but the folly 9 of fools is folly.
[14:22] 1 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] 4 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] 5 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] 7 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] 8 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] 9 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”).