; the idle will be destitute of means.” This reading is followed by several English versions (e.g., NAB, NEB, NRSV, TEV). C. H. Toy concludes that MT provides remnants of the original, but that the LXX does not provide the full meaning (Proverbs [ICC], 229).sn The implication is that the ruthless men will obtain wealth without honor, and therefore this is not viewed as success by the writer.
- Proverbs 11:17 tn Heb “man of kindness,” “of loyalty,” or “of loyal love.”sn This contrasts the “kind person” and the “cruel person” (one who is fierce, cruel), showing the consequences of their dispositions.
- Proverbs 11:17 tn The term גֹּמֶל (gomel) means “to deal fully [or “adequately”] with” someone or something. The kind person will benefit himself.
- Proverbs 11:17 tn Heb “his own soul.” The term נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, “soul”) is used as a synecdoche of part (= soul) for the whole (= person): “himself” (BDB 660 s.v. 4).
- Proverbs 11:17 tn Heb “brings trouble to his flesh.”sn There may be a conscious effort by the sage to contrast “soul” and “body”: He contrasts the benefits of kindness for the “soul” (translated “himself”) with the trouble that comes to the “flesh/body” (translated “himself”) of the cruel.
- Proverbs 11:18 tn The form is the masculine singular adjective used as a substantive.
- Proverbs 11:18 tn Heb “makes” (so NAB).
- Proverbs 11:18 tn Heb “wages of deception.”sn Whatever recompense or reward the wicked receive will not last, hence, it is deceptive (R. B. Y. Scott, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes [AB], 88).
- Proverbs 11:18 sn The participle “sowing” provides an implied comparison (the figure is known as hypocatastasis) with the point of practicing righteousness and inspiring others to do the same. What is sown will yield fruit (1 Cor 9:11; 2 Cor 9:6; Jas 3:18).
- Proverbs 11:18 tn The term “reaps” does not appear in the Hebrew but has been supplied in the translation from context for the sake of smoothness.
- Proverbs 11:18 tn Heb “true” (so NASB, NRSV); KJV, NAB, NIV “sure.”
- Proverbs 11:18 sn A wordplay (paronomasia) occurs between “deceptive” (שָׁקֶר, shaqer) and “reward” (שֶׂכֶר, sekher), underscoring the contrast by the repetition of sounds. The wages of the wicked are deceptive; the reward of the righteous is sure.
- Proverbs 11:19 tn Heb “the veritable of righteousness.” The adjective כֵּן (ken, “right; honest; veritable”) functions substantivally as an attributive genitive, meaning “veritable righteousness” = true righteousness (BDB 467 s.v. 2; HALOT 482 s.v. I כֵּן 2.b). One medieval Hebrew ms, LXX, and Syriac read בֵּן (ben), “son of righteousness.” That idiom, however, usually introduces bad qualities (“son of worthlessness”). Others interpret it as “righteousness is the foundation of life.” KB identifies the form as a participle and reads it as “steadfast in righteousness,” but the verb does not otherwise exist in the Qal. W. McKane reads it as כָּן (kan, from כּוּן, kun) and translates it “strive after” life (Proverbs [OTL], 435).
- Proverbs 11:19 tn Heb “is to life.” The expression “leads to” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but the idiom implies it; it is supplied in the translation for smoothness.
- Proverbs 11:19 tn The phrase “pursues it” does not appear in the Hebrew but has been supplied in the translation from context.
- Proverbs 11:19 sn “Life” and “death” describe the vicissitudes of this life but can also refer to the situation beyond the grave. The two paths head in opposite directions.
- Proverbs 11:20 tn Heb “an abomination of the Lord.” The term יְהוָה (yehvah, “the Lord”) functions as a subjective genitive. Cf. NIV “detests”; NCV, TEV, CEV, NLT “hates.”
- Proverbs 11:20 sn The word עִקְּשֵׁי (ʿiqqeshe, “crooked; twisted; perverted”) describes the wicked as having “twisted minds.” Their mentality is turned toward evil things.
- Proverbs 11:20 tn Heb “those who are blameless of way.” The noun דֶּרֶךְ (derekh, “way”) is a genitive of specification: “blameless in their way.”
- Proverbs 11:20 sn The noun means “goodwill, favor, acceptance, will”; it is related to the verb רָצַה (ratsah) which means “to be pleased with; to accept favorably.” These words are used frequently in scripture to describe what pleases the Lord, meaning, what he accepts. In particular, sacrifices offered properly find acceptance with God (Ps 51:19). Here the lifestyle that is blameless pleases him.
- Proverbs 11:21 tn The expression “hand to hand” refers the custom of striking hands to confirm an agreement (M. Anbar, “Proverbes 11:21; 16:15; יד ליד, «sur le champ»,” Bib 53 : 537-38). Tg. Prov 11:21 interprets it differently: “he who lifts up his hand against his neighbor will not go unpunished.”
- Proverbs 11:21 tn Heb The verb נָקָה (naqah) means “to be clean; to be empty.” In the Niphal it means “to be free of guilt; to be clean; to be innocent,” and therefore “to be exempt from punishment” (BDB 667 s.v. Niph). The phrase “will not go unpunished” (cf. NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV) is an example of tapeinosis (a negative statement that emphasizes the positive opposite statement): “will certainly be punished” (cf. TEV, CEV, NLT).
- Proverbs 11:21 tn Heb “the seed of the righteous.” This is an idiom that describes a class of people who share the nature of righteousness (e.g., Isa 1:4; 65:23). The word “seed” (hypocatastasis) means “offspring.” Some take it literally, as if it meant that the children of the righteous will escape judgment (Saadia, a Jewish scholar who lived a.d. 882-942). The LXX translates it in a different sense: “he that sows righteousness will receive a faithful reward.”
- Proverbs 11:21 tn The verb נִמְלָט (nimlat) is a Niphal, which usually has a reflexive meaning “to escape,” but can also have a passive meaning “to be delivered.” By implication the person escapes from harm, whether the threat of harm or the harmful situation he or she is already in. The verb form could be either a perfect or a participle (because the pausal accent makes them look identical). The perfect means “have escaped/been delivered,” while the participle would be present tense, “escape/are delivered.”sn This proverb uses antithetic parallelism, presenting opposite people with opposite outcomes described by opposite verb forms. In contrast to how things may look at the moment, the sage assures the student about the future of the wicked using the imperfect verb. They may look like they are getting away free, but in the end they will not. On the other hand, using the perfect verb, he assures the student of the benefit that he has seen for the righteous—they have escaped. This is something that really has occurred and is prototypical of what can be expected. Further, by contrasting the evil person with the descendants of the righteous, the sage expands the range of benefit received from righteous living.
- Proverbs 11:22 tn The proverb makes a comparison by means of a verbless clause; the words “like… is…” are added in English for the sake of style.
- Proverbs 11:22 tn Heb “turns away [from].”
- Proverbs 11:22 tn Heb “taste.” The term can refer to physical taste (Exod 16:31), intellectual discretion (1 Sam 25:33), or ethical judgment (Ps 119:66). Here it probably means that she has no moral sensibility, no propriety, no good taste.sn By means of the parallelism, one who rejects discretion is like a swine. If that person has beauty, its value is wasted on and overshadowed by their “piggishness.”
- Proverbs 11:23 tc The MT reads עֶבְרָה (ʿevrah, “wrath”) implying that whatever the wicked hope it turns out that they receive wrath. The LXX reads ἀπολεῖται (apoleitai, “will perish”) which might reflect an underlying Hebrew of אָבְדָה (ʾavedah) “it has perished,” which is also attested in at least one Medieval manuscript. The difference involves two letters similar in sound, א and ע (ʾaleph and ʿayin), and two similar in appearance, ד and ר (dalet and resh). This would be similar to Prov 10:28, which uses the imperfect of the same root, “the expectation of the wicked perishes.”
- Proverbs 11:24 tn Heb “There is one who scatters.” The participle מְפַזֵּר (mefazzer, “one who scatters”) refers to charity rather than farming or investments (and is thus a hypocatastasis). Cf. CEV “become rich by being generous.”
- Proverbs 11:24 tn Heb “increases.” The verb means that he grows even more wealthy. This is a paradox: Generosity determines prosperity in God’s economy.
- Proverbs 11:24 tn Heb “more than what is right.” This one is not giving enough, but saving for himself.
- Proverbs 11:24 tn Heb “comes to lack.” The person who withholds will come to the diminishing of his wealth. The verse uses hyperbole to teach that giving to charity does not make anyone poor, and neither does refusal to give ensure prosperity.
- Proverbs 11:25 tn Heb “the soul of blessing.” The genitive functions attributively. “Blessing” refers to a gift (Gen 33:11) or a special favor (Josh 15:19). The term נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, “soul”) functions as a synecdoche of part (= soul) for the whole (= person); see BDB 660 s.v. 4.
- Proverbs 11:25 tn Heb “will grow fat.” Drawing on the standard comparison of fatness and abundance (Deut 32:15), the term means “become rich, prosperous.”
- Proverbs 11:25 tn The verb מַרְוֶה (marveh, “to be saturated; to drink one’s fill”) draws a comparison between providing water for others with providing for those in need (e.g., Jer 31:25; Lam 3:15). The kind act will be reciprocated.
- Proverbs 11:25 tn The phrase “for others” does not appear in the Hebrew but is implied by the causative Hiphil verb which normally takes a direct object; it is elided in the Hebrew for the sake of emphasis. It is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity and smoothness.
- Proverbs 11:25 tn This verb also means “to pour water,” and so continues the theme of the preceding participle: The one who gives refreshment to others will be refreshed. BDB 924 s.v. רָוָה lists the form יוֹרֶא (yoreʾ) as a Hophal imperfect of רָוָה (ravah) and translates it “will himself also be watered” (cf. KJV, ASV, NASB). HALOT notes that some manuscripts have יוֹרֶה (yoreh) and treats it as “an alternate form of I רָוָה” (see HALOT 436 s.v. II ירה). The editors of BHS cite the Syriac evidence and suggest the line should read “the one who curses will be cursed,” taking the verbs as forms of אָרַר (ʾarar, “to curse”).
- Proverbs 11:26 tn The direct object suffix on the verb picks up on the emphatic absolute phrase: “they will curse him—the one who withholds grain.”
- Proverbs 11:26 sn The proverb refers to a merchant who holds back his grain from the free market to raise prices when there is a great need for the produce. It is assumed that merchants are supposed to have a social conscience.
- Proverbs 11:26 tn Heb “but a blessing is for the head of the one who sells.” The parallelism with “curse” suggests that בְּרָכָה (berakhah) “blessing” means “praise.”
- Proverbs 11:26 tn Heb “for the head of the one who sells.” The term “head” functions as a synecdoche of part (= head) for the whole (= person). The head is here emphasized because it is the “crowning” point of praise. The direct object (“it”) is not in the Hebrew text but is implied.
- Proverbs 11:27 tn Two separate words are used here for “seek.” The first is שָׁחַר (shakhar, “to seek diligently”) and the second is בָּקַשׁ (baqash, “to seek after; to look for”). Whoever is seeking good is in effect seeking favor—from either God or man (e.g., Ps 5:12; Isa 49:8).
- Proverbs 11:27 tn The participle דֹּרֵשׁ (doresh) means “to seek; to inquire; to investigate.” A person generally receives the consequences of the kind of life he seeks.
- Proverbs 11:27 tn The verb is the imperfect tense, third feminine singular, referring to “evil,” the object of the participle.
- Proverbs 11:28 sn The implication from the parallelism is that the righteous do not trust in their own riches, but in the Lord.
- Proverbs 11:28 tn Heb “leafage” or “leaf” (cf. KJV “as a branch”); TEV “leaves of summer”; NLT “leaves in spring.” The simile of a leaf is a figure of prosperity and fertility throughout the ancient Near East.
- Proverbs 11:29 tn The verb עָכַר (ʿakhar, “to trouble”) refers to actions which make life difficult for one’s family (BDB 747 s.v.). He will be cut out of the family inheritance.
- Proverbs 11:29 tn Heb “his house.” The term בֵּית (bet, “house”) is a synecdoche of container (= house) for its contents (= family, household).
- Proverbs 11:29 tn Heb “the wind” (so KJV, NCV, NLT); NAB “empty air.” The word “wind” (רוּחַ, ruakh) refers to what cannot be grasped (Prov 27:16; Eccl 1:14, 17). The figure is a hypocatastasis, comparing wind to what he inherits—nothing he can put his hands on. Cf. CEV “won’t inherit a thing.”
- Proverbs 11:29 sn The “fool” here is the “troubler” of the first half. One who mismanages his affairs so badly so that there is nothing for the family may have to sell himself into slavery to the wise. The ideas of the two halves of the verse are complementary.
- Proverbs 11:29 tn Heb “the wise of mind.” The noun לֵב (lev, “mind, heart”) functions as a genitive of specification: “wise in the mind” or “wise-minded.” Cf. “wisehearted” NASB; “wise of heart” ESV, NKJV. The term לֵב represents the person in this case (a synecdoche of part for the whole) because it is the seat of thinking and wisdom; see BDB 525 s.v. 7.
- Proverbs 11:30 tn The comparative “like” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied by the metaphor; it is supplied for the sake of clarity.
- Proverbs 11:30 tn Heb “tree of life” (so KJV, NAB, NIV, NRSV). The noun חַיִּים (khayyim, “life”) is genitive of product. What the righteous produce (“fruit”) is like a tree of life—a long and healthy life as well as a life-giving influence and provision for others.
- Proverbs 11:30 tc The Leningrad Codex, one of the most authoritative witnesses to the Hebrew text, mistakenly vocalized ש as שׂ (sin) instead of שׁ (shin). The result, נְפָשׂוֹת (nefasot), is not a word. Early printed editions of the Masoretic Text, other medieval Hebrew mss, read correctly נְפָשׁוֹת (nefashot, “souls”).
- Proverbs 11:30 tc The MT reads חָכָם (khakham, “wise”) and seems to refer to capturing (לָקַח, laqakh; “to lay hold of; to seize; to capture”) people with influential ideas (e.g., 2 Sam 15:6). An alternate textual tradition reads חָמָס (khamas) “violent” (reflected in the LXX and Syriac) and refers to taking away lives: “but the one who takes away lives (= kills people) is violent” (cf. NAB, NRSV, TEV). The textual variant was caused by orthographic confusion of ס (samek) and כ (kaf), and metathesis of מ (mem) between the second and third consonants. If the parallelism is synonymous, the MT reading fits; if the parallelism is antithetical, the alternate tradition fits. See D. C. Snell, “‘Taking Souls’ in Proverbs 11:30, ” VT 33 (1083): 362-65.
- Proverbs 11:31 tc The LXX introduces a new idea: “If the righteous be scarcely saved” (reflected in 1 Pet 4:18). The Greek translation “scarcely” could have come from a Vorlage of בַּצָּרָה (batsarah, “deficiency” or “want”) or בָּצַּר (batsar, “to cut off; to shorten”) perhaps arising from confusion over the letters בָּאָרֶץ (baʾarets, “on the land/earth”). The verb “receive due” could only be translated “saved” by an indirect interpretation. See J. Barr, “בארץ ~ ΜΟΛΙΣ: Prov. XI.31, I Pet. IV.18, ” JSS 20 (1975): 149-64.
- Proverbs 11:31 tn This construction is one of the “how much more” arguments—if this be true, how much more this (arguing from the lesser to the greater). The point is that if the righteous suffer for their sins, certainly the wicked will as well.
- Proverbs 11:31 tn Heb “the wicked and the sinner.” The two terms may form a hendiadys with the first functioning adjectivally: “the wicked sinner.”