but an accurate weight 3 is his delight.
but the crookedness of the unfaithful destroys them. 10
but righteousness delivers from mortal danger. 12
but the wicked person will fall by his own wickedness. 14
and the wicked turns up in his stead. 22
but by knowledge 26 the righteous will be delivered.
when the wicked perish, there is joy.
but the one who is trustworthy 38 conceals a matter.
but there is success 40 in the abundance of counselors.
but a cruel person brings himself trouble. 51
11:28 The one who trusts in his riches will fall,
but the one who hates reproof is stupid. 111
12:2 A good person obtains favor from the Lord,
but a righteous root 116 cannot be moved.
the counsels of the wicked are deceitful. 122
but the words 125 of the upright will deliver them.
but the righteous household 128 will stand.
but the one who has a twisted mind 131 is despised.
than one who pretends to be somebody important 134 yet has no food.
but even the most compassionate acts 136 of the wicked are cruel.
but the righteous person escapes out of trouble. 146
but the one who listens to advice is wise. 153
but those who promote peace 170 have joy.
but the wicked are filled with calamity. 173
but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
but personal possessions 193 are precious to the diligent.
12:28 In the path of righteousness there is life,
but another path leads to death. 194
but a scoffer 197 does not listen to rebuke.
but the desire of the diligent will be abundantly satisfied. 210
but the wicked person acts in shameful disgrace. 212
but wickedness 215 overthrows the sinner.
but the poor person hears no threat. 221
but wisdom is with the well-advised. 228
but a fool displays 255 his folly.
but the one who accepts reproof is honored. 263
13:19 A desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul,
but fools abhor 264 turning away from evil.
but a companion of fools suffers harm. 266
but prosperity rewards the righteous. 268
but the wealth of a sinner is stored up for the righteous. 272
but it is swept away by injustice. 274
but the belly of the wicked lacks food. 282
but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.
but the one who is perverted in his ways 287 despises him.
but the words 291 of the wise protect them.
14:4 Where there are no oxen, the feeding trough is clean,
but an abundant harvest is produced by strong oxen. 292
but understanding is easy 298 for a discerning person.
but the folly of fools is deception. 305
but among the upright there is favor. 308
but the tent 313 of the upright will flourish.
but its end is the way that leads to death. 315
but a good person will be rewarded 321 for his.
but the shrewd person discerns his steps. 323
but those who love the rich are many.
14:21 The one who despises his neighbor sins,
but whoever is kind to the needy is blessed.
but the folly 345 of fools is folly.
and it will be a refuge 352 for his children.
14:29 The one who is slow to anger has great understanding,
but whoever shows favor 370 to the needy honors him.
14:33 Wisdom rests in the heart of the discerning;
but sin is a disgrace 377 to any people.
but his wrath falls 380 on one who acts shamefully.
but the mouth of the fool spouts out 386 folly.
keeping watch 388 on those who are evil and those who are good.
but a perverse tongue 393 breaks the spirit.
15:5 A fool rejects his father’s discipline,
but whoever heeds reproof shows good sense. 394
but the income of the wicked brings trouble. 397
but not so the heart of fools. 399
the one who hates reproof 409 will die.
he will not go to 415 the wise.
but by a painful heart the spirit is broken.
15:14 The discerning heart seeks knowledge,
but the mouth of fools feeds on folly. 418
than a fattened ox where there is hatred. 428
but with abundant advisers they are established. 443
and a word at the right time 446 – how good it is!
but he maintains the boundaries of the widow. 452
but whoever hates bribes 461 will live.
but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things. 465
and good news gives health to the body. 470
and before honor comes humility. 479
and your plans will be established. 492
even the wicked for the day of disaster. 495
than to have abundant income without justice. 510
all the weights 520 in the bag are his handiwork.
because a throne 522 is established in righteousness.
but a wise person appeases it. 530
to acquire understanding is more desirable 535 than silver.
and a haughty spirit before a fall. 542
than to share the spoils 544 with the proud.
but folly leads to the discipline of fools. 557
sweet to the soul and healing 564 to the bones.
but its end is the way that leads to death. 566
and a gossip separates the closest friends. 577
and leads him down a path that is terrible. 580
[11:1] 2 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 10:35-36), as did the ancient Near East (ANET 388, 423).
[11:1] 3 tn Heb “a perfect stone.” Stones were used for measuring amounts of silver on the scales; here the stone that pleases the
[11:2] 4 tn Heb “presumptuousness.” This term is from the root זִיד, zid (or זוּד, zud) which means “to boil; to seethe; to act proudly; to act presumptuously.” The idea is that of boiling over the edge of the pot, signifying overstepping the boundaries (e.g., Gen 25:29).
[11:2] 5 tn The verbs show both the sequence and the correlation. The first is the perfect tense of בּוֹא (bo’, “to enter; to come”); it is followed by the preterite with vav consecutive from the same verb, showing that one follows or comes with the other. Because the second verb in the colon is sequential to the first, the first may be subordinated as a temporal clause.
[11:2] 7 tn Heb “modesty”; KJV, ASV “the lowly.” The adjective צְנוּעִים (tsÿnu’im, “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 (tsana’, “to be modest; to be humble”) describes those who are reserved, retiring, modest. The plural form is used for the abstract idea of humility.
[11:3] 9 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.
[11:3] 10 tc The form is a Kethib/Qere reading. The Qere יְשָׁדֵּם (yÿshadem) is an imperfect tense with the pronominal suffix. The Kethib וְשַׁדָּם (vÿshadam) is a perfect tense with a vav prefixed and a pronominal suffix. The Qere is supported by the versions.
[11:4] 11 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.
[11:7] sn The subject of this proverb is the hope of the wicked, showing its consequences – his expectations die with him (Ps 49). Any hope for long life and success borne of wickedness will be disappointed.
[11:7] 19 tc There are several suggested changes for this word אוֹנִים (’onim, “vigor” or “strength”). Rashi, a Jewish scholar who lived
[11:8] sn The verse is not concerned with the problem of evil and the suffering of the righteous; it is only concerned with the principle of divine justice.
[11:8] 22 tn The verb is masculine singular, so the subject cannot be “trouble.” The trouble from which the righteous escape will come on the wicked – but the Hebrew text literally says that the wicked “comes [= arrives; turns up; shows up] in the place of the righteous.” Cf. NASB “the wicked takes his place”; NRSV “the wicked get into it instead”; NIV “it comes on the wicked instead.”
[11:9] 24 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.
[11:9] 25 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”).
[11:9] 26 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.
[11:10] 28 sn The verb תַּעֲלֹץ (ta’alots, “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).
[11:11] 29 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.
[11:11] 31 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.
[11:12] 32 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.
[11:12] 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.
[11:12] 35 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.
[11:13] 36 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.
[11:13] sn This is the intent of a person who makes disparaging comments about others – he cannot wait to share secrets that should be kept.
[11:13] 38 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.
[11:14] 39 tn The word תַּחְבֻּלוֹת (takhvulot, “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.
[11:14] 40 tn Heb “victory.” This term תְּשׁוּעָה (teshu’ah) 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.
[11:15] 41 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.
[11:15] 42 tn The sentence begins with the Niphal imperfect and the cognate (רַע־יֵרוֹעַ, ra’-yeroa’), stressing that whoever does this “will certainly suffer hurt.” The hurt in this case will be financial responsibility for a bad risk.
[11:15] 43 tn Heb “hates.” The term שֹׂנֵא (shoneh) means “to reject,” and here “to avoid.” The participle is substantival, functioning as the subject of the clause. The next participle, תֹקְעִים (toq’im, “striking hands”), is its object, telling what is hated. The third participle בּוֹטֵחַ (boteakh, “is secure”) functions verbally.
[11:16] 45 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, ’eshet-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.
[11:16] 46 tn Heb “those who are terrifying.” The term עָרִיץ (’arits) 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.”
[11:16] 47 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).
[11:16] sn The implication is that the ruthless men will obtain wealth without honor, and therefore this is not viewed as success by the writer.
[11:17] sn This contrasts the “kind person” and the “cruel person” (one who is fierce, cruel), showing the consequences of their dispositions.
[11:17] 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.
[11:18] sn Whatever recompense or reward the wicked receive will not last, hence, it is deceptive (R. B. Y. Scott, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes [AB], 88).
[11:18] 55 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).
[11:18] 58 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.
[11:19] 59 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
[11:20] 66 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
[11:21] 67 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.”
[11:21] 68 tn Heb “will not be free.” 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).
[11:21] 69 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
[11:22] 75 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 – she is unchaste. Her beauty will be put to wrong uses.
[11:23] 77 tn The phrase “leads to” does not appear in the Hebrew text but has been supplied in the translation. The desire of the righteous (in itself good) ends in good things, whereas the hope of the wicked ends in wrath, i.e., divine judgment on them. Another interpretation is that the righteous desire is to do good things, but the wicked hope to produce wrath (cf. CEV “troublemakers hope to stir up trouble”).
[11:24] 80 tn Heb “There is one who scatters.” The participle מְפַזֵּר (mÿfazzer, “one who scatters”) refers to charity rather than farming or investments (and is thus a hypocatastasis). Cf. CEV “become rich by being generous”).
[11:24] 83 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.
[11:25] 84 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.
[11:25] 86 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.
[11:25] 87 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.
[11:25] 88 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 (yore’) as a Hophal imperfect of רָוָה (ravah, the only occurrence) and translates it “will himself also be watered” (cf. KJV, ASV, NASB). But the verb looks very much like a Hiphil of the root יָרָא (yara’, “to shoot; to pour”). So the editors of BHS suggest יוּאָר (yu’ar).
[11:26] 90 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.
[11:26] 92 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.
[11:27] 93 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).
[11:28] 97 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.
[11:29] 100 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.”
[11:29] 101 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.
[11:29] 102 tn Heb “to the wise of heart.” The noun לֵב (lev, “heart”) is an attributed genitive: “wise heart.” The term לֵב (“heart”) also functions as a synecdoche of part (= heart) for the whole (= person); see BDB 525 s.v. 7.
[11:30] 104 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.
[11:30] 105 tc The Leningrad Codex mistakenly vocalized ש (sin or shin) as שׂ (sin) instead of שׁ (shin) in the term נְפָשׂוֹת (nefashot) which is vocalized as נְפָשׁוֹת (nefasot, “souls”) in the other medieval Hebrew
[11:30] 106 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 2nd and 3rd 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.
[11:31] 107 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. 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.
[11:31] 108 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.
[12:1] 111 sn The word בָּעַר (ba’ar, “brutish; stupid”) normally describes dumb animals that lack intellectual sense. Here, it describes the moral fool who is not willing to learn from correction. He is like a dumb animal (so the term here functions as a hypocatastasis: implied comparison).
[12:2] 113 tn Heb “a man of wicked plans.” The noun מְזִמּוֹת (mÿzimmot, “evil plans”) functions as an attributive genitive: “an evil-scheming man.” Cf. NASB “a man who devises evil”; NAB “the schemer.”
[12:3] 116 tn Heb “a root of righteousness.” The genitive צַדִּיקִים (tsadiqim, “righteousness”) functions as an attributive adjective. The figure “root” (שֹׁרֶשׁ, shoresh) stresses the security of the righteous; they are firmly planted and cannot be uprooted (cf. NLT “the godly have deep roots”). The righteous are often compared to a tree (e.g., 11:30; Ps 1:3; 92:13).
[12:4] 117 tn Heb “a wife of virtue”; NAB, NLT “a worthy wife.” This noble woman (אֵשֶׁת־חַיִל, ’shet-khayil) is the subject of Prov 31. She is a “virtuous woman” (cf. KJV), a capable woman of noble character. She is contrasted with the woman who is disgraceful (מְבִישָׁה, mÿvishah; “one who causes shame”) or who lowers his standing in the community.
[12:6] 123 tn The infinitive construct אֱרָב (’erav, “to lie in wait”) expresses the purpose of their conversations. The idea of “lying in wait for blood” is an implied comparison (hypocatastasis): Their words are like an ambush intended to destroy (cf. NAB, NRSV “are a deadly ambush”). The words of the wicked are here personified.
[12:6] 124 tn Heb “for blood.” The term “blood” is a metonymy of effect, the cause being the person that they will attack and whose blood they will shed. After the construct “blood” is also an objective genitive.
[12:6] 125 tn Heb “mouth.” The term פֶּה (peh, “mouth”) is a metonymy of cause, signifying what the righteous say. The righteous can make a skillful defense against false accusations that are intended to destroy. The righteous, who have gained wisdom, can escape the traps set by the words of the wicked.
[12:7] 128 tn Heb “the house of the righteous.” The genitive צַדִּיקִים (tsadiqim) functions as an attributive adjective: “righteous house.” The noun בֵּית (bet, “house”) functions as a synecdoche of container (= house) for the contents (= family, household; perhaps household possessions). Cf. NCV “a good person’s family”; NLT “the children of the godly.”
[12:8] 131 tn Heb “crooked of heart”; cf. NAB, NLT “a warped mind” (NIV similar). The noun לֵב (lev, “heart”) is an attributive genitive. It functions as a metonymy of association for “mind; thoughts” (BDB 524 s.v. 3) and “will; volition” (BDB 524 s.v. 4). He does not perceive things as they are, so he makes all the wrong choices. His thinking is all wrong.
[12:9] 133 tn The meaning of the phrase וְעֶבֶד לוֹ (vÿ’eved lo) is ambiguous; the preposition is either possessive (“has a servant”) or a reflexive indirect object (“is a servant for himself”; cf. NAB, TEV). Several versions (LXX, Vulgate, Syriac) read “and yet has a servant.”
[12:9] 134 tn Heb “who feigns importance.” The term מְתַכַּבֵּד (mÿtakkabed, from כָּבֵד, caved, “to be weighty; to be honored; to be important”) is an example of the so-called “Hollywood” Hitpael which describes a person putting on an act (BDB 458 s.v. כָּבֵד Hitp.2).
[12:9] sn This individual lives beyond his financial means in a vain show to impress other people and thus cannot afford to put food on the table.
[12:10] 136 tn Heb “but the mercies.” The additional words appear in the translation for the sake of clarification. The line can be interpreted in two ways: (1) when the wicked exhibit a kind act, they do it in a cruel way, or (2) even the kindest of their acts is cruel by all assessments, e.g., stuffing animals with food to fatten them for market – their “kindness” is driven by ulterior motives (J. H. Greenstone, Proverbs, 129).
[12:11] 137 sn In the biblical period agriculture was the most common occupation for the people; so “working a field” describes a substantial occupation, but also represents working in general. Diligent work, not get-rich-quick schemes, is the key to ensuring income.
[12:11] 139 tn Heb “empty things” or “vain things.” The term רֵיקִים (reqim) refers to worthless pursuits in an effort to make money. The fact that the participle used is “chase after” shows how elusive these are. Cf. NIV “fantasies”; NCV “empty dreams”; TEV “useless projects.”
[12:12] 141 tn This line is difficult to interpret. BDB connects the term מְצוֹד (mÿtsod) to II מָצוֹד which means (1) “snare; hunting-net” and (2) what is caught: “prey” (BDB 844-45 s.v. II מָצוֹד). This would function as a metonymy of cause for what the net catches: the prey. Or it may be saying that the wicked get caught in their own net, that is, reap the consequences of their own sins. On the other hand, HALOT 622 connects מְצוֹד (mÿtsod) to II מְצוּדָה (mÿtsudah, “mountain stronghold”; cf. NAB “the stronghold of evil men will be demolished”). The LXX translated it as: “The desires of the wicked are evil.” The Syriac has: “The wicked desire to do evil.” The Latin expands it: “The desire of the wicked is a defense of the worst [things, or persons].” C. H. Toy suggests emending the text to read “wickedness is the net of bad men” (Proverbs [ICC], 250).
[12:12] 142 tn Heb “the root of righteousness.” The genitive צַדִּיקִים (tsadiqim, “righteousness”) functions as an attributive adjective. The wicked want what belongs to others, but the righteous continue to flourish.
[12:12] 143 tc The MT reads יִתֵּן (yitten, “gives,” from נָתַן [natan, “to give”]), and yields an awkward meaning: “the root of the righteous gives.” The LXX reads “the root of the righteous endures” (cf. NAB). This suggests a Hebrew Vorlage of אֵיתָן (’etan, “constant; continual”; HALOT 44-45 s.v. I אֵיתָן 2) which would involve the omission of א (alef) in the MT. The metaphor “root” (שֹׁרֶשׁ, shoresh) is often used in Proverbs for that which endures; so internal evidence supports the alternate tradition.
[12:13] 144 tc MT reads the noun מוֹקֵשׁ (moqesh, “bait; lure”). The LXX, Syriac and Tg. Prov 12:13 took it as a passive participle (“is ensnared”). The MT is the more difficult reading and so is preferred. The versions appear to be trying to clarify a difficult reading.
[12:13] tn Heb “snare of a man.” The word “snare” is the figurative meaning of the noun מוֹקֵשׁ (“bait; lure” from יָקַשׁ [yaqash, “to lay a bait, or lure”]).
[12:13] 145 tn Heb “transgression of the lips.” The noun “lips” is a genitive of specification and it functions as a metonymy of cause for speech: sinful talk or sinning by talking. J. H. Greenstone suggests that this refers to litigation; the wicked attempt to involve the innocent (Proverbs, 131).
[12:13] 146 sn J. H. Greenstone suggests that when the wicked become involved in contradictions of testimony, the innocent is freed from the trouble. Another meaning would be that the wicked get themselves trapped by what they say, but the righteous avoid that (Proverbs, 131).
[12:14] 147 tn Heb “fruit of the lips.” The term “fruit” is the implied comparison, meaning what is produced; and “lips” is the metonymy of cause, referring to speech. Proper speech will result in good things.
[12:14] 149 tc The Kethib has the Qal imperfect, “will return” to him (cf. NASB); the Qere preserves a Hiphil imperfect, “he/one will restore/render” to him (cf. KJV, ASV). The Qere seems to suggest that someone (God or people) will reward him in kind. Since there is no expressed subject, it may be translated as a passive voice.
[12:16] 154 tn Heb “The fool, at once his vexation is known.” This rhetorically emphatic construction uses an independent nominative absolute, which is then followed by the formal subject with a suffix. The construction focuses attention on “the fool,” then states what is to be said about him.
[12:16] sn The fool is impatient and unwise, and so flares up immediately when anything bothers him. W. McKane says that the fool’s reaction is “like an injured animal and so his opponent knows that he has been wounded” (Proverbs [OTL], 442).
[12:16] 157 tn Heb “covers.” The verb כָּסָה (casah) means “covers” in the sense of ignores or bides his time. The point is not that he does not respond at all, but that he is shrewd enough to handle the criticism or insult in the best way – not instinctively and irrationally.
[12:17] 158 tn The text has “he pours out faithfully”; the word rendered “faithfully” or “reliably” (אֱמוּנָה, ’emunah) is used frequently for giving testimony in court, and so here the subject matter is the reliable witness.
[12:17] 160 tn Heb “witness of falsehoods.” The genitive noun functions attributively, and the plural form depicts habitual action or moral characteristic. This describes a person who habitually lies. A false witness cannot be counted on to help the cause of justice.
[12:18] 165 sn Healing is a metonymy of effect. Healing words are the opposite of the cutting, irresponsible words. What the wise say is faithful and true, gentle and kind, uplifting and encouraging; so their words bring healing.
[12:19] 166 tn Heb “a lip of truth.” The genitive אֱמֶת (’emet, “truth”) functions as an attributive adjective: “truthful lip.” The term שְׂפַת (sÿfat, “lip”) functions as a synecdoche of part (= lip) for the whole (= person): “truthful person.” The contrast is between “the lip of truth” and the “tongue of lying.”
[12:19] 167 tn Heb “a tongue of deceit.” The genitive שָׁקֶר (shaqer, “deceit”) functions as an attributive genitive. The noun לָשׁוֹן (lashon, “tongue”) functions as a synecdoche of part (= tongue) for the whole (= person): “lying person.”
[12:19] 168 tn Heb “while I would twinkle.” This expression is an idiom meaning “only for a moment.” The twinkling of the eye, the slightest movement, signals the brevity of the life of a lie (hyperbole). But truth will be established (תִּכּוֹן, tikon), that is, be made firm and endure.
[12:20] 170 tn Heb “those who are counselors of peace.” The term שָׁלוֹם (shalom, “peace”) is an objective genitive, so the genitive-construct “counselors of peace” means those who advise, advocate or promote peace (cf. NAB, NIV).
[12:21] 172 tn Heb “all calamity.” The proper nuance of אָוֶן (’aven) is debated. It is normally understood metonymically (effect) as “harm; trouble,” that is, the result/effect of wickedness (e.g., Gen 50:20). Rashi, a Jewish scholar who lived
[12:22] 175 tn Heb “lips of lying.” The genitive שָׁקֶר (shaqer, “lying”) functions as an attributive genitive: “lying lips.” The term “lips” functions as a synecdoche of part (= lips) for the whole (= person): “a liar.”
[12:22] 176 tn Heb “but doers of truthfulness.” The term “truthfulness” is an objective genitive, meaning: “those who practice truth” or “those who act in good faith.” Their words and works are reliable.
[12:23] sn A shrewd person knows how to use knowledge wisely, and restrains himself from revealing all he knows.
[12:23] 180 tn Heb “the heart of fools.” The term לֵב (lev, “heart”) functions as a synecdoche of part (= heart) for the whole (= person): “foolish people.” This type of fool despises correction and instruction. His intent is to proclaim all that he does – which is folly. W. McKane says that the more one speaks, the less likely he is able to speak effectively (Proverbs [OTL], 422). Cf. TEV “stupid people advertise their ignorance”; NLT “fools broadcast their folly.”
[12:23] 181 sn The noun אִוֶּלֶת (’ivvelet, “foolishness; folly”) is the antithesis of perception and understanding. It is related to the noun אֱוִּיל (’evvil, “fool”), one who is morally bad because he despises wisdom and discipline, mocks at guilt, is licentious and quarrelsome, and is almost impossible to rebuke.
[12:24] 182 tn The term חָרַץ (kharats, “diligent”) means (1) literally: “to cut; to sharpen,” (2) figurative: “to decide” and “to be diligent. It is used figuratively in Proverbs for diligence. The semantic development of the figure may be understood thus: “cut, sharpen” leads to “act decisively” which leads to “be diligent.” By their diligent work they succeed to management. The diligent rise to the top, while the lazy sink to the bottom.
[12:24] 183 tn Heb “the hand of the diligent.” The term “hand” is a synecdoche of part (= hand) for the whole (= person): diligent person. The hand is emphasized because it is the instrument of physical labor; it signifies the actions and the industry of a diligent person – what his hand does.
[12:25] 189 tn Heb “good.” The Hebrew word “good” (טוֹב, tov) refers to what is beneficial for life, promotes life, creates life or protects life. The “good word” here would include encouragement, kindness, and insight – the person needs to regain the proper perspective on life and renew his confidence.
[12:25] 190 tn Heb “makes it [= his heart] glad.” The similarly sounding terms יַשְׁחֶנָּה (yashkhennah, “weighs it down”) and יְשַׂמְּחֶנָּה (yÿsammÿkhennah, “makes it glad”) create a wordplay (paronomasia) that dramatically emphasizes the polar opposite emotional states: depression versus joy.
[12:26] 191 tn The line has several possible translations: (1) The verb יָתֵר (yater) can mean “to spy out; to examine,” which makes a good contrast to “lead astray” in the parallel colon. (2) יָתֵר could be the Hophal of נָתַר (natar, Hiphil “to set free”; Hophal “to be set free”): “the righteous is delivered from harm” [reading mera`ah] (J. A. Emerton, “A Note on Proverbs 12:26,” ZAW 76 : 191-93). (3) Another option is, “the righteous guides his friend aright” (cf. NRSV, NLT).
[12:27] 192 tc The MT reads יַחֲרֹךְ (yakharokh) from II חָרַךְ (kharakh, “to roast”?). On the other hand, several versions (LXX, Syriac, Vulgate) reflect a Hebrew Vorlage of יַדְרִיךְ (yadrikh) from דָרַךְ (darakh, “to gain”), meaning: “a lazy person cannot catch his prey” (suggested by Gemser; cf. NAB). The MT is the more difficult reading, being a hapax legomenon, and therefore should be retained; the versions are trying to make sense out of a rare expression.
[12:27] tn The verb II חָרַךְ (kharakh) is a hapax legomenon, appearing in the OT only here. BDB suggests that it means “to start; to set in motion” (BDB 355 s.v.). The related Aramaic and Syriac verb means “to scorch; to parch,” and the related Arabic verb means “to roast; to scorch by burning”; so it may mean “to roast; to fry” (HALOT 353 s.v. I חרך). The lazy person can’t be bothered cooking what he has hunted. The Midrash sees an allusion to Jacob and Esau in Genesis 25. M. Dahood translates it: “the languid man will roast no game for himself, but the diligent will come on the wealth of the steppe” (“The Hapax harak in Proverbs 12:27,” Bib 63 : 60-62). This hyperbole means that the lazy person does not complete a project.
[12:28] 194 tc The consonants אל־מות (’l-mvt) are vocalized by the MT as אַל־מָוֶת (’al-mavet, “no death”), meaning: “the journey of her path is no-death” = immortality. However, many medieval Hebrew
[12:28] tn Heb “no death.” This phrase may mean “immortality.” Those who enter the path of righteousness by faith and seek to live righteously are on their way to eternal life. However, M. Dahood suggests that it means permanence (“Immortality in Proverbs 12:28,” Bib 41 : 176-81).
[13:1] 196 tc G. R. Driver suggested reading this word as מְיֻסַּר (mÿyussar, “allows himself to be disciplined”); see his “Hebrew Notes on Prophets and Proverbs,” JTS 41 (1940): 174. But this is not necessary at all; the MT makes good sense as it stands. Similarly, the LXX has “a wise son listens to his father.”
[13:1] tn Heb “discipline of a father.”
[13:1] 197 sn The “scoffer” is the worst kind of fool. He has no respect for authority, reviles worship of God, and is unteachable because he thinks he knows it all. The change to a stronger word in the second colon – “rebuke” (גָּעַר, ga’ar) – shows that he does not respond to instruction on any level. Cf. NLT “a young mocker,” taking this to refer to the opposite of the “wise son” in the first colon.
[13:2] 201 tn The noun נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, traditionally “soul”) has a broad range of meanings, and here denotes “appetite” (e.g., Ps 17:9; Prov 23:3; Eccl 2:24; Isa 5:14; Hab 2:5; BDB 660 s.v. 5.c) or (2) “desire” (e.g., Deut 12:20; Prov 13:4; 19:8; 21:10; BDB 660 s.v. 6.a).
[13:2] 202 tn Heb “violence.” The phrase “the fruit of” does not appear in the Hebrew but is implied by the parallelism. The term “violence” is probably a metonymy of cause: “violence” represents what violence gains – ill-gotten gains resulting from violent crime. The wicked desire what does not belong to them.
[13:2] tc The LXX reads “the souls of the wicked perish untimely.” The MT makes sense as it stands.
[13:3] 206 sn Tight control over what one says prevents trouble (e.g., Prov 10:10; 17:28; Jas 3:1-12; Sir 28:25). Amenemope advises to “sleep a night before speaking” (5:15; ANET 422, n. 10). The old Arab proverb is appropriate: “Take heed that your tongue does not cut your throat” (O. Zockler, Proverbs, 134).
[13:4] 207 tn The noun נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, traditionally “soul”) has a broad range of meanings, and here denotes “appetite” (e.g., Ps 17:9; Prov 23:3; Eccl 2:24; Isa 5:14; Hab 2:5; BDB 660 s.v. 5.c) or (2) “desire” (e.g., Deut 12:20; Prov 19:8; 21:10; BDB 660 s.v. 6.a).
[13:4] 208 sn The contrast is between the “soul (= appetite) of the sluggard” (נַפְשׁוֹ עָצֵל, nafsho ’atsel) and the “soul (= desire) of the diligent” (נֶפֶשׁ חָרֻצִים, nefesh kharutsim) – what they each long for.
[13:5] 211 tn Heb “a word of falsehood.” The genitive “falsehood” functions as an attributive genitive. The construct noun דְּבַר (dÿvar) means either “word” or “thing.” Hence, the phrase means “a false word” or “a false thing.”
[13:5] 212 tc The versions render this phrase variously: “is ashamed and without confidence” (LXX); “is ashamed and put to the blush” (Tg. Prov 13:5); “confounds and will be confounded” (Vulgate). The variety is due in part to confusion of בָּאַשׁ (ba’sh, “to stink”) and בּוֹשׁ (bosh, “to be ashamed”). Cf. NASB “acts disgustingly and shamefully.”
[13:5] tn Heb “acts shamefully and disgracefully.” The verb בָּאַשׁ (ba’ash) literally means “to cause a stink; to emit a stinking odor” (e.g., Exod 5:21; Eccl 10:1) and figuratively means “to act shamefully” (BDB 92 s.v.). The verb וְיַחְפִּיר (vÿyakhppir) means “to display shame.” Together, they can be treated as a verbal hendiadys: “to act in disgraceful shame,” or more colorfully “to make a shameful smell,” or as W. McKane has it, “spread the smell of scandal” (Proverbs [OTL], 460). W. G. Plaut says, “Unhappily, the bad odor adheres not only to the liar but also to the one about whom he lies – especially when the lie is a big one” (Proverbs, 152).
[13:6] 214 tn Heb “blameless of way.” The term דָּרֶךְ (darekh) is a genitive of specification: “blameless in respect to his way.” This means living above reproach in their course of life. Cf. NASB “whose way is blameless”; NAB “who walks honestly.”
[13:7] 216 tn The Hitpael of עָשַׁר (’ashar, “to be rich”) means “to pretend to be rich” (BDB 799 s.v. עָשַׁר Hithp); this is the so-called “Hollywood Hitpael” function which involves “acting” or pretending to be something one is not.
[13:7] 217 tn The Hitpolel of רוּשׁ (rush, “to be poor”) means “to pretend to be poor” (BDB 930 s.v. Hithpolel); this is another example of the “Hollywood Hitpael” – the Hitpolel forms of hollow root verbs are the equivalent of Hitpael stem forms.
[13:7] 218 sn The proverb seems to be a general observation on certain people in life, but it is saying more. Although there are times when such pretending may not be wrong, the proverb is instructing people to be honest. An empty pretentious display or a concealing of wealth can come to no good.
[13:8] 219 sn As the word “ransom” (כֹּפֶר, cofer) indicates, the rich are susceptible to kidnapping and robbery. But the poor man pays no attention to blackmail – he does not have money to buy off oppressors. So the rich person is exposed to legal attacks and threats of physical violence and must use his wealth as ransom.
[13:8] 221 tn The term גְּעָרָה (gÿ’arah) may mean (1) “rebuke” (so KJV, NASB) or (2) “threat” (so NIV; cf. ASV, NRSV, NLT ). If “rebuke” is the sense here, it means that the burdens of society fall on the rich as well as the dangers. But the sense of “threat” better fits the context: The rich are threatened with extortion, but the poor are not (cf. CEV “the poor don’t have that problem”).
[13:9] 222 sn The images of “light” and “darkness” are used frequently in scripture. Here “light” is an implied comparison: “light” represents life, joy, and prosperity; “darkness” signifies adversity and death. So the “light of the righteous” represents the prosperous life of the righteous.
[13:9] 223 tn The verb יִשְׂמָח (yismah) is normally translated “to make glad; to rejoice.” But with “light” as the subject, it has the connotation “to shine brightly” (see G. R. Driver, “Problems in the Hebrew Text of Proverbs,” Bib 32 : 180).
[13:9] tn The verb דָּעַךְ (da’akh) means “to go out [in reference to a fire or lamp]; to be extinguished.” The idea is that of being made extinct, snuffed out (cf. NIV, NLT). The imagery may have been drawn from the sanctuary where the flame was to be kept burning perpetually. Not so with the wicked.
[13:10] 228 tn The Niphal of יָעַץ (ya’ats, “to advise; to counsel”) means “to consult together; to take counsel.” It means being well-advised, receiving advice or consultation (cf. NCV “those who take advice are wise”).
[13:11] 229 tc The MT reads מֵהֵבֶל (mehevel, “from vanity”). The Greek and Latin versions (followed by RSV) reflect מְבֹהָל (mÿvohal, “in haste”) which exhibits metathesis. MT is the more difficult reading and therefore preferred. The alternate reading fits the parallelism better, but is therefore a less difficult reading.
[13:11] tn Heb “wealth from vanity” (cf. KJV, ASV). The term הֶבֶל (hevel) literally means “vapor” and figuratively refers to that which is unsubstantial, fleeting, or amount to nothing (BDB 210 s.v.). Used in antithesis with the expression “little by little,” it means either “without working for it” or “quickly.” Some English versions assume dishonest gain (cf. NASB, NIV, CEV).
[13:11] 230 tn Heb “will become small.” The verb מָעָט (ma’at) means “to become small; to become diminished; to become few.” Money gained without work will diminish quickly, because it was come by too easily. The verb forms a precise contrast with רָבָה (ravah), “to become much; to become many,” but in the Hiphil, “to multiply; to make much many; to cause increase.”
[13:13] 238 tn Heb “the word.” The term “word” means teaching in general; its parallel “command” indicates that it is the more forceful instruction that is meant. Both of these terms are used for scripture.
[13:13] 239 tc The MT reads יֵחָבֶל (yekhavel, “he will pay [for it]”; cf. NAB, NIV) but the BHS editors suggest revocalizing the text to יְחֻבָּל (yÿkhubal, “he will be broken [for it]”; cf. NRSV “bring destruction on themselves”).
[13:13] tn Heb “will be pledged to it.” The Niphal of I חָבַל (khaval) “to pledge” means “to be under pledge to pay the penalty” (BDB 286 s.v. Niph). Whoever despises teaching will be treated as a debtor – he will pay for it if he offends against the law.
[13:14] 246 tn Heb “fountain of life” (so KJV, NAB, NIV, NRSV). The genitive חַיִּים (khayyim) functions as a genitive of material, similar to the expression “fountain of water.” The metaphor means that the teaching of the wise is life-giving. The second colon is the consequence of the first, explaining this metaphor.
[13:14] 249 tn Heb “snares of death” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT). The genitive מָוֶת (mavet) functions as an attributive adjective. The term “snares” makes an implied comparison with hunting; death is like a hunter. W. McKane compares the idea to the Ugaritic god Mot, the god of death, carrying people off to the realm of the departed (Proverbs [OTL], 455). The expression could also mean that the snares lead to death.
[13:15] 253 tc The MT reads אֵיתָן (’etan, “enduring; permanent; perennial”; BDB 450 s.v. יתן 1). Several scholars suggest that the text here is corrupt and the reading should be “harsh; hard; firm; rugged” (BDB 450 s.v. 2). G. R. Driver suggested that לֹא (lo’, “not”) was dropped before the word by haplography and so the meaning would have been not “enduring” but “passing away” (“Problems in the Hebrew Text of Proverbs,” Bib 32 : 181). The LXX, Syriac, and Tg. Prov 13:15 reflect a Hebrew Vorlage of תֹאבֵד (to’ved) “are destroyed.” The BHS editors suggest emending the text to אֵידָם (’edam) “their calamity” from אֵיד (’ed, “calamity, distress”; BDB 15 s.v.): “the way of the faithless [leads to] their calamity.” The idea of “harsh” or “hard” could also be drawn from a meaning of the word in the MT meaning “firm,” that is, enduring.
[13:16] 255 tn Heb “spreads open” [his folly]. W. McKane suggests that this is a figure of a peddler displaying his wares (Proverbs [OTL], 456; cf. NAB “the fool peddles folly”). If given a chance, a fool will reveal his foolishness in public. But the wise study the facts and make decisions accordingly.
[13:17] 257 tn The RSV changes this to a Hiphil to read, “plunges [men] into trouble.” But the text simply says the wicked messenger “falls into trouble,” perhaps referring to punishment for his bad service.
[13:17] 259 tn Heb “an envoy of faithfulness.” The genitive אֱמוּנִים (’emunim, “faithfulness”) functions as an attributive adjective: “faithful envoy.” The plural form אמונים (literally, “faithfulnesses”) is characteristic of abstract nouns. The term “envoy” (צִיר, tsir) suggests that the person is in some kind of government service (e.g., Isa 18:2; Jer 49:14; cf. KJV, ASV “ambassador”). This individual can be trusted to “bring healing” – be successful in the mission. The wisdom literature of the ancient Neat East has much to say about messengers.
[13:18] 263 sn Honor and success are contrasted with poverty and shame; the key to enjoying the one and escaping the other is discipline and correction. W. McKane, Proverbs (OTL), 456, notes that it is a difference between a man of weight (power and wealth, from the idea of “heavy” for “honor”) and the man of straw (lowly esteemed and poor).
[13:19] 264 tn Heb “an abomination of fools.” The noun כְּסִילִים (kÿsilim, “fools”) functions as a subjective genitive: “fools hate to turn away from evil” (cf. NAB, TEV, CEV). T. T. Perowne says: “In spite of the sweetness of good desires accomplished, fools will not forsake evil to attain it” (Proverbs, 103). Cf. Prov 13:12; 29:27.
[13:20] 265 tn Heb “walks.” When used with the preposition אֶת (’et, “with”), the verb הָלַךְ (halakh, “to walk”) means “to associate with” someone (BDB 234 s.v. הָלַךְ II.3.b; e.g., Mic 6:8; Job 34:8). The active participle of הָלַךְ (“to walk”) stresses continual, durative action. One should stay in close association with the wise, and move in the same direction they do.
[13:20] 266 tn The verb form יֵרוֹעַ (yeroa’) is the Niphal imperfect of רָעַע (ra’a’), meaning “to suffer hurt.” Several have attempted to parallel the repetition in the wordplay of the first colon. A. Guillaume has “he who associates with fools will be left a fool” (“A Note on the Roots רִיע, יָרַע, and רָעַע in Hebrew,” JTS 15 : 294). Knox translated the Vulgate thus: “Fool he ends that fool befriends” (cited by D. Kidner, Proverbs [TOTC], 104).
[13:21] 267 tn Heb “evil.” The term רָעָה (ra’ah, “evil”) here functions in a metonymical sense meaning “calamity.” “Good” is the general idea of good fortune or prosperity; the opposite, “evil,” is likewise “misfortune” (cf. NAB, NIV, NRSV) or calamity.
[13:21] 268 sn This statement deals with recompense in absolute terms. It is this principle, without allowing for any of the exceptions that Proverbs itself acknowledges, that Job’s friends applied (incorrectly) to his suffering.
[13:23] 273 tn Heb “fallow ground” (so NASB). The word נִיר (nir) means “the tillable [or untilled; or fallow] ground.” BDB 644 s.v. says this line could be rendered: “abundant food [yields] the fallow ground of poor men” (i.e., with the
[13:23] 274 tc The MT reads “there is what is swept away because [there is] no justice” (וְיֵשׁ נִסְפֶּה בְּלֹא מִשְׁפָּט, vÿyesh nispeh bÿlo’ mishpat). The LXX reads “the great enjoy wealth many years, but some men perish little by little.” The Syriac reads “those who have no habitation waste wealth many years, and some waste it completely.” Tg. Prov 13:23 reads “the great man devours the land of the poor, and some men are taken away unjustly.” The Vulgate has “there is much food in the fresh land of the fathers, and for others it is collected without judgment.” C. H. Toy says that the text is corrupt (Proverbs [ICC], 277). Nevertheless, the MT makes sense: The ground could produce enough food for people if there were no injustice in the land. Poverty is unnecessary as long as there is justice and not injustice.
[13:24] 275 sn R. N. Whybray cites an Egyptian proverb that says that “boys have their ears on their backsides; they listen when they are beaten” (Proverbs [CBC], 80). Cf. Prov 4:3-4, 10-11; Eph 6:4; Heb 12:5-11.
[13:24] 276 sn The importance of parental disciplining is stressed by the verbs “hate” and “love.” “Hating” a child in this sense means in essence abandoning or rejecting him; “loving” a child means embracing and caring for him. Failure to discipline a child is tantamount to hating him – not caring about his character.
[13:24] 279 tn Heb “seeks him.” The verb שָׁחַר (shahar, “to be diligent; to do something early”; BDB 1007 s.v.) could mean “to be diligent to discipline,” or “to be early or prompt in disciplining.” See G. R. Driver, “Hebrew Notes on Prophets and Proverbs,” JTS 41 (1940): 170.
[13:25] 282 tn Heb “he will lack.” The term “food” is supplied in the translation as a clarification. The wicked may go hungry, or lack all they desire, just as the first colon may mean that what the righteous acquire proves satisfying to them.
[14:1] 283 tn Heb “wise ones of women.” The construct phrase חַכְמוֹת נָשִׁים (khakhmot nashim) features a wholistic genitive: “wise women.” The plural functions in a distributive sense: “every wise woman.” The contrast is between wise and foolish women (e.g., Prov 7:10-23; 31:10-31).
[14:2] 287 tn Heb “crooked of ways”; NRSV “devious in conduct.” This construct phrase features a genitive of specification: “crooked in reference to his ways.” The term “ways” is an idiom for moral conduct. The evidence that people fear the
[14:3] 290 tc The MT reads גַּאֲוָה (ga’avah, “pride”) which creates an awkward sense “in the mouth of a fool is a rod of pride” (cf. KJV, ASV). The BHS editors suggest emending the form to גֵּוֹה (“disciplining-rod”) to create tighter parallelism and irony: “in the mouth of a fool is a rod for the back” (e.g., Prov 10:13). What the fools says will bring discipline.
[14:3] tn Heb “a rod of back.” The noun גֵּוֹה functions as a genitive of specification: “a rod for his back.” The fool is punished because of what he says.
[14:4] 292 tn Heb “the strength of oxen.” The genitive שׁוֹר (shor, “oxen”) functions as an attributed genitive: “strong oxen.” Strong oxen are indispensable for a good harvest, and for oxen to be strong they must be well-fed. The farmer has to balance grain consumption with the work oxen do.
[14:5] 295 sn This saying addresses the problem of legal testimony: A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness does lie – naturally. The first colon uses the verb כָּזַב (kazav, “to lie”) and the second colon uses the noun כָּזָב (kazav, “lie; falsehood”).
[14:6] 296 sn The “scorner” (לֵץ, lets) is intellectually arrogant; he lacks any serious interest in knowledge or religion. He pursues wisdom in a superficial way so that he can appear wise. The acquisition of wisdom is conditioned by one’s attitude toward it (J. H. Greenstone, Proverbs, 149).
[14:7] 301 tc The MT reads וּבַל־יָדַעְתָּ (uval-yada’ta, “you did not know [the lips of knowledge]).” It must mean that one should leave the fool because he did not receive knowledge from what fools said. Tg. Prov 14:7 freely interprets the verse: “for there is no knowledge on his lips.” The LXX reflects a Hebrew Vorlage of וּכְלֵי־דַעַת (ukhÿle-da’at, “[wise lips] are weapons of discretion”). The textual variant involves wrong word division and orthographic confusion between ב (bet) and כ (kaf). C. H. Toy emends the text: “for his lips do not utter knowledge” as in 15:7 (Proverbs [ICC], 285). The MT is workable and more difficult.
[14:7] 302 tn Heb “lips of knowledge” (so KJV, ASV). “Lips” is the metonymy of cause, and “knowledge” is an objective genitive (speaking knowledge) or attributive genitive (knowledgeable speech): “wise counsel.”
[14:8] 305 tn The word means “deception,” but some suggest “self-deception” here (W. McKane, Proverbs [OTL], 466; and D. W. Thomas, “Textual and Philological Notes on Some Passages in the Book of Proverbs,” VTSup 3 : 286); cf. NLT “fools deceive themselves.” The parallelism would favor this, but there is little support for it. The word usually means “craft practiced on others.” If the line is saying the fool is deceitful, there is only a loose antithesis between the cola.
[14:9] 306 tn The noun “fools” is plural but the verb “mock” is singular. This has led some to reverse the line to say “guilty/guilt offering mocks fools” (C. H. Toy, Proverbs [ICC], 287); see, e.g., Isa 1:14; Amos 5:22. But lack of agreement between subject and verb is not an insurmountable difficulty.
[14:9] tn Heb “guilt.” The word אָשָׁם (’asham) has a broad range of meanings: “guilt; reparation.” According to Leviticus, when someone realized he was guilty he would bring a “reparation offering,” a sin offering with an additional tribute for restitution (Lev 5:1-6). It would be left up to the guilty to come forward; it was for the kind of thing that only he would know, for which his conscience would bother him. Fools mock any need or attempt to make things right, to make restitution (cf. NIV, NRSV, NCV, TEV).
[14:9] 308 tn The word רָצוֹן (ratson) means “favor; acceptance; pleasing.” It usually means what is pleasing or acceptable to God. In this passage it either means that the upright try to make amends, or that the upright find favor for doing so.
[14:10] 311 tn The verb is the Hitpael of II עָרַב (’arav), which means “to take in pledge; to give in pledge; to exchange.” Here it means “to share [in].” The proverb is saying that there are joys and sorrows that cannot be shared. No one can truly understand the deepest feelings of another.
[14:11] sn Personal integrity ensures domestic stability and prosperity, while lack of such integrity (= wickedness) will lead to the opposite.
[14:12] sn The proverb recalls the ways of the adulterous woman in chapters 1-9, and so the translation of “man” is retained. The first line does not say that the “way” that seems right is “vice,” but the second line clarifies that. The individual can rationalize all he wants, but the result is still the same. The proverb warns that any evil activity can take any number of ways (plural) to destruction.
[14:12] 315 tn Heb “the ways of death” (so KJV, ASV). This construct phrase features a genitive of destiny: “ways that lead to [or, end in] death.” Here death means ruin (e.g., Prov 7:27; 16:25). The LXX adds “Hades,” but the verse seems to be concerned with events of this life.
[14:14] 319 tn Heb “a turning away of heart.” The genitive לֵב (lev, “heart”) functions as an attributive adjective: “a backslidden heart.” The term סוּג (sug) means “to move away; to move backwards; to depart; to backslide” (BDB 690 s.v. I סוּג). This individual is the one who backslides, that is, who departs from the path of righteousness.
[14:14] 320 tn Heb “will be filled”; cf. KJV, ASV. The verb (“to be filled, to be satisfied”) here means “to be repaid,” that is, to partake in his own evil ways. His faithlessness will come back to haunt him.
[14:15] 322 sn The contrast is with the simpleton and the shrewd. The simpleton is the young person who is untrained morally or intellectually, and therefore gullible. The shrewd one is the prudent person, the one who has the ability to make critical discriminations.
[14:17] 327 sn The proverb discusses two character traits that are distasteful to others – the quick tempered person (“short of anger” or impatient) and the crafty person (“man of devices”). C. H. Toy thinks that the proverb is antithetical and renders it “but a wise man endures” (Proverbs [ICC], 292). In other words, the quick-tempered person acts foolishly and loses people’s respect, but the wise man does not.
[14:17] 329 tc The LXX reads “endures” (from נָשָׂא, nasa’) rather than “is hated” (from שָׂנֵא, sane’). This change seems to have arisen on the assumption that a contrast was needed. It has: “a man of thought endures.” Other versions take מְזִמּוֹת (mÿzimmot) in a good sense; but antithetical parallelism is unwarranted here.
[14:18] 330 tc G. R. Driver, however, proposed reading the verb as “are adorned” from הלה (“Problems in the Hebrew Text of Proverbs,” Bib 32 : 181). A similar reading is followed by a number of English versions (e.g., NAB, NRSV, NLT).
[14:18] sn The proverb anticipates what the simple will receive, assuming they remain simpletons.
[14:18] 332 tn The meaning of יַכְתִּרוּ (yakhtiru, Hiphil imperfect of כָּתַר, katar) is elusive. It may not mean “to be crowned” or “to crown themselves,” but “to encircle” or “to embrace.” BDB 509 s.v. כָּתַר Hiph suggests “to throw out crowns” (throw out knowledge as a crown) or “to encompass knowledge,” i.e., possess it (parallel to inherit).
[14:19] 333 tn Many versions nuance the perfect tense verb שָׁחַח (shakhakh) as a characteristic perfect. But the proverb suggests that the reality lies in the future. So the verb is best classified as a prophetic perfect (cf. NASB, NIV, CEV, NLT): Ultimately the wicked will acknowledge and serve the righteous – a point the prophets make.
[14:20] 336 tn Heb “hated.” The verse is just a statement of fact. The verbs “love” and “hate” must be seen in their connotations: The poor are rejected, avoided, shunned – that is, hated; but the rich are sought after, favored, embraced – that is, loved.
[14:22] 337 sn The verb חָרַשׁ (kharash) means (1) literally: “to cut in; to engrave; to plow,” describing the work of a craftsman; and (2) figuratively: “to devise,” describing the mental activity of planning evil (what will harm people) in the first colon, and planning good (what will benefit them) in the second colon.
[14:23] 340 sn The Hebrew term עֶצֶב (’etsev, “painful toil; labor”) is first used in scripture in Gen 3:19 to describe the effects of the Fall. The point here is that people should be more afraid of idle talk than of hard labor.
[14:23] 341 tn Heb “word of lips.” This construct phrase features a genitive of source (“a word from the lips”) or a subjective genitive (“speaking a word”). Talk without work (which produces nothing) is contrasted with labor that produces something.
[14:23] 343 sn The noun מַחְסוֹר (makhsor, “need; thing needed; poverty”) comes from the verb “to lack; to be lacking; to decrease; to need.” A person given to idle talk rather than industrious work will have needs that go unmet.
[14:24] 344 sn C. H. Toy suggests that this line probably means that wealth is an ornament to those who use it well (Proverbs [ICC], 269). J. H. Greenstone suggests that it means that the wisdom of the wise, which is their crown of glory, constitutes their wealth (Proverbs, 155).
[14:24] 345 tc The MT reads אִוֶלֶת (’ivelet, “folly”). The editors of BHS propose emending the text to וְלִוְיַת (vÿlivyat, “but the wealth”), as suggested by the LXX. See M. Rotenberg, “The Meaning of אִוֶּלֶת in Proverbs,” LesŒ 25 (1960-1961): 201. A similar emendation is followed by NAB (“the diadem”) and NRSV (“the garland”).
[14:25] sn The setting of this proverb is the courtroom. One who tells the truth “saves” (מַצִּיל [matsil, “rescues; delivers”]) the lives of those falsely accused.
[14:25] 349 tc Several commentators suggest emending the text from the noun מִרְמָה (mirmah, “deception”) to the participle מְרַמֶּה (mÿrameh, “destroys”). However, this revocalization is not necessary because the MT makes sense as it stands: A false witness destroys lives.
[14:26] 352 sn The fear of the
[14:27] 356 tn The infinitive construct with prefixed ל (lamed) indicates the purpose/result of the first line; it could also function epexegetically, explaining how fear is a fountain: “by turning….”
[14:28] 361 sn The word means “ruin; destruction,” but in this context it could be a metonymy of effect, the cause being an attack by more numerous people that will bring ruin to the ruler. The proverb is purely a practical and secular saying, unlike some of the faith teachings in salvation history passages.
[14:30] 364 tn Heb “heart of healing.” The genitive מַרְפֵּא (marpe’, “healing”) functions as an attributive adjective: “a healing heart.” The term לֵב (lev, “heart”) is a metonymy for the emotional state of a person (BDB 660 s.v. 6). A healthy spirit is tranquil, bringing peace to the body (J. H. Greenstone, Proverbs, 158).
[14:30] 366 tn The term קִנְאָה (qin’ah, “envy”) refers to passionate zeal or “jealousy” (so NAB, NCV, TEV, NLT), depending on whether the object is out of bounds or within one’s rights. In the good sense one might be consumed with zeal to defend the institutions of the sanctuary. But as envy or jealousy the word describes an intense and sometimes violent excitement and desire that is never satisfied.
[14:30] 367 tn Heb “rottenness of bones.” The term “bones” may be a synecdoche representing the entire body; it is in contrast with “flesh” of the first colon. One who is consumed with envy finds no tranquility or general sense of health in body or spirit.
[14:31] 368 tn The verb עָשַׁק (’ashaq) normally means “to oppress” (as in many English versions). However, here it might mean “to slander.” See J. A. Emerton, “Notes on Some Passages in the Book of Proverbs,” JTS 20 (1969): 202-22.
[14:31] 369 sn In the Piel this verb has the meaning of “to reproach; to taunt; to say sharp things against” someone (cf. NIV “shows contempt for”). By oppressing the poor one taunts or mistreats God because that person is in the image of God – hence the reference to the “Creator.” To ridicule what God made is to ridicule God himself.
[14:31] 370 sn The phrase “shows favor” is contrasted with the term “oppresses.” To “show favor” means to be gracious to (or treat kindly) those who do not deserve it or cannot repay it. It is treatment that is gratis. This honors God because he commanded it to be done (Prov 14:21; 17:5; 19:17).
[14:32] 371 tn The prepositional phrase must be “in his time of trouble” (i.e., when catastrophe comes). Cf. CEV “In times of trouble the wicked are destroyed.” A wicked person has nothing to fall back on in such times.
[14:32] 373 tc The LXX reads this as “in his integrity,” as if it were בְּתוּמּוֹ (bÿtumo) instead of “in his death” (בְּמוֹתוֹ, bÿmoto). The LXX is followed by some English versions (e.g., NAB “in his honesty,” NRSV “in their integrity,” and TEV “by their integrity”).
[14:32] tn Heb “in his death.” The term “death” may function as a metonymy of effect for a life-threatening situation.
[14:33] 374 tn The LXX negates the clause, saying it is “not known in fools” (cf. NAB, NRSV, TEV, NLT). Thomas connects the verb to the Arabic root wd` and translates it “in fools it is suppressed.” See D. W. Thomas, “The Root ידע in Hebrew,” JTS 35 (1934): 302-3.
[14:33] sn The second line may be ironic or sarcastic. The fool, eager to appear wise, blurts out what seems to be wisdom, but in the process turns it to folly. The contrast is that wisdom resides with people who have understanding.
[14:34] 376 sn The verb תְּרוֹמֵם (tÿromem, translated “exalts”) is a Polel imperfect; it means “to lift up; to raise up; to elevate.” Here the upright dealings of the leaders and the people will lift up the people. The people’s condition in that nation will be raised.
[14:34] 377 tn The term is the homonymic root II חֶסֶד (khesed, “shame; reproach”; BDB 340 s.v.), as reflected by the LXX translation. Rabbinic exegesis generally took it as I חֶסֶד (“loyal love; kindness”) as if it said, “even the kindness of some nations is a sin because they do it only for a show” (so Rashi, a Jewish scholar who lived
[14:35] 379 sn The wise servant is shown favor, while the shameful servant is shown anger. Two Hiphil participles make the contrast: מַשְׂכִּיל (maskil, “wise”) and מֵבִישׁ (mevish, “one who acts shamefully”). The wise servant is a delight and enjoys the favor of the king because he is skillful and clever. The shameful one botches his duties; his indiscretions and incapacity expose the master to criticism (W. McKane, Proverbs [OTL], 470).
[15:1] 381 tn Heb “soft answer.” The adjective רַּךְ (rakh, “soft; tender; gentle”; BDB 940 s.v.) is more than a mild response; it is conciliatory, an answer that restores good temper and reasonableness (W. McKane, Proverbs [OTL], 477). Gideon illustrates this kind of answer (Judg 8:1-3) that brings peace.
[15:1] 382 tn Heb “word of harshness”; KJV “grievous words.” The noun עֶצֶב (’etsev, “pain, hurt”) functions as an attributive genitive. The term עֶצֶב refers to something that causes pain (BDB 780 s.v. I עֶצֶב). For example, Jephthah’s harsh answer led to war (Judg 12:1-6).
[15:2] 384 sn The contrast is between the “tongue of the wise” and the “mouth of the fool.” Both expressions are metonymies of cause; the subject matter is what they say. How wise people are can be determined from what they say.
[15:2] 385 tn Or “makes knowledge acceptable” (so NASB). The verb תֵּיטִיב (tetiv, Hiphil imperfect of יָטַב [yatav, “to be good”]) can be translated “to make good” or “to treat in a good [or, excellent] way” (C. H. Toy, Proverbs [ICC], 303). M. Dahood, however, suggests emending the text to תֵּיטִיף (tetif) which is a cognate of נָטַף (nataf, “drip”), and translates “tongues of the sages drip with knowledge” (Proverbs and Northwest Semitic Philology, 32-33). But this change is gratuitous and unnecessary.
[15:4] 393 tn Heb “perversion in it.” The referent must be the tongue, so this has been supplied in the translation for clarity. A tongue that is twisted, perverse, or deceitful is a way of describing deceitful speech. Such words will crush the spirit (e.g., Isa 65:14).
[15:6] 396 sn The Hebrew noun חֹסֶן (khosen) means “wealth; treasure.” Prosperity is the reward for righteousness. This is true only in so far as a proverb can be carried in its application, allowing for exceptions. The Greek text for this verse has no reference for wealth, but talks about amassing righteousness.
[15:6] 397 tn Heb “will be troubled.” The function of the Niphal participle may be understood in two ways: (1) substantival use: abstract noun meaning “disturbance, calamity” (BDB 747 s.v. עָכַר) or passive noun meaning “thing troubled,” or (2) verbal use: “will be troubled” (HALOT 824 s.v. עכר nif).
[15:7] 398 tc The verb of the first colon is difficult because it does not fit the second very well – a heart does not “scatter” or “spread” knowledge. On the basis of the LXX, C. H. Toy (Proverbs [ICC], 305) suggests a change to יִצְּרוּ (yitsÿru, “they preserve”). The Greek evidence, however, is not strong. For the second line the LXX has “hearts of fools are not safe,” apparently taking לֹא־כֵן (lo’-khen) as “unstable” instead of “not so.” So it seems futile to use the Greek version to modify the first colon to make a better parallel, when the Greek has such a different reading in the second colon anyway.
[15:8] 400 tn Heb “an abomination of the
[15:8] 402 sn The sacrifices of the wicked are hated by the
[15:8] 403 sn J. H. Greenstone notes that if God will accept the prayers of the upright, he will accept their sacrifices; for sacrifice is an outer ritual and easily performed even by the wicked, but prayer is a private and inward act and not usually fabricated by unbelievers (Proverbs, 162).
[15:9] 407 sn God hates the way of the wicked, that is, their lifestyle and things they do. God loves those who pursue righteousness, the Piel verb signifying a persistent pursuit. W. G. Plaut says, “He who loves God will be moved to an active, persistent, and even dangerous search for justice” (Proverbs, 170).
[15:10] 408 tn The two lines are parallel synonymously, so the “severe discipline” of the first colon is parallel to “will die” of the second. The expression מוּסָר רָע (musar ra’, “severe discipline”) indicates a discipline that is catastrophic or harmful to life.
[15:10] 409 sn If this line and the previous line are synonymous, then the one who abandons the way also refuses any correction, and so there is severe punishment. To abandon the way means to leave the life of righteousness which is the repeated subject of the book of Proverbs.
[15:11] 410 tn Heb “Sheol and Abaddon” (שְׁאוֹל וַאֲבַדּוֹן (shÿ’ol va’adon); so ASV, NASB, NRSV; cf. KJV “Hell and destruction”; NAB “the nether world and the abyss.” These terms represent the remote underworld and all the mighty powers that reside there (e.g., Prov 27:20; Job 26:6; Ps 139:8; Amos 9:2; Rev 9:11). The
[15:11] 411 tn The construction אַף כִּי (’af ki, “how much more!”) introduces an argument from the lesser to the greater: If all this is open before the
[15:12] 414 tn The form הוֹכֵחַ (hokheakh) is a Hiphil infinitive absolute. It could function as the object of the verb (cf. NIV, NRSV) or as a finite verb (cf. KJV, NASB, NLT). The latter has been chosen here because of the prepositional phrase following it, although that is not a conclusive argument.
[15:13] 416 tn The contrast in this proverb is between the “joyful heart” (Heb “a heart of joy,” using an attributive genitive) and the “painful heart” (Heb “pain of the heart,” using a genitive of specification).
[15:13] 417 sn The verb יֵיטִב (yetiv) normally means “to make good,” but here “to make the face good,” that is, there is a healthy, favorable, uplifted expression. The antithesis is the pained heart that crushes the spirit. C. H. Toy observes that a broken spirit is expressed by a sad face, while a cheerful face shows a courageous spirit (Proverbs [ICC], 308).
[15:14] 418 tn The idea expressed in the second colon does not make a strong parallelism with the first with its emphasis on seeking knowledge. Its poetic image of feeding (a hypocatastasis) would signify the acquisition of folly – the fool has an appetite for it. D. W. Thomas suggests the change of one letter, ר (resh) to ד (dalet), to obtain a reading יִדְעֶה (yid’eh); this he then connects to an Arabic root da`a with the meaning “sought, demanded” to form what he thinks is a better parallel (“Textual and Philological Notes on Some Passages in the Book of Proverbs,” VTSup 3 : 285). But even though the parallelism is not as precise as some would prefer, there is insufficient warrant for such a change.
[15:15] sn The parallelism suggests that the afflicted is one afflicted within his spirit, for the proverb is promoting a healthy frame of mind.
[15:15] 423 sn The image of a continual feast signifies the enjoyment of what life offers (cf. TEV “happy people…enjoy life”). The figure is a hypocatastasis; among its several implications are joy, fulfillment, abundance, pleasure.
[15:16] 424 sn One of the frequent characteristics of wisdom literature is the “better” saying; it is a comparison of different but similar things to determine which is to be preferred. These two verses focus on spiritual things being better than troubled material things.
[15:16] 426 sn Not all wealth has turmoil with it. But the proverb is focusing on the comparison of two things – fear of the
[15:17] 428 sn Again the saying concerns troublesome wealth: Loving relationships with simple food are better than a feast where there is hatred. The ideal, of course, would be loving family and friends with a great meal in addition, but this proverb is only comparing two things.
[15:18] 429 tn Heb “a man of wrath”; KJV, ASV “a wrathful man.” The term “wrath” functions as an attributive genitive: “an angry person.” He is contrasted with the “slow of anger,” so he is a “quick-tempered person” (cf. NLT “a hothead”).
[15:18] 431 tn The Hiphil verb יַשְׁקִיט (yashqit) means “to cause quietness; to pacify; to allay” the strife or quarrel (cf. NAB “allays discord”). This type of person goes out of his way to keep things calm and minimize contention; his opposite thrives on disagreement and dispute.
[15:18] 432 sn The fact that רִיב (riv) is used for “quarrel; strife” strongly implies that the setting is the courtroom or other legal setting (the gates of the city). The hot-headed person is eager to turn every disagreement into a legal case.
[15:19] 433 tn Heb “like an overgrowth”; NRSV “overgrown with thorns”; cf. CEV “like walking in a thorn patch.” The point of the simile is that the path of life taken by the lazy person has many obstacles that are painful – it is like trying to break through a hedge of thorns. The LXX has “strewn with thorns.”
[15:19] 435 sn The contrast to the “thorny way” is the highway, the Hebrew word signifying a well built-up road (סָלַל, salal, “to heap up”). The upright have no reason to swerve, duck, or detour, but may expect “clear sailing.” Other passages pair these two concepts, e.g., Prov 6:10; 10:26; 28:19.
[15:20] 438 sn The proverb is almost the same as 10:1, except that “despises” replaces “grief.” This adds the idea of the callousness of the one who inflicts grief on his mother (D. Kidner, Proverbs [TOTC], 116).
[15:21] 439 tn The Hebrew text reads לַחֲסַר־לֵב (lakhasar-lev, “to one who lacks heart”). The Hebrew term “heart” represents the mind, the place where proper decisions are made (cf. NIV “judgment”). The one who has not developed this ability to make proper choices finds great delight in folly.
[15:21] 441 tn The Hebrew construction is יְיַשֶּׁר־לָכֶת (yÿyasher-lakhet, “makes straight [to] go”). This is a verbal hendiadys, in which the first verb, the Piel imperfect, becomes adverbial, and the second form, the infinitive construct of הָלַךְ, halakh, becomes the main verb: “goes straight ahead” (cf. NRSV).
[15:22] 442 tn Heb “go wrong” (so NRSV, NLT). The verb is the Hiphil infinitive absolute from פָּרַר, parar, which means “to break; to frustrate; to go wrong” (HALOT 975 s.v. I פרר 2). The plans are made ineffectual or are frustrated when there is insufficient counsel.
[15:23] 445 tn Heb “in the answer of his mouth” (so ASV); NASB “in an apt answer.” The term “mouth” is a metonymy of cause for what he says. But because the parallelism is loosely synonymous, the answer given here must be equal to the good word spoken in season. So it is an answer that is proper or fitting.
[15:24] 447 tn There is disagreement over the meaning of the term translated “upward.” The verse is usually taken to mean that “upward” is a reference to physical life and well-being (cf. NCV), and “going down to Sheol” is a reference to physical death, that is, the grave, because the concept of immortality is said not to appear in the book of Proverbs. The proverb then would mean that the wise live long and healthy lives. But W. McKane argues (correctly) that “upwards” in contrast to Sheol, does not fit the ways of describing the worldly pattern of conduct and that it is only intelligible if taken as a reference to immortality (Proverbs [OTL], 480). The translations “upwards” and “downwards” are not found in the LXX. This has led some commentators to speculate that these terms were not found in the original, but were added later, after the idea of immortality became prominent. However, this is mere speculation.
[15:25] 451 sn The “proud” have to be understood here in contrast to the widow, and their “house” has to be interpreted in contrast to the widow’s territory. The implication may be that the “proud” make their gain from the needy, and so God will set the balance right.
[15:25] 452 sn The
[15:26] 454 tn The noun מַחְשְׁבוֹת (makhshÿvot) means “thoughts” (so KJV, NIV, NLT), from the verb חָשַׁב (khashav, “to think; to reckon; to devise”). So these are intentions, what is being planned (cf. NAB “schemes”).
[15:26] 456 sn The contrast is between the “thoughts” and the “words.” The thoughts that are designed to hurt people the
[15:26] 457 tc The MT simply has “but pleasant words are pure” (Heb “but pure [plural] are the words of pleasantness”). Some English versions add “to him” to make the connection to the first part (cf. NAB, NIV). The LXX has: “the sayings of the pure are held in honor.” The Vulgate has: “pure speech will be confirmed by him as very beautiful.” The NIV has paraphrased here: “but those of the pure are pleasing to him.”
[15:27] 458 tn Heb “the one who gains.” The phrase בּוֹצֵעַ בָּצַע (botseakh batsa’) is a participle followed by its cognate accusative. This refers to a person who is always making the big deal, getting the larger cut, or in a hurry to get rich. The verb, though, makes it clear that the gaining of a profit is by violence and usually unjust, since the root has the idea of “cut off; break off; gain by violence.” The line is contrasted with hating bribes, and so the gain in this line may be through bribery.
[15:27] 459 sn The participle “troubles” (עֹכֵר, ’okher) can have the connotation of making things difficult for the family, or completely ruining the family (cf. NAB). In Josh 7:1 Achan took some of the “banned things” and was put to death: Because he “troubled Israel,” the
[15:27] 461 tn Heb “gifts” (so KJV). Gifts can be harmless enough, but in a setting like this the idea is that the “gift” is in exchange for some “profit [or, gain].” Therefore they are bribes (cf. ASV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT), and to be hated or rejected. Abram, for example, would not take anything that the king of Sodom had to offer, “lest [he] say, “I have made Abram rich” (Gen 14:22-24).
[15:28] 462 tn The verb יֶהְגֶּה (yehgeh) means “to muse; to meditate; to consider; to study.” It also involves planning, such as with the wicked “planning” a vain thing (Ps 2:1, which is contrasted with the righteous who “meditate” in the law [1:2]).
[15:28] sn The advice of the proverb is to say less but better things. The wise – here called the righteous – are cautious in how they respond to others. They think about it (heart = mind) before speaking.
[15:29] 466 sn To say that the
[15:29] 467 sn The verb “hear” (שָׁמַע, shama’) has more of the sense of “respond to” in this context. If one “listens to the voice of the
[15:29] 468 sn God’s response to prayer is determined by the righteousness of the one who prays. A prayer of repentance by the wicked is an exception, for by it they would become the righteous (C. H. Toy, Proverbs [ICC], 316).
[15:30] 469 tc The LXX has “the eye that sees beautiful things.” D. W. Thomas suggests pointing מְאוֹר (mÿ’or) as a Hophal participle, “a fine sight cheers the mind” (“Textual and Philological Notes,” 205). But little is to be gained from this change.
[15:30] tn Heb “light of the eyes” (so KJV, NRSV). The expression may indicate the gleam in the eyes of the one who tells the good news, as the parallel clause suggests.
[15:30] 470 tn Heb “makes fat the bones”; NAB “invigorates the bones.” The word “bones” is a metonymy of subject, the bones representing the whole body. The idea of “making fat” signifies by comparison (hypocatastasis) with fat things that the body will be healthy and prosperous (e.g., Prov 17:22; 25:25; Gen 45:27-28; and Isa 52:7-8). Good news makes the person feel good in body and soul.
[15:32] 477 tn The Hebrew text reads קוֹנֶה לֵּב (qoneh lev), the participle of קָנָה (qanah, “to acquire; to possess”) with its object, “heart.” The word “heart” is frequently a metonymy of subject, meaning all the capacities of the human spirit and/or mind. Here it refers to the ability to make judgments or discernment.
[15:33] sn The idea of the first line is similar to Prov 1:7 and 9:10. Here it may mean that the fear of the
[15:33] 479 tn Heb “[is] humility” (so KJV). The second clause is a parallel idea in that it stresses how one thing leads to another – humility to honor. Humble submission in faith to the
[16:1] sn Humans may set things in order, plan out what they are going to say, but God sovereignly enables them to put their thoughts into words.
[16:1] 484 sn There are two ways this statement can be taken: (1) what one intends to say and what one actually says are the same, or (2) what one actually says differs from what the person intended to say. The second view fits the contrast better. The proverb then is giving a glimpse of how God even confounds the wise. When someone is trying to speak [“answer” in the book seems to refer to a verbal answer] before others, the
[16:2] 486 sn The Hebrew term translated “right” (z~E) means “innocent” (NIV) or “pure” (NAB, NRSV, NLT). It is used in the Bible for pure oils or undiluted liquids; here it means unmixed actions. Therefore on the one hand people rather naively conclude that their actions are fine.
[16:2] 488 tn The figure (a hypocatastasis) of “weighing” signifies “evaluation” (e.g., Exod 5:8; 1 Sam 2:3; 16:7; Prov 21:2; 24:12). There may be an allusion to the Egyptian belief of weighing the heart after death to determine righteousness. But in Hebrew thought it is an ongoing evaluation as well, not merely an evaluation after death.
[16:2] sn Humans deceive themselves rather easily and so appear righteous in their own eyes; but the proverb says that God evaluates motives and so he alone can determine if the person’s ways are innocent.
[16:3] tn Heb “roll.” The verb גֹּל (“to commit”) is from the root גָּלַל (“to roll”). The figure of rolling (an implied comparison or hypocatastasis), as in rolling one’s burdens on the
[16:3] 492 tn The syntax of the second clause shows that there is subordination: The vav on וְיִכֹּנוּ (vÿyikonu) coming after the imperative of the first clause expresses that this clause is the purpose or result. People should commit their works in order that the
[16:4] 494 tn Heb “for its answer.” The term לַמַּעֲנֵהוּ (lamma’anehu) has been taken to mean either “for his purpose” or “for its answer.” The Hebrew word is מַעֲנֶה (ma’aneh, “answer”) and not לְמַעַן (lÿma’an, “purpose”). So the suffix likely refers to “everything” (כֹּל, kol). God ensures that everyone’s actions and the consequences of those actions correspond – certainly the wicked for the day of calamity. In God’s order there is just retribution for every act.
[16:4] 495 sn This is an example of synthetic parallelism (“A, what’s more B”). The A-line affirms a truth, and the B-line expands on it with a specific application about the wicked – whatever disaster comes their way is an appropriate correspondent for their life.
[16:5] 497 tn Heb “every proud of heart”; NIV “all the proud of heart.” “Heart” is the genitive of specification; the phrase is talking about people who have proud hearts, whose ideas are arrogant. These are people who set themselves presumptuously against God (e.g., 2 Chr 26:16; Ps 131:1; Prov 18:12).
[16:5] 499 tc The LXX has inserted two couplets here: “The beginning of a good way is to do justly, // and it is more acceptable with God than to do sacrifices; // he who seeks the
[16:5] tn The B-line continues the A-line, but explains what it means that they are an abomination to the
[16:6] 500 sn These two words are often found together to form a nominal hendiadys: “faithful loyal love.” The couplet often characterize the
[16:6] 501 tn Heb “is atoned”; KJV “is purged”; NAB “is expiated.” The verb is from I כָּפַר (kafar, “to atone; to expiate; to pacify; to appease”; HALOT 493-94 s.v. I כפר). This root should not be confused with the identically spelled Homonym II כָּפַר (kafar, “to cover over”; HALOT 494 s.v. II *כפר). Atonement in the OT expiated sins, it did not merely cover them over (cf. NLT). C. H. Toy explains the meaning by saying it affirms that the divine anger against sin is turned away and man’s relation to God is as though he had not sinned (Proverbs [ICC], 322). Genuine repentance, demonstrated by loyalty and truthfulness, appeases the anger of God against one’s sin.
[16:6] 504 sn The Hebrew word translated “evil” (רַע, ra’) can in some contexts mean “calamity” or “disaster,” but here it seems more likely to mean “evil” in the sense of sin. Faithfulness to the
[16:7] 506 tn The first line uses an infinitive in a temporal clause, followed by its subject in the genitive case: “in the taking pleasure of the
[16:7] 507 tn The referent of the verb in the second colon is unclear. The straightforward answer is that it refers to the person whose ways please the
[16:8] 509 sn The lines contrast the modest income with the abundant income; but the real contrast is between righteousness and the lack of justice (or injustice). “Justice” is used for both legal justice and ethical conduct. It is contrasted with righteousness in 12:5 and 21:7; it describes ethical behavior in 21:3. Here the point is that unethical behavior tarnishes the great gain and will be judged by God.
[16:8] 510 sn This is another “better” saying; between these two things, the first is better. There are other options – such as righteousness with wealth – but the proverb is not concerned with that. A similar saying appears in Amenemope 8:19-20 (ANET 422).
[16:9] 513 tn The verb כּוּן (kun, “to establish; to confirm”) with צַעַד (tsa’ad, “step”) means “to direct” (e.g., Ps 119:133; Jer 10:23). This contrasts what people plan and what actually happens – God determines the latter.
[16:10] 515 tn Heb “oracle” (so NAB, NIV) or “decision”; TEV “the king speaks with divine authority.” The term קֶסֶם (qesem) is used in the sense of “oracle; decision; verdict” (HALOT 1115-16 s.v.). The pronouncements of a king form an oracular sentence, as if he speaks for God; they are divine decisions (e.g., Num 22:7; 23:23; 2 Sam 14:20).
[16:10] 518 sn The second line gives the effect of the first: If the king delivers such oracular sayings (קֶסֶם, qesem, translated “divine verdict”), then he must be careful in the decisions he makes. The imperfect tense then requires a modal nuance to stress the obligation of the king not to act treacherously against justice. It would also be possible to translate the verb as a jussive: Let the king not act treacherously against justice. For duties of the king, e.g., Psalm 72 and Isaiah 11. For a comparison with Ezekiel 21:23-26, see E. W. Davies, “The Meaning of qesem in Prov 16:10,” Bib 61 (1980): 554-56.
[16:11] 519 tn Heb “a scale and balances of justice.” This is an attributive genitive, meaning “just scales and balances.” The law required that scales and measures be accurate and fair (Lev 19:36; Deut 25:13). Shrewd dishonest people kept light and heavy weights to make unfair transactions.
[16:12] 521 sn The “wickedness” mentioned here (רֶשַׁע, resha’) might better be understood as a criminal act, for the related word “wicked” can also mean the guilty criminal. If a king is trying to have a righteous administration, he will detest any criminal acts.
[16:13] 524 tn Heb “lips of righteousness”; cf. NAB, NIV “honest lips.” The genitive “righteousness” functions as an attributive adjective. The term “lips” is a metonymy of cause for what is said: “righteous speech” or “righteous counsel.”
[16:13] 525 tn The MT has the singular participle followed by the plural adjective (which is here a substantive). The editors of BHS wish to follow the ancient versions in making the participle plural, “those who speak uprightly.”
[16:13] 526 sn The verse is talking about righteous kings, of course – they love righteousness and not flattery. In this proverb “righteous” and “upright” referring to what is said means “what is right and straight,” i.e., the truth (cf. NCV).
[16:14] 527 sn This proverb introduces the danger of becoming a victim of the king’s wrath (cf. CEV “if the king becomes angry, someone may die”). A wise person knows how to pacify the unexpected and irrational behavior of a king. The proverb makes the statement, and then gives the response to the subject.
[16:14] 529 tn The expression uses an implied comparison, comparing “wrath” to a messenger because it will send a message. The qualification is “death,” an objective genitive, meaning the messenger will bring death, or the message will be about death. E.g., 1 Kgs 2:25, 29-34 and 46. Some have suggested a comparison with the two messengers of Baal to the god Mot (“Death”) in the Ugaritic tablets (H. L. Ginsberg, “Baal’s Two Messengers,” BASOR 95 : 25-30). If there is an allusion, it is a very slight one. The verse simply says that the king’s wrath threatens death.
[16:14] 530 tn The verb is כָּפַּר (kapar), which means “to pacify; to appease” and “to atone; to expiate” in Levitical passages. It would take a wise person to know how to calm or pacify the wrath of a king – especially in the ancient Near East.
[16:15] 531 tn Heb “the light of the face of the king.” This expression is a way of describing the king’s brightened face, his delight in what is taking place. This would mean life for those around him.
[16:15] 533 tn Heb “latter rain” (so KJV, ASV). The favor that this expression represents is now compared to the cloud of rain that comes with the “latter” rain or harvest rain. The point is that the rain cloud was necessary for the successful harvest; likewise the king’s pleasure will ensure the success and the productivity of the people under him. E.g., also Psalm 72:15-17; the prosperity of the land is portrayed as a blessing on account of the ideal king.
[16:16] 534 tn The form קְנֹה (qÿnoh) is an infinitive; the Greek version apparently took it as a participle, and the Latin as an imperative – both working with an unpointed קנה, the letter ה (he) being unexpected in the form if it is an infinitive construct (the parallel clause has קְנוֹת [qÿnot] for the infinitive, but the ancient versions also translate that as either a participle or an imperative).
[16:16] 535 tn The form is a Niphal participle, masculine singular. If it is modifying “understanding” it should be a feminine form. If it is to be translated, it would have to be rendered “and to acquire understanding is to be chosen more than silver” (cf. KJV, ASV, NASB). Many commentaries consider it superfluous. NIV and NCV simply have “to choose understanding rather than silver!”
[16:17] 536 sn The point of righteous living is made with the image of a highway, a raised and well-graded road (a hypocatastasis, implying a comparison between a highway and the right way of living).
[16:17] 537 tn The form סוּר (sur) is a Qal infinitive; it indicates that a purpose of the righteous life is to turn away from evil. “Evil” here has the sense of sinful living. So the first line asserts that the well-cared-for life avoids sin.
[16:17] 538 sn The second half of the verse uses two different words for “guard”; this one is נֹצֵר (notser) “the one who guards his way,” and the first is שֹׁמֵר (shomer) “the one who guards his life” (the order of the words is reversed in the translation). The second colon then explains further the first (synthetic parallelism), because to guard one’s way preserves life.
[16:17] 539 tc The LXX adds three lines after 17a and one after 17b: “The paths of life turn aside from evils, and the ways of righteousness are length of life; he who receives instruction will be prosperous, and he who regards reproofs will be made wise; he who guards his ways preserves his soul, and he who loves his life will spare his mouth.”
[16:18] 540 sn The two lines of this proverb are synonymous parallelism, and so there are parasynonyms. “Pride” is paired with “haughty spirit” (“spirit” being a genitive of specification); and “destruction” is matched with “a tottering, falling.”
[16:18] 542 sn Many proverbs have been written in a similar way to warn against the inevitable disintegration and downfall of pride. W. McKane records an Arabic proverb: “The nose is in the heavens, the seat is in the mire” (Proverbs [OTL], 490).
[16:19] 543 tn Heb “low of spirit”; KJV “of an humble spirit.” This expression describes the person who is humble and submissive before the
[16:19] 544 tn Heb “than to divide plunder.” The word “plunder” implies that the wealth taken by the proud was taken violently and wrongfully – spoils are usually taken in warfare. R. N. Whybray translates it with “loot” (Proverbs [CBC], 95). The proud are in rebellion against God, overbearing and oppressive. One should never share the “loot” with them.
[16:20] 545 tn Heb “he who is prudent” or “he who deals wisely” (cf. KJV). The proverb seems to be referring to wise business concerns and the reward for the righteous. One who deals wisely in a matter will find good results. R. N. Whybray sees a contrast here: “The shrewd man of business will succeed well, but the happy man is he who trusts the
[16:20] 548 tn Although traditionally this word is translated “happy” (cf. KJV, ASV, NAB, NRSV, NLT), such a translation can be misleading because the word means far more than that. It describes the heavenly bliss that comes from knowing one is right with God and following God’s precepts. The “blessed” could be at odds with the world (Ps 1:1-3).
[16:21] 551 tn Heb “to the wise of heart it will be called discerning.” This means that the wise of heart, those who make wise decisions (“heart” being the metonymy), will gain a reputation of being the discerning ones.
[16:21] 552 tn Heb “sweetness of lips.” The term “lips” is a metonymy of cause, meaning what is said. It is a genitive of specification. The idea of “sweetness” must be gracious and friendly words. The teaching will be well-received because it is both delightful and persuasive (cf. NIV “pleasant words promote instruction”).
[16:22] 554 tn The Hebrew noun שֵׂכֵל (sekhel, “prudence; insight”; cf. KJV, NASB, NIV “understanding”; NAB, CEV “good sense”) is related to the verb that means “to have insight; to give attention to; to act circumspectly [or, prudently],” as well as “to prosper; to have success.” These words all describe the kind of wise action that will be successful.
[16:22] 557 tn Heb “the discipline of fools [is] folly.” The “discipline” (מוּסָר, musar) in this proverb is essentially a requital for sin (hence “punishment,” so NIV, NCV, NRSV); discipline which is intended to correct is normally rejected and despised by fools. So the line is saying that there is very little that can be done for or with the fool (cf. NLT “discipline is wasted on fools”).
[16:23] 560 sn Those who are wise say wise things. The proverb uses synthetic parallelism: The first line asserts that the wise heart ensures that what is said is wise, and the second line adds that such a person increases the reception of what is said.
[16:24] 563 sn The metaphor of honey or the honeycomb is used elsewhere in scripture, notably Ps 19:10 . Honey was used in Israel as a symbol of the delightful and healthy products of the land – “a land flowing with milk and honey” (Deut 6:3).
[16:24] 564 sn Two predicates are added to qualify the metaphor: The pleasant words are “sweet” and “healing.” “Soul” includes in it the appetites, physical and spiritual; and so sweet to the “soul” would summarize all the ways pleasant words give pleasure. “Bones” is a metonymy of subject, the boney framework representing the whole person, body and soul. Pleasant words, like honey, will enliven and encourage the whole person. One might recall, in line with the imagery here, how Jonathan’s eyes brightened when he ate from the honeycomb (1 Sam 14:27).
[16:26] 567 sn The word for “laborer” and “labors” emphasizes the drudgery and the agony of work (עָמַל, ’amal). For such boring drudgery motivations are necessary for its continuance, and hunger is the most effective. The line is saying that the appetites are working as hard as the laborer.
[16:26] 568 tn Heb “soul.” The term נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) here means “appetite,” functioning as a metonymy; the “inner soul” of a person representing his appetite (BDB 660 s.v. 5a; see, e.g., Pss 63:6; 107:9; Prov 13:25; 16:24; 27:7; Isa 56:11; 58:10; Jer 50:19; Ezek 7:19). This is suggested by the parallelism with “hunger.”
[16:26] 571 tc The LXX has apparently misread פִּיהוּ (pihu) and inserted the idea of “ruin” for the laborer: “he drives away ruin.” This influenced the Syriac to some degree; however, its first clause understood “suffering” instead of “labor”: “the person who causes suffering suffers.”
[16:27] 572 tn Heb “a man of belial.” This phrase means “wicked scoundrel.” Some translate “worthless” (so ASV, NASB, CEV), but the phrase includes deep depravity and wickedness (C. H. Toy, Proverbs [ICC], 125-26).
[16:27] 575 sn The simile stresses the devastating way that slander hurts people. W. McKane says that this one “digs for scandal and…propagates it with words which are ablaze with misanthropy” (Proverbs [OTL], 494).
[16:28] 576 tn Heb “a man of perverse things”; NAB “an intriguer.” This refers to someone who destroys lives. The parallelism suggests that he is a “slanderer” or “gossip” – one who whispers and murmurs (18:8; 26:20, 22).
[16:28] 577 tn The term אַלּוּף (’aluf) refers to a “friend” or “an intimate associate.” The word has other possible translations, including “tame” or “docile” when used of animals. Rashi, a Jewish scholar who lived
[16:29] 579 tn The verb in the first colon is the Piel imperfect, and the form in the second is the Hiphil perfect; the first is a habitual imperfect, and the second a gnomic perfect. The first verb, “to persuade, seduce, entice,” is the metonymy of cause; the second verb, “to lead,” is the metonymy of effect, the two together forming the whole process.
[16:29] 580 tn Heb “not good” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV); NLT “a harmful path.” The expression “a way that is not good” is an example of tapeinosis – a deliberate understatement for the sake of emphasis: It is terrible. This refers to crime and violence. The understatement is used to warn people away from villains and to remind them to follow a good path.
[16:30] 581 sn The participle עֹצֶה (’otseh) describes one as shutting his eyes (cf. KJV, ASV). This could mean simply “closing the eyes,” or it could refer to “winking” (so many English versions). The proverb is saying that facial expressions often reveal if someone is plotting evil (e.g., 6:13-14).
[16:30] 584 tn The verb is a Piel perfect; it means “complete, finish, bring to an end.” The two cola may form the whole process: The first line has “to devise” evil, and the second has “he completes” evil. BDB, however, classifies this use of the Piel as “to accomplish in thought” meaning “to determine” something (BDB 478 s.v. כָּלָה 1f). In that case the two lines would have synonymous ideas, i.e., using facial expressions to plan evil actions.
[16:31] 586 sn The proverb presents the ideal, for it is not concerned with old people who may be evil. The KJV tried to qualify the interpretation by making the second half of the verse a conditional clause (“if it be found in the way of righteousness”). This is acceptable but unnecessary. The book of Proverbs is simply laying out the equity of longevity for righteousness and premature death for wicked people. In this line “gray hair” is a metonymy of adjunct/effect, representing old age; and the “glorious crown” (taking the genitive as attributive) provides a fitting metaphor to compare the hair on the head with a crown.
[16:31] 588 sn While the proverb presents a general observation, there is a commendable lesson about old people who can look back on a long walk with God through life and can anticipate unbroken fellowship with him in glory.
[16:32] 589 tn One who is “slow to anger” is a patient person (cf. NAB, NIV, NLT). This is explained further in the parallel line by the description of “one who rules his spirit” (וּמֹשֵׁל בְּרוּחוֹ, umoshel bÿrukho), meaning “controls his temper.” This means the person has the emotions under control and will not “fly off the handle” quickly.
[16:32] 592 sn The saying would have had greater impact when military prowess was held in high regard. It is harder, and therefore better, to control one’s passions than to do some great exploit on the battlefield.