Die Mahnung der Weisheit zu Gottesfurcht und Besonnenheit
Sinn und Zweck der Sprüche
1 [Dies sind die] Sprüche Salomos, des Sohnes Davids, des Königs von Israel,
2 die dazu dienen, dass man Weisheit und Unterweisung[a] erkenne
und verständige Reden verstehe,
3 dass man Unterweisung empfange, die einsichtig macht,
Gerechtigkeit, Recht und Aufrichtigkeit[b];
4 damit den Unverständigen[c] Klugheit verliehen werde,
den jungen Männern Erkenntnis und Besonnenheit.
5 Wer weise ist, der hört darauf und vermehrt seine Kenntnisse,
und wer verständig ist, eignet sich weise Lebensführung an,
6 damit er den Spruch und die bildliche Rede[d] verstehe,
die Worte der Weisen und ihre Rätsel.
8 Höre, mein Sohn, auf die Unterweisung deines Vaters,
und verwirf[g] nicht die Lehre deiner Mutter!
9 Denn sie sind ein schöner Kranz für dein Haupt
und ein Schmuck um deinen Hals.
Warnung vor Verführung zur Sünde
10 Mein Sohn, wenn dich Sünder überreden wollen,[h]
so willige nicht ein,
11 wenn sie sagen: »Komm mit uns, wir wollen auf Blut lauern,
wir wollen dem Unschuldigen ohne Ursache nachstellen!
12 Wir wollen sie verschlingen wie das Totenreich die Lebendigen,
als sänken sie unversehrt[i] ins Grab.
13 Wir wollen allerlei kostbares Gut gewinnen
und unsere Häuser mit Raub füllen.
14 Schließ dich uns auf gut Glück an,[j]
Lass uns gemeinsame Kasse führen!«
15 Mein Sohn, geh nicht mit ihnen auf dem Weg,
halte deinen Fuß zurück von ihrem Pfad!
16 Denn ihre Füße laufen zum Bösen
und eilen, um Blut zu vergießen.
17 Denn vergeblich wird das Netz ausgespannt
vor den Augen aller Vögel;
18 sie aber lauern auf ihr eigenes Blut
und stellen ihrem eigenen Leben nach.
19 So geht es allen, die nach [ungerechtem] Gewinn trachten:
er kostet seinen Besitzern das Leben!
Die Weisheit ruft zur Umkehr auf
20 Die Weisheit ruft draußen laut,
öffentlich lässt sie ihre Stimme hören;
21 auf den Plätzen[k], im ärgsten Straßenlärm schreit sie,
an den Pforten der Stadttore hält sie ihre Reden:
22 Wie lange wollt ihr Unverständigen den Unverstand[l] lieben
und ihr Spötter Lust am Spotten haben
und ihr Toren Erkenntnis hassen?
23 Kehrt um zu meiner Zurechtweisung!
Siehe, ich will euch meinen Geist hervorströmen lassen,
ich will euch meine Worte verkünden!
24 Darum, weil ich rufe und ihr mich abweist,
weil ich meine Hand ausstrecke und niemand darauf achtet,
25 weil ihr vielmehr allen meinen Rat verwerft
und meine Zurechtweisung nicht begehrt,
26 so werde auch ich über euer Unglück lachen
und über euch spotten, wenn das kommt, was ihr fürchtet,
27 wenn das, was ihr fürchtet, als Verwüstung über euch kommt
und euer Unheil euch überraschen wird wie ein Sturm,
wenn euch Angst und Not überfällt!
28 Dann werden sie mich anrufen, aber ich werde nicht antworten;
sie werden mich eifrig suchen und nicht finden,
29 weil sie die Erkenntnis gehasst
und die Furcht des Herrn nicht erwählt haben,
30 weil sie meinen Rat nicht begehrt
und alle meine Zurechtweisung verschmäht haben.
31 Darum sollen sie von der Frucht ihres eigenen Weges essen
und von ihren eigenen Ratschlägen genug bekommen!
32 Denn die Abtrünnigkeit der Unverständigen bringt sie um,
und die Sorglosigkeit der Toren stürzt sie ins Verderben.
33 Wer aber auf mich hört, der wird sicher wohnen;
er kann ohne Sorge sein und muss kein Unheil fürchten.
- (1,2) od. Zucht; so auch im weiteren Text. Dieses Wort, das 30 Mal vorkommt, beinhaltet Unterweisung, Zurechtweisung und Züchtigung.
- (1,3) w. Geradheit. Dieses Wort bezeichnet eine aufrichtige Haltung und einen rechtschaffenen Lebenswandel.
- (1,4) od. Einfältigen / Arglosen. Das hebr. Wort bezeichnet jemand, der »offen« und »naiv« und deshalb zugänglich für Gutes und Schlechtes ist.
- (1,6) od. das Gleichnis.
- (1,7) d.h. die Ehrfurcht vor dem Herrn, die Scheu davor, Gott durch Sünde herauszufordern.
- (1,7) Der Tor (der Törichte oder Narr) ist im AT ein frecher, uneinsichtiger Mensch, der in Auflehnung und Widerspruch zu den Geboten Gottes lebt.
- (1,8) od. verlasse.
- (1,10) Andere Übersetzung: verführen / verlocken wollen.
- (1,12) od. vollständig.
- (1,14) w. du kannst unter uns dein Los werfen, d.h. du kannst dich an der Aufteilung des Raubgutes beteiligen.
- (1,21) Gemeint sind Plätze in der Stadt, an denen mehrere Straßen zusammenkommen und man sich entscheiden muss, welchen Weg man weitergeht.
- (1,22) d.h. »Naivität«, Offenheit für alles, insbesondere für Verführung.
Hoffnung für Alle
Salomos Worte über Weisheit, Torheit und Untreue (Kapitel 1–9)
Der Wert dieses Buches
1 In diesem Buch sind die Sprüche Salomos aufgeschrieben. Er war ein Sohn von David und herrschte als König über Israel.
2 Wenn du seine Worte beachtest, wirst du Weisheit erlangen und zu einem verständigen Menschen heranreifen. Die Sprüche helfen dir, dein Leben sinnvoll zu gestalten, und machen dich fähig, gute Ratschläge zu erkennen und anzunehmen. 3 Durch sie gewinnst du Einsicht; du lernst, aufrichtig und ehrlich zu sein und andere gerecht zu behandeln. 4 Wer jung und unerfahren ist, wird urteilsfähig, er bekommt ein Gespür für gute Entscheidungen. 5 Selbst wer schon über viel Wissen und Erfahrung verfügt, kann noch dazulernen. Neue Gedankenanstöße helfen ihm, 6 die Aussprüche der weisen Lehrer zu verstehen und ihre verschlüsselten Worte und Bilder zu enträtseln.
7 Alle Erkenntnis beginnt damit, dass man Ehrfurcht vor dem Herrn hat. Nur ein Dummkopf lehnt Weisheit ab und will sich nicht erziehen lassen.
Gib dich nicht mit gewissenlosen Menschen ab!
8 Mein Sohn,[a] hör auf deinen Vater und deine Mutter und schlag ihre Ermahnungen nicht in den Wind! 9 Denn was du durch ihre Erziehung lernst, verleiht dir Würde und Anerkennung, ja, es schmückt dich wie eine schöne Halskette oder ein prächtiger Kranz.
10 Wenn gottlose Leute dich beschwatzen, dann hör nicht auf sie! 11 Sie wollen dich überreden und sagen: »Komm, wir legen uns auf die Lauer! Sobald jemand vorbeikommt, schlagen wir zu und bringen ihn einfach so um! 12 Wir befördern sie alle ins Jenseits – so als hätte sie der Erdboden bei lebendigem Leib verschluckt! 13 Denk an die Beute, die uns winkt, damit füllen wir unsere Häuser bis unters Dach! 14 Mach doch mit, dann teilen wir alles unter uns auf!«
15 Mein Sohn, geh nicht mit ihnen, gib dich mit solchen Leuten nicht ab! 16 Denn sie haben nur Böses im Sinn und zögern nicht, Blut zu vergießen. 17 Es ist sinnlos, ein Fangnetz vor den Augen der Vögel auszubreiten – sie fliegen davon. 18 Ganz anders diese Verbrecher: Sie stellen sich selbst eine Falle und rennen auch noch hinein, ja, sie verspielen ihr eigenes Leben! 19 So geht es jedem, der darauf aus ist, sich an fremdem Hab und Gut zu bereichern: Es wird ihn das Leben kosten.
Die Weisheit ruft
20 Hört! Die Weisheit ruft laut auf den Straßen, auf den Marktplätzen erhebt sie ihre Stimme. 21 Im Lärm der Stadt macht sie sich bemerkbar und ruft allen Menschen zu:
22 »Ihr Unverständigen! Wann kommt ihr endlich zur Vernunft?
Wie lange noch wollt ihr spötteln
und euch mit einem Lächeln über alles hinwegsetzen?
Ist euch jede Einsicht verhasst?
23 Hört, was ich euch sagen will!
Dann überschütte ich euch mit dem Reichtum meiner Weisheit[b]
und teile mit euch meine Lebenserfahrung.
24 Schon oft rief ich euch und bot meine Hilfe an,
aber niemand hat je gehört.
25 Jeden Rat verachtet ihr,
über meine Weisungen rümpft ihr nur die Nase.
26 Aber eines Tages bricht das Unheil über euch herein,
dann lache ich euch aus und spotte über euer Elend.
27 Wie ein Gewitter wird es euch überfallen,
wie ein Sturm, der Angst und Schrecken mit sich bringt.
28 Dann werdet ihr um Hilfe schreien,
ich aber antworte nicht.
Ihr werdet mich überall suchen,
aber ich lasse mich nicht mehr finden.
29 Denn euch ist alle Erkenntnis zuwider,
ihr wollt dem Herrn nicht mit Ehrfurcht begegnen.
30 Jeden Rat und jede Ermahnung von mir weist ihr zurück –
31 dann tragt auch die Folgen eures Handelns,
bis ihr genug davon habt!
32 Schon viele Unerfahrene fanden ein schlimmes Ende,
weil sie mich verachteten,
und viele Dummköpfe täuschten sich selbst durch ihre Sorglosigkeit.
33 Wer aber auf mich hört, lebt ruhig und sicher,
vor keinem Unglück braucht er sich zu fürchten.«
Holman Christian Standard Bible
The Purpose of Proverbs
1 The proverbs of Solomon(A) son of David, king of Israel:
2 For learning what wisdom and discipline are;
for understanding insightful sayings;
3 for receiving wise instruction
in righteousness, justice, and integrity;(B)
4 for teaching shrewdness to the inexperienced,[a](C)
knowledge and discretion(D) to a young man—
5 a wise man will listen and increase his learning,(E)
and a discerning man will obtain guidance—
6 for understanding a proverb or a parable,[b]
the words of the wise, and their riddles.(F)
Avoid the Path of the Violent
8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction,
and don’t reject your mother’s teaching,(I)
9 for they will be a garland(J) of grace on your head
and a gold chain around your neck.(K)
10 My son, if sinners entice you,(L)
don’t be persuaded.(M)
11 If they say—“Come with us!
Let’s set an ambush(N) and kill someone.[c]
Let’s attack some innocent person(O) just for fun![d]
12 Let’s swallow them alive,(P) like Sheol,
still healthy as they go down to the Pit.(Q)
13 We’ll find all kinds of valuable property
and fill our houses with plunder.(R)
14 Throw in your lot with us,
and we’ll all share our money”[e]—
15 my son, don’t travel that road with them(S)
or set foot on their path,(T)
16 because their feet run toward trouble
and they hurry to commit murder.[f](U)
17 It is foolish to spread a net
where any bird can see it,
18 but they set an ambush to kill themselves;[g]
they attack their own lives.
19 Such are the paths of all who make profit dishonestly;(V)
it takes the lives of those who receive it.[h]
20 Wisdom calls out in the street;
she raises her voice in the public squares.(W)
21 She cries out above[i] the commotion;
she speaks at the entrance of the city gates:
22 “How long, foolish ones, will you love ignorance?
How long will you mockers(X) enjoy mocking
and you fools hate knowledge?(Y)
23 If you respond to my warning,[j](Z)
then I will pour out my spirit on you(AA)
and teach you my words.
24 Since I called out and you refused,(AB)
extended my hand and no one paid attention,(AC)
25 since you neglected all my counsel(AD)
and did not accept my correction,
26 I, in turn, will laugh at your calamity.(AE)
I will mock when terror strikes you,
27 when terror strikes you like a storm
and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
when trouble and stress overcome you.
28 Then they will call me, but I won’t answer;
they will search for me, but won’t find me.(AF)
29 Because they hated knowledge,
didn’t choose to fear the Lord,(AG)
30 were not interested in my counsel,
and rejected all my correction,(AH)
31 they will eat the fruit of their way(AI)
and be glutted with their own schemes.(AJ)
32 For the turning away of the inexperienced will kill them,(AK)
and the complacency of fools will destroy them.
33 But whoever listens to me will live securely
and be free from the fear of danger.”(AL)
- Proverbs 1:4 Or simple, or gullible
- Proverbs 1:6 Or an enigma
- Proverbs 1:11 Lit Let’s ambush for blood
- Proverbs 1:11 Lit person for no reason
- Proverbs 1:14 Lit us; one bag will be for all of us
- Proverbs 1:16 Lit to shed blood
- Proverbs 1:18 Lit they ambush for their blood
- Proverbs 1:19 Lit takes the life of its masters
- Proverbs 1:21 Lit at the head of
- Proverbs 1:23 Lit back to my reprimand
New English Translation
Introduction to the Book
1 The proverbs[a] of Solomon,[b] son of David, king of Israel:
2 To[c] learn[d] wisdom[e] and moral instruction,[f]
to discern[g] wise counsel.[h]
3 To receive[i] moral instruction[j] in skillful living,[k]
with[l] righteousness,[m] justice,[n] and equity.[o]
4 To impart[p] shrewdness[q] to the morally naive,[r]
a discerning[s] plan[t] to the young person.[u]
5 (Let the wise also[v] hear[w] and gain[x] instruction,
and let the discerning[y] acquire guidance![z])
6 To discern[aa] the meaning of[ab] a proverb and a parable,[ac]
the sayings of the wise[ad] and their riddles.[ae]
Introduction to the Theme of the Book
7 Fearing the Lord[af] is the beginning[ag] of discernment,[ah]
but[ai] fools[aj] have despised[ak] wisdom and moral instruction.[al]
8 Listen,[am] my child,[an] to the instruction[ao] from[ap] your father,
and do not forsake the teaching[aq] from[ar] your mother.
9 For they will be like[as] an elegant[at] garland[au] on[av] your head,
and like[aw] pendants[ax] around[ay] your neck.
Admonition to Avoid Easy but Unjust Riches
10 My child, if sinners[az] try to entice[ba] you,
do not consent![bb]
11 If they say, “Come with us!
We will[bc] lie in wait[bd] to shed blood;[be]
we will ambush[bf] an innocent person[bg] capriciously.[bh]
12 We will swallow them alive[bi] like Sheol,[bj]
those full of vigor[bk] like those going down to the Pit.
13 We will seize[bl] all kinds of precious wealth;[bm]
we will fill our houses with plunder.[bn]
14 Join with us![bo]
We will all share[bp] equally in what we steal.”[bq]
15 My child, do not go down[br] their way,[bs]
withhold yourself[bt] from their path;[bu]
16 for they[bv] are eager[bw] to inflict harm,[bx]
and they hasten[by] to shed blood.[bz]
17 Surely it is futile to spread[ca] a net
in plain sight of[cb] any bird,[cc]
18 but these men lie in wait for their own blood,[cd]
they ambush their own lives![ce]
19 Such[cf] are the ways[cg] of all who gain profit unjustly;[ch]
it[ci] takes away the life[cj] of those who obtain it![ck]
Warning Against Disregarding Wisdom
20 Wisdom[cl] calls out[cm] in the street,
she shouts loudly[cn] in the plazas;[co]
21 at the head of the noisy streets[cp] she calls,
in the entrances of the gates in the city[cq] she utters her words:[cr]
22 “How long will you simpletons[cs] love naiveté?[ct]
How long[cu] have mockers[cv] delighted in[cw] mockery?[cx]
And how long[cy] will fools[cz] hate knowledge?
23 You should respond to[da] my rebuke.[db]
Then[dc] I would pour out[dd] my thoughts[de] to you;
I would make[df] my words known to you.
24 However,[dg] because[dh] I called but you refused to listen,[di]
because[dj] I stretched out my hand[dk] but no one was paying attention,[dl]
25 and you neglected[dm] all my advice,
and did not comply[dn] with my rebuke,
26 so[do] I myself will laugh[dp] when disaster strikes you,[dq]
I will mock when what you dread[dr] comes,
27 when what you dread[ds] comes like a whirlwind,[dt]
and disaster strikes you[du] like a devastating storm,[dv]
when distressing trouble[dw] comes on you.
28 Then they will call to me, but I will not answer;
they will diligently seek[dx] me, but they will not find me.
29 Because[dy] they hated moral knowledge,[dz]
and did not choose to fear the Lord,[ea]
30 they did not comply with my advice,
they spurned[eb] all my rebuke.
31 Therefore[ec] they will eat from the fruit[ed] of their way,[ee]
and they will be stuffed full[ef] of their own counsel.
32 For the waywardness[eg] of the
simpletons will kill[eh] them,
and the careless ease[ei] of fools will destroy them.
33 But the one who listens[ej] to me will live in security,[ek]
and will be at ease[el] from the dread of harm.”
- Proverbs 1:1 tn The noun מָשָׁל (mashal) can mean an object lesson based on or using a comparison or analogy. It may be a short pithy statement (Ezek 16:44), object lesson drawn from experience (Ps 78:2-6), saying or by-word (Deut 28:37), or an oracle of future blessing (Ezek 21:1-5). Here it means an object lesson setting out courses of action. It helps one choose the course of action to follow or avoid.
- Proverbs 1:1 sn The phrase “The Proverbs of Solomon” is a title for the entire book. The title does not mean that Solomon authored or collected all the proverbs in this book. Some sections are collections from different authors: the sayings of the wise (22:17-24:22), more sayings of the wise (24:23-34), the words of Agur (Prov 30:1-33) and Lemuel (Prov 31:1-9). The title does not imply that the book was in its final canonical form in the days of Solomon; the men of Hezekiah added a collection of Solomonic proverbs to the existing form of the book (25:1-29:27). The original collection of Solomonic proverbs appears to be the collection of short pithy sayings in 10:1-22:16, and the title might have originally introduced only these. There is question whether chapters 1-9 were part of the original form of the book in the days of Solomon because they do not fit under the title; they are not “proverbs” per se (sentence sayings) but introductory admonitions (longer wisdom speeches). Chapters 1-9 could have been written by Solomon and perhaps added later by someone else. Or they could have been written by someone else and added later in the days of Hezekiah.
- Proverbs 1:2 tn The infinitive construct with ל (lamed) here designates purpose. This is the first of five purpose clauses in the opening section (1:2a, 2b, 3a, 4a, 6a). These closely related clauses reveal the purpose of the collection of proverbs in general.
- Proverbs 1:2 tn As a stative verb יָדַע (yadaʿ) can mean “to know” or, as here, “to come to know,” or “to become wise in” (BDB 394). This term refers to experiential knowledge, not just cognitive knowledge; it includes the intellectual assimilation and practical use of what is acquired.
- Proverbs 1:2 sn The noun “wisdom” (חָכְמָה, khokhmah) could be nuanced “moral skill.” It refers to “skill” that produces something of value. It is used in reference to the skill of seamen (Ps 107:27), abilities of weavers (Exod 35:26), capabilities of administrators (1 Kgs 3:28), or skill of craftsmen (Exod 31:6). In the realm of moral living, it refers to skill in living—one lives life with moral skill so that something of lasting value is produced from one’s life. Deut 4:6 refers to the statutes and laws given by God as Israel’s wisdom.
- Proverbs 1:2 tn Heb “instruction.” The noun מוּסָר (musar) has a three-fold range of meaning: (1) physical or parental: “discipline; chastisement” (2) verbal: “warning; exhortation” and (3) moral: “training; instruction” (BDB 416; HALOT 557). Throughout the Book of Proverbs the term includes moral training and instruction which may go hand in hand with either of the first two areas of meaning. The “parental” discipline may also be chastisement from God. Four times (1:2, 7; 15:33; 23:23) the term is paired with חָכְמָה (khokhmah, “wisdom, moral skill”).
- Proverbs 1:2 tn The infinitive construct with ל (lamed) here designates a second purpose of the book: to compare and to make proper evaluation of the sayings of the wise. The term בִין (bin, “to discern”) refers to the ability to make distinctions between things, to understand, or to consider (HALOT 122).
- Proverbs 1:2 tn Heb “words of discernment.” The noun בִּינָה (binah, “discernment”) functions as an attributive genitive: “discerning words” or “wise sayings” (so NLT). This noun is a cognate accusative of the infinitive of the same root לְהָבִין (lehavin, “to discern”). The phrase “to discern words of discernment” refers to understanding words that give insight, or wise sayings, such as in Proverbs.
- Proverbs 1:3 tn The infinitive construct with ל (lamed) here designates a further purpose of the book: This focuses on the purpose of the book from the perspective of the student/disciple. The verb לָקַח (laqakh, “receive”) here means to acquire something. It is parallel to the verb “treasure up” in 2:1.
- Proverbs 1:3 tn Heb “instruction.” See note on the same term in 1:2.
- Proverbs 1:3 tn Heb “prudence.” The Hiphil infinitive absolute הַשְׂכֵּל (haskel, “of prudence”) functions as a genitive of content (“about prudence”) or of result, (“leading to prudence”). The basic meaning of שָׂכַל is “to be prudent” or “be successful” (cf. BDB 968; HALOT 1328). In the Hiphil it means “to act in a prudent way,” “to have insight (leading to prudent behavior),” to “have success (resulting from prudence)”, or “to dispense prudence” (i.e., instruct in wisdom). Elsewhere, the term describes the prudent actions of Abigail in contrast to her foolish husband Nabal (1 Sam 25).
- Proverbs 1:3 tn Heb “righteousness and justice and equity.” The three nouns that follow “instruction in prudence (or skillful living)” are adverbial accusatives of manner, describing the ways in which prudent living should be manifested: “with righteousness, justice, and equity.” The term “with” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied by the syntax and inserted for clarity.
- Proverbs 1:3 sn The word “righteousness” (צֶדֶק, tsedeq) describes conduct that conforms to a standard. Elsewhere it is used in a concrete sense to refer to commercial weights and measures that conform to a standard (Deut 25:15). In the moral realm it refers to “righteous” conduct that conforms to God’s law.
- Proverbs 1:3 tn Heb “and justice.” The Hebrew conjunction “and” is omitted in the translation for the sake of English style.sn The noun מִשְׁפָּט (mishpat, “justice, judgment”) refers especially to legal matters in court whether the legal case, precedent, or judicial decision (e.g. 1 Kgs 3:28). But it also refers broadly to the concept of justice. Part of learning prudence is to make decisions that are just and right.
- Proverbs 1:3 sn The Hebrew noun translated “equity” comes from the root יָשָׁר (yashar) which has the basic idea of “upright, straight, right.” It refers to activity that is morally upright and straight, that is, on the proper moral path. Elsewhere it is used in a concrete sense to describe cows walking straight down a path without turning right or left (1 Sam 6:12). Wisdom literature often uses the motif of the straight path to describe a morally “straight” life.
- Proverbs 1:4 tn Heb “to give.” The infinitive construct with ל (lamed) here introduces the fourth purpose of the book, now from the perspective of the teacher. It is what the wise instructor, or sage, wants to impart to the naive youths.
- Proverbs 1:4 tn The noun עָרְמָה (ʿormah) “prudence, shrewdness, craftiness” (BDB 791 s.v.) or “cleverness” (HALOT 886 s.v. 1) refers to a shrewd plan of action, viewed positively or negatively. It is used negatively of planned deception (Josh 9:4) and premeditated murder (Exod 21:14). The related adjective described the serpent as “shrewd, crafty, cunning” (Gen 3:1); it describes cunning plans (Job 5:12) and deception (Job 15:5). The related verb describes a wicked concocted plan (Ps 83:4). The term is used positively of a morally prudent lifestyle (Prov 8:5, 12; 15:5; 19:25). There is no virtue for simpletons to be unaware in this world; they need to be wise as serpents. Proverbs provide a morally shrewd plan for life.
- Proverbs 1:4 tn Heb “the naive” or “simpleton.” The substantival adjective פֶּתִי (peti) means “simple; open-minded” in the sense of being open and easily influenced by either wisdom or folly (BDB 834 s.v.; HALOT 989 s.v. I פֶּתִי). The simpleton is easily enticed and misled (Prov 1:32; 7:7; 9:6; 22:3; 27:12); believes everything, including bad counsel (Prov 14:15); lacks moral prudence (Prov 8:5; 19:25); needs discernment (Prov 21:11); but is capable of learning (Prov 9:4, 16). The related verb means “to be wide open; open-minded; enticed, deceived” (BDB 834). The term describes one easily persuaded and gullible, open to any influence, good or bad (cf. NLT “the simpleminded”). This is the “wide-eyed youth” who is headed for trouble unless he listens to the counsel of wisdom.
- Proverbs 1:4 tn Heb “knowledge and purpose.” The noun דַּעַת (daʿat, “knowledge”) may be nuanced “discernment” here (HALOT 229 s.v. I דַּעַת 4). The nouns דַּעַת וּמְזִמָּה (daʿat umezimmah, “discernment and purpose”) form a hendiadys (two nouns joined with vav to describe the same thing). The first noun functions adjectivally and the second functions as a noun: “discerning plan.” This parallels “a shrewd plan for the morally naive” or “a discerning plan for the young person.”
- Proverbs 1:4 tn The noun מְזִמָּה (mezimmah) may mean (1) “plan” or (2) “discretion” (BDB 273 s.v.; HALOT 566 s.v.). It describes the ability to make plans or formulate the best course of action for gaining a goal (C. H. Toy, Proverbs [ICC], 7). The related verb זָמַם (zamam) means “to plan; to devise” (BDB 273 s.v.; HALOT 272 s.v. I זמם; e.g., Gen 11:6). Here the nouns “knowledge and plan” (דַּעַת וּמְזִמָּה, daʿat umezimmah) form a hendiadys: knowledge of how to form and carry out a morally wise plan for life.
- Proverbs 1:4 tn Heb “young man” or “youth.” The term sometimes applies to an assistant, or servant, or someone in training for a higher position.sn As this second clause does not begin with “and” in Hebrew, it may be understood as an expansion what it means to impart shrewdness.
- Proverbs 1:5 tn The term “also” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation since the audience has shifted from the young and inexperienced to those already having some wisdom. As such v. 5 functions as a parenthesis in the purpose statements of 1:1-7. The book is not just for beginners; even the wise can become wiser.
- Proverbs 1:5 tn The verb יִשְׁמַע (yishmaʿ) functions as a jussive (rather than a imperfect, “he will hear”) as supported in conjunction with the following jussive וְיוֹסֶף (veyosef, “Let him add” or “so that he may add”).
- Proverbs 1:5 tn Heb “add.” Or “increase” in insight. The Hiphil verb וְיוֹסֶף (veyosef) is a jussive rather than an imperfect as the final short vowel (segol) and accent on the first syllable shows (BDB 415 s.v. יָסַף Hiph).
- Proverbs 1:5 tn The Niphal substantival participle נָבוֹן (navon, “discerning”), rather than the noun, is used to describe a person who is habitually characterized by discernment. 1:5 forms a striking contrast to 1:4—there was the simpleton and the youth, here the wise and discerning. Both need this book.
- Proverbs 1:5 tn The noun תַּחְבֻּלָה (takhbulah, “direction; counsel”) refers to moral guidance (BDB 287 s.v.). It is related to חֹבֵל (khovel, “sailor”), חִבֵּל (khibbel, “mast”) and חֶבֶל (khevel, “rope; cord”), so BDB suggests it originally meant directing a ship by pulling ropes on the mast. It is used in a concrete sense of God directing the path of clouds (Job 37:12) and in a figurative sense of moral guidance (Prov 11:14; 20:18; 24:6). Here it refers to the ability to steer a right course through life (A. Cohen, Proverbs, 2).
- Proverbs 1:6 tn The infinitive construct with ל (lamed) means “to discern” and introduces the fifth purpose of the book. It focuses on the benefits of proverbs from the perspective of the reader. By studying proverbs the reader will discern the hermeneutical key to understanding more and more proverbs.
- Proverbs 1:6 tn The phrase “the meaning of” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied; it is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity.
- Proverbs 1:6 tn The noun מְלִיצָה (melitsah) means “allusive expression; enigma” in general, and “proverb, parable” in particular (BDB 539; HALOT 590). The related noun מֵלִיץ (melits) means “interpreter” (Gen 42:23). The related Arabic root means “to turn aside,” so this Hebrew term might refer to a saying that has a “hidden meaning” to its words; see H. N. Richardson, “Some Notes on לִיץ and Its Derivatives,” VT 5 (1955): 163-79.
- Proverbs 1:6 tn This line functions in apposition to the preceding, further explaining the phrase “a proverb and a parable.”
- Proverbs 1:6 tn The noun חִידָה (khidah, “riddle”) designates enigmatic sayings whose meaning is obscure or hidden, such as a riddle (Num 12:8; Judg 14:12, 19), allegory (Ezek 17:2), perplexing moral problem (Pss 49:5; 78:2), perplexing question (1 Kgs 10:1 = 2 Chr 9:1) or ambiguous saying (Dan 8:23); see BDB 295 s.v. and HALOT 309 s.v. If this is related to Arabic hada (“to turn aside, avoid”), it refers to sayings whose meanings are obscure. The sayings of the wise often take the form of riddles that must be discerned.
- Proverbs 1:7 tn Heb “fear of the Lord.” In this expression (יִרְאַת יְהוָה, yirʾat yehvah) “the Lord” functions as an objective genitive. He is the object of fear and wonder. The term יִרְאָה(yirʾah) comes from the root יָרֵא (yareʾ), the common root for fear in the OT which has a basic three-fold range of meanings: (1) “be in dread or terror” (Deut 1:29; Jonah 1:10), (2) “to stand in awe” (1 Kgs 3:28), (3) “to revere; to respect” (Lev 19:3). With the Lord as the object, it captures the tension of shrinking back in fear and drawing close in awe and adoration. Both categories of meaning appear in Exod 20:20 (where the Lord descended upon Sinai amidst geophysical convulsions). Moses encouraged the Israelites to not be afraid of God striking them dead for no reason (“Do not fear!”) but informed the people that the Lord revealed himself in such a terrifying manner to scare them from sinning (“God has come only to test you and to put the fear of him in you so that you do not sin”). The fear of the Lord is expressed in reverential submission to his will—the characteristic of true worship. The fear of the Lord is the foundation for wisdom (9:10) and the discipline leading to wisdom (15:33). It is expressed in hatred of evil (8:13) and avoidance of sin (16:6), and so results in prolonged life (10:27; 19:23).
- Proverbs 1:7 tn The noun רֵאשִׁית (reʾshit) has a two-fold range of meaning (BDB 912 s.v.): (1) “beginning” = first step in a course of action (e.g., Ps 111:10; Prov 17:14; Mic 1:13) or (2) “chief thing” as the principal aspect of something (e.g., Prov 4:7). So fearing the Lord is either (1) the first step in acquiring moral knowledge or (2) the most important aspect of moral knowledge. The first option is preferred because 1:2-6 focuses on the acquisition of wisdom.
- Proverbs 1:7 tn Heb “knowledge.” The noun דָּעַת (daʿat, “knowledge”) refers to experiential knowledge, not just cognitive knowledge, including the intellectual assimilation and practical application (BDB 394). It is also used in v. 4 with the nuance “discernment” and the variation of this motto in Prov 9:10 substitutes חָכְמָה (khokhmah, “wisdom, moral skill”) at this point.
- Proverbs 1:7 tn The conjunction “but” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied by the antithetical parallelism. It is supplied in the translation for clarity. Note, however that the Hebrew word order is “wisdom and instruction—fools have despised.” Without a conjunction the clash or contrast is held poetically until the end.
- Proverbs 1:7 tn The term אֱוִיל (ʾevil, “fool”) refers to a person characterized by moral folly (BDB 17 s.v.). Fools lack understanding (10:21), do not store up knowledge (10:14), fail to attain wisdom (24:7), and refuse correction (15:5; 27:22). They are arrogant (26:5), talk loosely (14:3) and are contentious (20:3). They might have mental intelligence but they are morally foolish. In sum, they are stubborn and “thick-brained” (J. H. Greenstone, Proverbs, 6).
- Proverbs 1:7 tn The verb בָּזָה (bazah, “despise”) means to treat things of value with contempt, as if they were worthless (BDB 102 s.v.). The classic example is Esau who despised his birthright and sold it for lentil stew (Gen 25:34). The perfect verb places the life that fools have lived in contrast with the beginning of moral knowledge. Here is the way of wisdom; fools have gone a different way. Now by implication—what is your choice? The translation of the perfect verb depends on whether the verb’s root is stative or dynamic. Stative verbs (verbs that describe a state) may be present time in the perfect and so can have gnomic force (cf. KJV, NASB, ESV, NIV). Dynamic verbs (verbs that describe actions) in the Hebrew perfect form are past or perfective. They may describe a past action which is prototypical of ongoing behavior. This type of root does not have a morphological test to distinguish if it is stative or dynamic. But the meaning “to treat with” despite suggests that it is dynamic, making the perfective translation “have despised” preferred.
- Proverbs 1:7 sn Heb “wisdom and instruction fools have despised.” Placing “wisdom and moral instruction” first makes this the focus. The reader is not asked to think primarily about the nature of fools but about the choice regarding wisdom. The pair of terms echoes v. 2a, perhaps forming an inclusio.
- Proverbs 1:8 tn The imperative שְׁמַע (shemaʿ, “Listen!”) forms an urgent exhortation which expects immediate compliance with parental instruction.
- Proverbs 1:8 tn Heb “my son.” It is likely that collections of proverbs grew up in the royal courts and were designed for the training of the youthful prince. But once the collection was included in the canon, the term “son” would be expanded to mean a disciple, for all the people were to learn wisdom when young. It would not be limited to sons alone but would include daughters—as the expression “the children of (בְּנֵי, bene) Israel” (including males and females) clearly shows. Several passages in the Mishnah and Talmud record instructions to teach daughters the Mosaic law so that they will be righteous and avoid sin as well. The translation “my child,” although not entirely satisfactory, will be used here.
- Proverbs 1:8 tn Heb “training” or “discipline.” See note on 1:2.
- Proverbs 1:8 tn Heb “of.” The noun אָבִיךָ (ʾavikha, “of your father”) may be classified as a genitive of source.
- Proverbs 1:8 tn Heb “instruction.” In Proverbs the noun תּוֹרָה (torah) often means “instruction” or “moral direction” rather than “law” (BDB 435 s.v. 1.a). It is related to יָרָה (yarah, “to point [or, show] the way” in the Hiphil (BDB 435). Instruction attempts to point a person in the right direction (e.g., Gen 46:28).
- Proverbs 1:8 tn Heb “of.” The noun אִמֶּךָ (ʾimmekha, “of your mother”) may be classified as a genitive of source.
- Proverbs 1:9 tn The comparative “like” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied by the metaphor; it is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity.
- Proverbs 1:9 tn Heb “a garland of grace.” The word חֵן (khen, “grace”) refers to qualities that make a person pleasant and agreeable, e.g., a gracious and charming person (BDB 336 s.v.). The metaphor compares the teachings that produce these qualities to an attractive wreath.
- Proverbs 1:9 tn The noun לִוְיַה (livyah, “wreath; garland”) refers to a headdress and appears only twice in the OT (Prov 1:9; 4:9; BDB 531 s.v.; HALOT 524 s.v.).
- Proverbs 1:9 tn Heb “for.”
- Proverbs 1:9 tn The comparative “like” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied by the metaphor; it is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity.
- Proverbs 1:9 tn Cf. KJV, ASV “chains”; NIV “a chain”; but this English term could suggest a prisoner’s chain to the modern reader rather than adornment.
- Proverbs 1:9 tn Heb “for.”
- Proverbs 1:10 tn The term חַטָּא (khattaʾ) is the common word for “sinner” in the OT. Because the related verb is used once of sling throwers who miss the mark (Judg 20:16), the idea of sin is often explained as “missing the moral mark” (BDB 306-8 s.v.). But the term should not be restricted to simply falling short of the moral ideal. Its basic meaning is to do wrongly. For a slinger or an archer that would mean missing the mark, but in the arena of morality and relationships, behaving wrongly refers to committing an offense or sinning, doing what is wrong. Here it involves the conscious intent to harm, referring to a gang of robbers.
- Proverbs 1:10 tn The Piel stem of the verb פָּתָה (patah) means “to persuade, entice” (BDB 834 s.v. פָּתָה 1; see, e.g., Judg 14:15; 16:5; Prov 16:29; Hos 2:16). In this context, the imperfect form יְפַתּוּךָ (yefattukha) considers the process of offering persuasion rather than the result of someone being persuaded and may be nuanced modally: “(If) they attempt to persuade you.”
- Proverbs 1:10 tc The MT reads the root אָבָה (ʾavah, “to be willing; to consent”). Some medieval Hebrew mss read the root בּוֹא (boʾ, “to go”): “do not go with them.” The majority of Hebrew mss and the versions support the MT reading, which is the less common word and so the more likely original reading.
- Proverbs 1:11 tn The cohortative verb (נֶאֶרְבָה; neʾerevah) could indicate exhortation (“Let us lie in wait!”), resolve (“We will lie in wait!”), or purpose (“so that we may lie in wait”). Regardless of classification the verse indicates both invitation and intention.
- Proverbs 1:11 tn The verb אָרַב (ʾarav, “to lie in wait”) is used for planning murder (Deut 19:11), kidnapping (Judg 21:20), or seduction (Prov 23:28).
- Proverbs 1:11 tn Heb “for blood.” The term דָּם (dam, “blood”) functions as a metonymy of effect for “blood shed violently” through murder (HALOT 224 s.v. 4).
- Proverbs 1:11 tn Heb “lie in hiding.”
- Proverbs 1:11 tn The term “innocent” (נָקִי, naqi) intimates that the person to be attacked is harmless.
- Proverbs 1:11 tn Heb “without cause” (so KJV, NASB); NCV “just for fun.” The term חִנָּם (khinnam, “without cause”) emphasizes that the planned attack is completely unwarranted.
- Proverbs 1:12 tn Heb “life.” The noun חַיִּים (khayyim, “life”) functions as an adverbial accusative of manner: “alive.” The noun is a plural of state, where the plural morpheme is used for the abstract concept (“life” not “lives”).
- Proverbs 1:12 tn The noun שְׁאוֹל (sheʾol) can mean (1) “death,” cf. NCV; (2) “the grave,” cf. KJV, NIV, NLT (3) “Sheol” as the realm of departed spirits, cf. NAB “the nether world,” and (4) “extreme danger.” Here it is parallel to the noun בוֹר (vor, “the Pit”) so it is the grave or more likely “Sheol” (cf. ASV, NRSV). Elsewhere Sheol is personified as having an insatiable appetite and swallowing people alive as they descend to their death (e.g., Num 16:30, 33; Isa 5:14; Hab 2:5). The grave is often personified similarly in ancient Near Eastern literature, e.g., in Ugaritic mythological texts Mot (= “death”) is referred to as “the great swallower.”
- Proverbs 1:12 tn Heb “and whole.” The vav (ו) is asseverative or appositional (“even”); it is omitted in the translation for the sake of style and smoothness. The substantival adjective תָּמִים (tamim, “whole; perfect; blameless”) is an adverbial accusative describing the condition and state of the object. Used in parallel to חַיִּים (khayyim, “alive”), it must mean “full of health” (BDB 1071 s.v. תָּמִים 2). These cutthroats want to murder people who are full of vigor.
- Proverbs 1:13 tn Heb “find.” The use of the verb מָצָא (matsaʾ, “to find”) is deliberate understatement to rhetorically down-play the heinous act of thievery.
- Proverbs 1:13 tn Heb “all wealth of preciousness.”
- Proverbs 1:13 tn The noun שָׁלָל (shalal, “plunder”) functions as an adverbial accusative of material: “with plunder.” This term is normally used for the spoils of war (e.g., Deut 20:14; Josh 7:21; Judg 8:24, 25; 1 Sam 30:20) but here refers to “stolen goods” (so NCV, CEV; e.g., Isa 10:2; Prov 16:19; BDB 1022 s.v. 3). The enticement was to join a criminal gang and adopt a life of crime to enjoy ill-gotten gain (A. Cohen, Proverbs, 4). Cf. NAB, NRSV “booty”; TEV “loot.”
- Proverbs 1:14 tn Heb “Throw in your lot with us.” This is a figurative expression (hypocatastasis) urging the naive to join their life of crime and divide their loot equally. The noun גּוֹרָל (goral, “lot”) can refer to (1) a lot thrown for decision-making processes, e.g., choosing the scapegoat (Lev 16:8), discovering a guilty party (Jonah 1:7) or allocating property (Josh 18:6); (2) an allotted portion (Josh 15:1) or (3) allotted fate or future destiny (Prov 1:14; Dan 12:13; see BDB 174 s.v.). Here the criminals urged the lad to share their life. The verb תַּפִּיל (tappil) is an imperfect of injunction: “Throw in…!” but might also be an imperfect of permission: “you may throw.” It functions metonymically as an invitation to join their life of crime: “share with us” (BDB 658 s.v. 3).
- Proverbs 1:14 tn Heb “there will be to all of us.”
- Proverbs 1:14 tn Heb “one purse” (so KJV, NAB, NRSV). The term כִּיס (kis, “purse; bag”) is a synecdoche of container (= purse) for contents (= stolen goods). The adjective אֶחָד (ʾekhad, “one”) indicates that the thieves promised to share equally in what they had stolen.
- Proverbs 1:15 tn Heb “do not walk.”
- Proverbs 1:15 tn Heb “in the way with them.”
- Proverbs 1:15 tn Heb “your foot.” The term “foot” (רֶגֶל, regel) is a synecdoche of part (= your foot) for the whole person (= yourself).
- Proverbs 1:15 sn The word “path” (נְתִיבָה, netivah) like the word “way” (דֶּרֶךְ, derekh) is used as an idiom (developed from a hypocatastasis), meaning “conduct, course of life.”
- Proverbs 1:16 tn Heb “their feet.” The term “feet” is a synecdoche of the part (= their feet) for the whole person (= they), stressing the eagerness of the robbers.
- Proverbs 1:16 tn Heb “run.” The verb רוּץ (ruts, “run”) functions here as a metonymy of association, meaning “to be eager” to do something (BDB 930 s.v.).
- Proverbs 1:16 tn Heb “to harm.” The noun רַע (raʿ) has a four-fold range of meanings: (1) “pain, harm” (Prov 3:30), (2) “calamity, disaster” (13:21), (3) “distress, misery” (14:32) and (4) “moral evil” (8:13; see BDB 948-49 s.v.). The parallelism with “swift to shed blood” suggests it means “to inflict harm, injury.”
- Proverbs 1:16 tn The imperfect tense verbs may be classified as habitual or progressive imperfects describing their ongoing continual activity.
- Proverbs 1:16 tc The BHS editors suggest deleting this entire verse from MT because it does not appear in several versions (Codex B of the LXX, Coptic, Arabic) and is similar to Isa 59:7a. It is possible that it was a scribal gloss (intentional addition) copied into the margin from Isaiah. But this does not adequately explain the differences. It does fit the context well enough to be original.
- Proverbs 1:17 tn Heb “for the net to be spread out.” The Pual participle of זָרָה (zarah) means “to be spread” (HALOT 280 s.v. I זרה pu.1). The subject of this verbal use of the participle is the noun הָרָשֶׁת (harashet, “the net”). It is futile for the net to be spread out in plain view of birds.
- Proverbs 1:17 tn Heb “in the eyes of.”sn This means either: (1) Spreading a net in view of birds is futile because birds will avoid the trap, but the wicked are so blind that they fail to see danger; or (2) it does not matter if a net is spread because birds are so hungry they will eat anyway and be trapped; the wicked act in a similar way.
- Proverbs 1:17 tn Heb “all of the possessors of wings.”
- Proverbs 1:18 sn They think that they are going to shed innocent blood, but in their blindness they do not realize that it is their own blood they shed. Their greed will lead to their destruction. This is an example of ironic poetic justice. They do not intend to destroy themselves, but this is what they accomplish.
- Proverbs 1:18 tn Heb “their own souls.” The term נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, “soul”) is used as a metonymy (= soul) of association (= life). The noun נֶפֶשׁ often refers to physical “life” (Exod 21:23; Num 17:3; Judg 5:18; Prov 12:10; BDB 659 s.v. 3.c).
- Proverbs 1:19 tn The exclamation כֵּן (ken, “so; thus; such”) marks a conclusion (BDB 485 s.v.). It draws a comparison between the destruction of the wicked in v. 18 and the concluding statement in v. 19.
- Proverbs 1:19 tc The MT reads אָרְחוֹת (ʾorkhot, “paths; ways” as a figure for mode of life): “so are the ways [or, paths] of all who gain profit unjustly.” The BHS editors suggest emending the text to אַחֲרִית (ʾakharit, “end” as figure for their fate) by simple metathesis between ח (khet) and ר (resh) and by orthographic confusion between י (yod) and ו (vav), both common scribal errors: “so is the fate of all who gain profit unjustly.” The external evidence supports MT, which is also the more difficult reading. It adequately fits the context which uses “way” and “path” imagery throughout 1:10-19.
- Proverbs 1:19 tn Heb “those who unjustly gain unjust gain.” The participle בֹּצֵעַ (botseaʿ, “those who unjustly gain”) is followed by the cognate accusative of the same root בָּצַע (batsaʿ, “unjust gain”) to underscore the idea that they gained their wealth through heinous criminal activity. sn The verb followed by the cognate noun usually means seeking gain in an unjust way (1 Sam 8:3), or for selfish purposes (Gen 37:26), or gaining by violence. The word may have the sense of covetousness.
- Proverbs 1:19 tn The subject of the verb is the noun בָּצַע (batsaʿ, “unjust gain”), which is also the referent of the third person masculine singular suffix on בְּעָלָיו (beʿalav, “its owners”). Greed takes away the life of those who live by greed (e.g., 15:27; 26:27). See G. R. Driver, “Problems in the Hebrew Text of Proverbs,” Bib 32 (1951): 173-74.
- Proverbs 1:19 tn The term נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, “soul”) is used as a metonymy (= soul) of association (= life). The noun נֶפֶשׁ often refers to physical “life” (Exod 21:23; Num 17:3; Judg 5:18; Prov 12:10; BDB 659 s.v. 3.c).
- Proverbs 1:19 tn Heb “its owners.”
- Proverbs 1:20 tn The noun חָכְמָה (khokhmah, “wisdom”) is the abstract feminine plural form. It probably functions as a plural of intensity, stressing the all-embracing, elevated wisdom (W. McKane, Proverbs [OTL], 272). As in 8:1-9:11, Wisdom is personified as a righteous woman in 1:20-33.
- Proverbs 1:20 sn The verb רָנַן (ranan, “to cry out, give a ringing cry”) always expresses excitement, whether of joyful praise or sorrowful lament (BDB 943 s.v.). Here it is an excited summons.
- Proverbs 1:20 tn Heb “she gives her voice.” The expression means to shout loudly (BDB 679 s.v. נָתַן Qal 1.x, HALOT 735 s.v. נָתַן Qal 12).
- Proverbs 1:20 sn The word רְחֹבוֹת (rekhovot, “plazas”) refers to the wide plazas or broad open spaces near the gate where all the people assembled. The personification of wisdom as a woman crying out in this place would be a vivid picture of the public appeal to all who pass by.
- Proverbs 1:21 tc MT reads הֹמִיּוֹת (homiyyot, “noisy streets”; Qal participle feminine plural from הָמָה [hamah], “to murmur; to roar”), referring to the busy, bustling place where the street branches off from the gate complex. The LXX reads τειχέων (teicheōn) which reflects חֹמוֹת (khomot), “walls” (feminine plural noun from חוֹמָה [khomah], “wall”): “She proclaims on the summits of the walls.” MT is preferred because it is the more difficult form. The LXX textual error was caused by simple omission of י (yod). In addition, the LXX expands the verse to read, “she sits at the gates of the princes, at the gates of the city she boldly says.” The shorter MT reading is preferred.
- Proverbs 1:21 sn The phrase “in the city” further defines the area of the entrance just inside the gate complex, the business area. In an ancient Near Eastern city, business dealings and judicial proceedings would both take place in this area.
- Proverbs 1:21 tn Heb “she speaks her words.”
- Proverbs 1:22 tn Wisdom addresses three types of people: simpletons (פְּתָיִם, petayim), scoffers (לֵצִים, letsim) and fools (כְּסִילִים, kesilim). For the term “simpleton” see note on 1:4. Each of these three types of people is satisfied with the life being led and will not listen to reason. See J. A. Emerton, “A Note on the Hebrew Text of Proverbs 1:22-23, ” JTS 19 (1968): 609-14.
- Proverbs 1:22 tn Heb “simplicity” (so KJV, NASB); NAB “inanity.” The noun פֶּתִי (peti) means “simplicity; lack of wisdom” (BDB 834 s.v.; HALOT 989 s.v. II פֶּתִי). It is related to the term פְּתָיִם (petayim) “simpletons” and so forms a striking wordplay. This lack of wisdom and moral simplicity is inherent in the character of the naive person.
- Proverbs 1:22 tn The words “how long” appear in the first line of the verse and are understood by implication in each line. English style requires repeating the question words because of the changing of the tense of the verbs in the three lines.
- Proverbs 1:22 sn The term לֵצִים (letsim, “scoffers; mockers”) comes from the root לִיץ (lits, “to scorn; to mock; to speak indirectly” (BDB 539 s.v. לִיץ). They are cynical and defiant freethinkers who ridicule the righteous and all for which they stand (e.g., Ps 1:1).
- Proverbs 1:22 tn The Hebrew verb (חָמַד, khamad) is often translated in the future tense to match the other verbs in the verse. But “will love” and “will hate” are both imperfect forms of stative verbs which must be future. In contrast, the verb “to take pleasure; to delight” (חָמַד, khamad) is in the perfect conjugation and is morphologically dynamic (as indicated by its imperfect form יַחְמֹד, yakhmod). Therefore it is past or perfective. By switching the time frame, the rebuke embedded in the question looks forward and back, both at what should not continue and what should not have been done.
- Proverbs 1:22 tn Heb “for themselves.” The ethical dative לָהֶם (lahem, “for themselves”) is normally untranslated. It is a rhetorical device emphasizing that they take delight in mockery for their own self-interests.
- Proverbs 1:22 tn The words “how long” appear in the first line of the verse and are understood by implication in each line. English style requires repeating the question words because of the changing of the tense of the verbs in the three lines.
- Proverbs 1:22 sn The term “fool” (כְּסִיל, kesil) refers to the morally insensitive dullard (BDB 493 s.v.).
- Proverbs 1:23 tn The form of the verb יָשׁוּבוּ (yashuvu) is an imperfect from שׁוּב (shuv, “to return”). The translation depends on how it works with the preposition ל (lamed). Most frequently lamed means “to, toward.” But it can also mean “from” (HALOT 508 s.v. 5). If it means “to,” it says “you return to my rebuke” which is contrary to the context. Some translations (ESV, NIV) add “if” to make sense of the context. Others (NASB, NRSV, KJV) translate as an imperative, e.g. “turn to,” though they probably understood it as a jussive in meaning. If the preposition means “from” here, then it probably continues the series of questions in v. 22, “How long will you turn away from my rebuke?” Compare also Roland Murphy, Proverbs (WBC), 8, 10. While the precise formulation is in question, the rhetorical force is not. The translation is faithful to the rhetorical force of the clause.
- Proverbs 1:23 sn The noun תּוֹכַחַת (tokhakhat, “rebuke”) is used in all kinds of disputes including rebuking, arguing, reasoning, admonishing, and chiding. The term is broad enough to include here warning and rebuke. Cf. KJV, NAB, NRSV “reproof”; TEV “when I reprimand you”; CEV “correct you.”
- Proverbs 1:23 tn Heb “Behold!”
- Proverbs 1:23 tn The Hiphil cohortative of נָבַע (navaʿ, “to pour out”) describes the speaker’s resolution to pour out wisdom on those who respond.
- Proverbs 1:23 tn Heb “my spirit.” The term “spirit” (רוּחַ, ruakh) functions as a metonymy (= spirit) of association (= thoughts), as indicated by the parallelism with “my words” (דְּבָרַי, devaray). The noun רוּחַ (ruakh, “spirit”) can have a cognitive nuance, e.g., “spirit of wisdom” (Exod 28:3; Deut 34:9). It is used metonymically for “words” (Job 20:3) and “mind” (Isa 40:13; Ezek 11:5; 20:32; 1 Chr 28:12; see BDB 925 s.v. רוּחַ 6). The “spirit of wisdom” produces skill and capacity necessary for success (Isa 11:2; John 7:37-39).
- Proverbs 1:23 tn Here too the form is the cohortative, stressing the resolution of wisdom to reveal herself to the one who responds.
- Proverbs 1:24 tn The term “however” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied by the contrast between the offer in 1:23 and the accusation in 1:24-25. It is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity.
- Proverbs 1:24 tn The particle יַעַן (yaʿan, “because”) introduces a causal clause which forms part of an extended protasis; the apodosis is 1:26.
- Proverbs 1:24 tn The phrase “to listen” does not appear in the Hebrew but is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity.
- Proverbs 1:24 tn The term “because” does not appear in this line but is implied by the parallelism; it is supplied in the translation for clarity and smoothness.
- Proverbs 1:24 sn This expression is a metonymy of adjunct; it is a gesture that goes with the appeal for some to approach.
- Proverbs 1:24 tn The participle expresses the circumstances while she stretched out her hand.
- Proverbs 1:25 tn The verb III פָּרַע (paraʿ) means “to let go; to let alone” (BDB 828 s.v.). It can refer to unkempt hair of the head (Lev 10:6) or lack of moral restraint: “to let things run free” (Exod 32:25; Prov 28:19). Here it means “to avoid, neglect” the offer of wisdom (BDB 829 s.v. 2). As a preterite, or vayyiqtol, this verb continues the response of the naive and the fools from the previous verse. The structure of 1:24-25 is: “Because I did X, but you did Y, and [because] I did A, but you did B and C, and D.” Verse 25 has the “and C and D” portions.
- Proverbs 1:25 tn The verbs in this series are a participle, a preterite/vayyiqtol, and finally a perfect. “Neglected” is a preterite (matching the preterite “refused” in 1:24) giving the contrasting response to what Lady Wisdom did. “Did not comply” is a Hebrew perfect in order to expand on what “neglected” means, rather than give an additional response as another preterite would imply. For the word “comply, consent,” see 1:20.
- Proverbs 1:26 tn The conclusion or apodosis is now introduced.
- Proverbs 1:26 sn Laughing at the consequences of the fool’s rejection of wisdom does not convey hardness against the fool; it reveals the folly of rejecting wisdom (e.g., Ps 2:4). It vindicates wisdom and the appropriateness of the disaster (D. Kidner, Proverbs [TOTC], 60).
- Proverbs 1:26 tn Heb “at your disaster.” The second person masculine plural suffix is either (1) a genitive of worth: “the disaster due you” or (2) an objective genitive: “disaster strikes you.” The term “disaster” (אֵיד, ʾed) often refers to final life-ending calamity (Prov 6:15; 24:22; BDB 15 s.v. 3). The preposition ב (bet) focuses upon time here.
- Proverbs 1:26 tn Heb “your dread” (so NASB); KJV “your fear”; NRSV “panic.” The second person masculine plural suffix is a subjective genitive: “that which you dread.”
- Proverbs 1:27 tn Heb “your dread.” See note on 1:26.
- Proverbs 1:27 sn The term “whirlwind” (NAB, NIV, NRSV; cf. TEV, NLT “storm”) refers to a devastating storm and is related to the verb שׁוֹא (shoʾ, “to crash into ruins”; see BDB 996 s.v. שׁוֹאָה). Disaster will come swiftly and crush them like a devastating whirlwind.
- Proverbs 1:27 tn Heb “your disaster.” The second person masculine plural suffix is an objective genitive: “disaster strikes you.”
- Proverbs 1:27 tn Heb “like a storm.” The noun סוּפָה (sufah, “storm”) is often used in similes to describe sudden devastation (Isa 5:28; Hos 8:7; Amos 1:14).
- Proverbs 1:27 tn Heb “distress and trouble.” The nouns “distress and trouble” mean almost the same thing so they may form a hendiadys. The two similar sounding terms צוּקָה (tsuqah) and צָרָה (tsarah) also form a wordplay (paronomasia) which also links them together.
- Proverbs 1:28 tn Heb “look to.” The verb שָׁחַר (shakhar, “to look”) is used figuratively of intensely looking (i.e., seeking) for deliverance out of trouble (W. L. Holladay, Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon, 366); cf. NLT “anxiously search for.” It is used elsewhere in parallelism with בָּקַשׁ (baqash, “to seek rescue”; Hos 5:15). It does not mean “to seek early” (cf. KJV) as is popularly taught due to etymological connections with the noun שַׁחַר (shakhar, “dawn”; so BDB 1007 s.v. שָׁחַר).
- Proverbs 1:29 sn The causal particle תַּחַת כִּי (takhat ki, “for the reason that”) explains why Lady Wisdom will not respond to their calls in the future. Their past refusal to listen means she will not listen and they will have to bear the consequences of their choices. The content repeats the previous accusation in verse 22 of hating moral knowledge. And the two halves of verse 29 echo the two parts of 1:7a, emphasizing how completely they have missed the mark.
- Proverbs 1:29 tn Heb “knowledge.” The noun דָעַת (daʿat, “knowledge”) refers to moral knowledge. See note on 1:7.
- Proverbs 1:29 tn Heb “the fear of the Lord.” The noun is an objective genitive; the Lord is to be the object of fear. See note on 1:7.
- Proverbs 1:30 tn The verb “spurned” (נָאַץ, naʾats) is parallel to “comply, accede to, be willing” (e.g., 1:10). This is how the morally stubborn fool acts (e.g., 15:5).
- Proverbs 1:31 tn The vav (ו) prefixed to the verb וְיֹאכְלוּ (veyoʾkhelu) functions in a consecutive logical sense: “therefore.”
- Proverbs 1:31 sn The expression “eat the fruit of” is a figurative expression (hypocatastasis) that compares the consequences of sin to agricultural growth that culminates in produce. They will suffer the consequences of their sinful actions, that is, they will “reap” what they “sow.”
- Proverbs 1:31 sn The words “way” (דֶּרֶךְ, derekh) and “counsel” (מוֹעֵצָה, moʿetsah) stand in strong contrast to the instruction of wisdom which gave counsel and rebuke to encourage a better way. They will bear the consequences of the course they follow and the advice they take (for that wrong advice, e.g., Ps 1:1).
- Proverbs 1:31 tn Heb “to eat to one’s fill.” The verb שָׂבֵעַ (saveaʿ) means (1) positive: “to eat one’s fill” so that one’s appetite is satisfied and (2) negative: “to eat in excess” as a glutton to the point of sickness and revulsion (BDB 959 s.v.). Fools will not only “eat” the fruit of their own way (v. 31a), they will be force-fed this revolting “menu” which will make them want to vomit (v. 31b) and eventually kill them (v. 32).
- Proverbs 1:32 tn Heb “turning away” (so KJV). The term מְשׁוּבַת (meshuvat, “turning away”) refers to moral defection and apostasy (BDB 1000 s.v.; cf. ASV “backsliding”). The noun מְשׁוּבַת (“turning away”) which appears at the end of Wisdom’s speech in 1:32 is from the same root as the verb תָּשׁוּבוּ (tashuvu, “turn!”) which appears at the beginning of this speech in 1:23. This repetition of the root שׁוּב (shuv, “to turn”) creates a wordplay: Because fools refuse to “turn to” wisdom (1:23), they will be destroyed by their “turning away” from wisdom (1:32). The wordplay highlights the poetic justice of their judgment. But here they have never embraced the teaching in the first place; so it means turning from the advice as opposed to turning to it.
- Proverbs 1:32 sn The Hebrew verb “to kill” (הָרַג, harag) is the end of the naive who refuse to change. The word is broad enough to include murder, massacre, killing in battle, and execution. Here it is judicial execution by God, using their own foolish choices as the means to ruin.
- Proverbs 1:32 tn Heb “complacency” (so NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT); NAB “smugness.” The noun שַׁלְוַה (shalvah) means (1) positively: “quietness; peace; ease” and (2) negatively: “self-sufficiency; complacency; careless security” (BDB 1017 s.v.), which is the sense here. It is “repose gained by ignoring or neglecting the serious responsibilities of life” (C. H. Toy, Proverbs [ICC], 29).
- Proverbs 1:33 tn The participle is used substantivally here: “whoever listens” will enjoy the benefits of the instruction.
- Proverbs 1:33 tn The noun בֶּטַח (betakh, “security”) functions as an adverbial accusative of manner: “in security.” The phrase refers to living in a permanent settled condition without fear of danger (e.g., Deut 33:12; Ps 16:9). It is the antithesis of the dread of disaster facing the fool and the simple.
- Proverbs 1:33 tn The verb שַׁאֲנַן (shaʾanan) is a Palel perfect of שָׁאַן (shaʾan) which means “to be at ease; to rest securely” (BDB 983 s.v. שָׁאַן). Elsewhere it parallels the verb “to be undisturbed” (Jer 30:10), so it means “to rest undisturbed and quiet.” The combination of ו (vav) plus perfect continues the framework of the verb preceding it, in this case the imperfect.