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Amsal 18:23


18:23 A poor person makes supplications, 1 

but a rich man answers harshly. 2 

Amsal 19:4


19:4 Wealth adds many friends,

but a poor person is separated 3  from his friend. 4 

Amsal 19:7


19:7 All the relatives 5  of a poor person hate him; 6 

how much more do his friends avoid him –

he pursues them 7  with words, but they do not respond. 8 

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[18:23]  1 tn Heb “speaks supplications”; NIV “pleads for mercy.” The poor man has to ask for help because he has no choice (cf. CEV). The Hebrew term תַּחֲנוּן (takhanun) is a “supplication for favor” (related to the verb חָנַן [khanan], “to be gracious; to show favor”). So the poor man speaks, but what he speaks is a request for favor.

[18:23]  2 sn The rich person responds harshly to the request. He has hardened himself against such appeals because of relentless demands. The proverb is an observation saying; it simply describes the way the world generally works, rather than setting this out as the ideal.

[19:4]  3 tn The Niphal imperfect probably should be taken in the passive sense (the poor person is deserted by his “friend,” cf. NAB, NIV) rather than as a direct middle (the poor person deserted his friend).

[19:4]  4 sn This proverb simply makes an observation on life: People pursue wealthy folk hoping that they can gain something from the rich, but the poor are deserted even by friends, who fear that the poor will try to gain something from them.

[19:7]  5 tn Heb “brothers,” but not limited only to male siblings in this context.

[19:7]  6 tn Heb “hate him.” The verb שָׂנֵא (sane’) may be nuanced “reject” here (metonymy of effect, cf. CEV). The kind of “dislike” or “hatred” family members show to a poor relative is to have nothing to do with him (NIV “is shunned”). If relatives do this, how much more will the poor person’s friends do so.

[19:7]  7 tn The direct object “them” does not appear in the Hebrew but is supplied in the translation for the sake of smoothness.

[19:7]  8 tn Heb “not they.” The last line of the verse is problematic. The preceding two lines are loosely synonymous in their parallelism, but the third adds something like: “he pursues [them with] words, but they [do] not [respond].” Some simply say it is a corrupt remnant of a separate proverb and beyond restoration. The basic idea does make sense, though. The idea of his family and friends rejecting the poor person reveals how superficial they are, and how they make themselves scarce. Since they are far off, he has to look for them “with words” (adverbial accusative), that is, “send word” for help. But they “are nowhere to be found” (so NIV). The LXX reads “will not be delivered” in place of “not they” – clearly an attempt to make sense out of the cryptic phrase, and, in the process, showing evidence for that text.

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