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Amsal 10:8-21


10:8 The wise person 1  accepts instructions, 2 

but the one who speaks foolishness 3  will come to ruin. 4 

10:9 The one who conducts himself 5  in integrity 6  will live 7  securely,

but the one who behaves perversely 8  will be found out.

10:10 The one who winks 9  his 10  eye causes 11  trouble,

and the one who speaks foolishness 12  will come to ruin.

10:11 The teaching 13  of the righteous is a fountain of life, 14 

but the speech 15  of the wicked conceals 16  violence. 17 

10:12 Hatred 18  stirs up dissension,

but love covers all transgressions. 19 

10:13 Wisdom is found in the words 20  of the discerning person, 21 

but the one who lacks wisdom 22  will be disciplined. 23 

10:14 Those who are wise 24  store up 25  knowledge,

but foolish speech 26  leads to imminent 27  destruction.

10:15 The wealth of a rich person is like 28  a fortified city, 29 

but the poor are brought to ruin 30  by 31  their poverty.

10:16 The reward 32  which the righteous receive 33  is life;

the recompense 34  which the wicked receive 35  is judgment. 36 

10:17 The one who heeds instruction 37  is on the way to 38  life,

but the one who rejects 39  rebuke goes astray.

10:18 The one who conceals hatred utters lies, 40 

and the one who spreads 41  slander 42  is certainly 43  a fool.

10:19 When words abound, transgression is inevitable, 44 

but the one who restrains 45  his words 46  is wise.

10:20 What the righteous say 47  is like 48  the best 49  silver,

but what the wicked think 50  is of little value. 51 

10:21 The teaching 52  of the righteous feeds 53  many,

but fools die 54  for lack of wisdom. 55 

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[10:8]  1 tn Heb “the wise of heart” (so NASB, NRSV). The genitive noun לֵב (lev, “heart”) functions as an attributive adjective: “the wise heart.” The term לֵב functions as a synecdoche of part (= heart) for the whole person (= person). The heart is emphasized because it is the seat of wisdom (BDB 524 s.v. 3.b).

[10:8]  2 tn Heb “commandments.”

[10:8]  3 tn Heb “fool of lips.” The phrase is a genitive of specification: “a fool in respect to lips.” The term “lips” is a metonymy of cause (= lips) for effect (= speech). This person talks foolishness; he is too busy talking to pay attention to instruction.

[10:8]  4 tn The Niphal verb לָבַט (lavat) means “to be thrust down [or, away]”; that is, “to be ruined; to fall” or “to stumble” (e.g., Hos 4:14). The fool who refuses to listen to advice – but abides by his own standards which he freely expresses – will suffer the predicaments that he creates.

[10:9]  5 tn Heb “he who walks.” The idiom is used widely in both OT and NT for conduct, behavior, or lifestyle.

[10:9]  6 sn “Integrity” here means “blameless” in conduct. Security follows integrity, because the lifestyle is blameless. The righteous is certain of the course to be followed and does not fear retribution from man or God.

[10:9]  7 tn Heb “walks.”

[10:9]  8 tn Heb “he who perverts his ways” (so NASB); NIV “who takes crooked paths” (NLT similar). The Piel participle מְעַקֵּשׁ (mÿaqqesh) means “make crooked; twisted; perverse.” It is stronger than simply taking crooked paths; it refers to perverting the ways. The one who is devious will not get away with it.

[10:10]  9 tn The term (קָרַץ, qarats) describes a person who habitually “winks” his eye maliciously as a secretive sign to those conspiring evil (Prov 6:13). This is a comparison rather than a contrast. Devious gestures are grievous, but not as ruinous as foolish talk. Both are to be avoided.

[10:10]  10 tn Heb “the eye.”

[10:10]  11 tn Heb “gives.”

[10:10]  12 tn Heb “the fool of lips”; cf. NASB “a babbling fool.” The phrase is a genitive of specification: “a fool in respect to lips.” The term “lips” is a metonymy of cause (= lips) for effect (= speech). The word for fool (אֶוִיל, ’evil) refers to someone who despises knowledge and discernment.

[10:11]  13 tn Heb “mouth.” The word “mouth” is metonymy of cause, representing what the righteous say and teach.

[10:11]  14 tn Heb “a fountain of life is the mouth of the righteous” (NAB similar). The subject (“a fountain of life”) and the predicate (“the mouth of the righteous”) in the Hebrew text are reversed in the present translation (as in most English versions) for the sake of clarity and smoothness. The idea of this metaphor, “the fountain of life,” may come from Ps 36:9 (e.g., also Prov 13:14; 14:27; 16:22). What the righteous say is beneficial to life or life-giving. Their words are life-giving but the words of the wicked are violent. See R. B. Y. Scott, “Wise and Foolish, Righteous and Wicked,” VT 29 (1972): 145-65.

[10:11]  15 tn Heb “the mouth.” The term פֶּה (peh, “mouth”) functions as a metonymy of cause for speech.

[10:11]  16 tn Heb “covers.” Behind the speech of the wicked is aggressive violence (W. McKane, Proverbs [OTL], 422).

[10:11]  17 tn The syntax of this line is ambiguous. The translation takes “the mouth of the wicked” as the nominative subject and “violence” as the accusative direct object; however, the subject might be “violence,” hence: “violence covers the mouth of the wicked.”

[10:12]  18 sn This contrasts the wicked motivated by hatred (animosity, rejection) with the righteous motivated by love (kind acts, showing favor).

[10:12]  19 sn Love acts like forgiveness. Hatred looks for and exaggerates faults; but love seeks ways to make sins disappear (e.g., 1 Pet 4:8).

[10:13]  20 tn Heb “on the lips” (so NAB, NASB, NRSV). The term “lips” is a metonymy of cause for the words spoken by the lips.

[10:13]  21 tn Heb “the one who is discerning.” The term “discerning” describes someone who is critically perceptive and has understanding. He can be relied on to say things that are wise.

[10:13]  22 tn Heb “the one lacking of heart.” The noun לֵב (lev, “heart”) functions as a genitive of specification: “lacking in respect to heart.” The term לֵב functions in a figurative sense (metonymy of association) for wisdom because the heart is viewed as the seat of common sense (BDB 524 s.v. 3.a).

[10:13]  23 tn Heb “a rod is for the back of the one lacking heart.” The term שֵׁבֶט (shevet, “rod”) functions figuratively: synecdoche of specific (= rod of discipline) for general (= discipline in general). The term גֵו (gev, “back”) is a synecdoche of part (= back) for the whole (= person as a whole). The back is emphasized because it was the object of physical corporeal discipline. This proverb is not limited in its application to physical corporeal punishment because the consequences of foolishness may come in many forms, physical corporeal discipline being only one form.

[10:14]  24 tn Heb “wise men.”

[10:14]  25 sn The verb צָפַן (tsafan, “to store up; to treasure”) may mean (1) the wise acquire and do not lose wisdom (cf. NAB, NIV, TEV), or (2) they do not tell all that they know (cf. NCV), that is, they treasure it up for a time when they will need it. The fool, by contrast, talks without thinking.

[10:14]  26 tn Heb “the mouth of foolishness”; cf. NRSV, NLT “the babbling of a fool.” The term פֶּה (peh, “mouth”) functions as a metonymy of cause for speech. The genitive אֶוִיל (’evil, “foolishness”) functions as an attributive adjective: “a foolish mouth” = foolish speech.

[10:14]  27 tn Heb “near destruction.” The words of the fool that are uttered without wise forethought may invite imminent ruin (e.g., James 3:13-18). See also Ptah-hotep and Amenemope in ANET 414 and 423.

[10:15]  28 tn Heb “is.” This expression, “a rich man’s wealth is his strong city,” is a metaphor. The comparative particle “like” is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity and smoothness.

[10:15]  29 tn Heb “a city of his strength.” The genitive עֹז (’oz, “strength”) functions as an attributive genitive: “strong city” = “fortified city.” This phrase is a metaphor; wealth protects its possessions against adversity like a fortified city. Such wealth must be attained by diligence and righteous means (e.g., 13:8; 18:23; 22:7).

[10:15]  30 tn Heb “the ruin of the poor.” The term דַּלִּים (dalim, “of the poor”) functions as an objective genitive. Poverty leads to the ruin of the poor. The term “ruin” includes the shambles in which the person lives. This provides no security but only the fear of ruin. This proverb is an observation on life.

[10:15]  31 tn Heb “is their poverty.”

[10:16]  32 tn Heb “recompense” (so NAB); NASB, NIV “wages.” The noun פְּעֻלַּה (pÿullah) has a two-fold range of meanings: (1) “work; deed” and (2) “reward; recompense” (BDB 821 s.v.). There is a clear correlation between a person’s conduct and its consequences. Rewards are determined by moral choices. What one receives in life depends on the use of gifts and a righteous character.

[10:16]  33 tn Heb “the recompense of the righteous.”

[10:16]  34 tn Heb “harvest.” The term תְּבוּאַת (tÿvuat, “harvest; yield”) is used figuratively here (hypocatastasis), drawing an implied comparison between the agricultural yield of a farmer’s labors with the consequences of the actions of the wicked. They will “reap” (= judgment) what they “sow” (= sin).

[10:16]  35 tn Heb “the harvest of the wicked.”

[10:16]  36 tn Heb “sin.” The term חַטָּאת (khattat, “sin”) functions as a metonymy of cause (= sin) for effect (= punishment). In contrast to the righteous who receive a reward, the wicked receive punishment for their sin (cf. NASB, NIV, NCV). See D. W. Thomas, “The Meaning of חַטָּאת in Proverbs X.16,” JTS 15 (1964): 295-96.

[10:17]  37 tn Heb “discipline.” The noun מוּסָר (musar) has a basic two-fold range of meanings: (1) “discipline” (so NIV; NAB “admonition”; NCV, NLT “correction”) and (2) “instruction” (BDB 416 s.v.; so KJV, NASB, NRSV). The wise person listens to instruction (first colon); however, the fool will not even take discipline to heart (second colon).

[10:17]  38 tn The term is a genitive of location indicating the goal (IBHS 147-48 §9.5.2f).

[10:17]  39 sn The contrast with the one who holds fast to discipline is the one who forsakes or abandons reproof or correction. Whereas the first is an example, this latter individual causes people to wander from the true course of life, that is, causes them to err.

[10:18]  40 tn Heb “lips of falsehood.” The genitive noun שָׁקֶר (shaqer, “falsehood”) functions as an attributive genitive. The noun “lips” is a metonymy of cause for speech produced by lips. The one who shows friendliness while concealing hatred is a liar (e.g., Ps 28:3).

[10:18]  41 tn Heb “causes to go out.” The Hiphil of יָצָא (yatsa) literally means “to cause to go out” (BDB 424 s.v. Hiph.1). This may refer to speech (“to utter”) in the sense of causing words to go out of one’s mouth, or it may refer to slander (“to spread”) in the sense of causing slander to go out to others.

[10:18]  42 tn The word דִבָּה (dibbah) means “whispering; defamation; evil report” (BDB 179 s.v.). Cf. NAB “accusations”; TEV “gossip.”

[10:18]  sn The one who spreads slander is a fool because it not only destroys others but comes back on the guilty. See also the sayings of Amenemope and Ahiqar on these subjects (ANET 423, 429).

[10:18]  43 tn Heb “he is a fool.” The independent personal pronoun הוּא (hu’, “he”) is used for emphasis. This is reflected in the translation as “certainly.”

[10:19]  44 tn Heb “does not cease.” It is impossible to avoid sinning in an abundance of words – sooner or later one is bound to say something wrong.

[10:19]  45 tn Or “holds his lips under control.” The verb חָשַׂךְ (khasakh) means “to withhold; to restrain; to hold in check” (BDB 362 s.v.). The related Arabic term is used in reference to placing a piece of wood in the mouth of a goat to prevent it from sucking (HALOT 359 s.v. חשׂךְ).

[10:19]  46 tn Heb “his lips” (so KJV, NAB, NASB); NIV “his tongue.” The term “lips” is a metonymy of cause for speech.

[10:20]  47 tn Heb “the lips of the righteous.” The term “lips” functions as a metonymy of cause for speech. This contrasts the tongue (metonymy of cause for what they say) with the heart (metonymy of subject for what they intend). What the righteous say is more valuable than what the wicked intend.

[10:20]  48 tn The comparative “like” is not in the Hebrew text but is implied by the metaphor; it is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity.

[10:20]  49 tn Or “pure”; Heb “choice.”

[10:20]  50 tn Heb “the heart of the wicked” (so KJV, NAB, NIV). The term “heart” functions as a metonymy of cause for thoughts. The term לֵב (lev, “heart”) often refers to the seat of thoughts, will and emotions (BDB 524 s.v. 3-4).

[10:20]  51 tn Heb “like little.” This expression refers to what has little value: “little worth” (so KJV, NAB, NRSV; cf. BDB 590 s.v. מְעַט 2.d). The point of the metaphor is clarified by the parallelism: Silver is valuable; the heart of the wicked is worth little. Tg. Prov 10:20 says it was full of dross, a contrast with choice silver.

[10:21]  52 tn Heb “lips.” The term “lips” functions as a metonymy of cause for what is said (or in this case taught).

[10:21]  53 tn The verb רָעָה (raah) means “to feed” or “to shepherd” (e.g., Gen 48:15). What they say will meet the needs of many.

[10:21]  54 tn In what sense the fool “dies” is unclear. Fools ruin their lives and the lives of others by their lack of discipline and knowledge. The contrast is between enhancing life and ruining life.

[10:21]  55 tn Heb “heart.” The term לֵב (lev, “heart”) functions as a metonymy of association for wisdom and knowledge (BDB 524 s.v. 3.a).

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