but the mouth of the fool spouts out 6 folly.
keeping watch 8 on those who are evil and those who are good.
but a perverse tongue 13 breaks the spirit.
15:5 A fool rejects his father’s discipline,
but whoever heeds reproof shows good sense. 14
but the income of the wicked brings trouble. 17
but not so the heart of fools. 19
the one who hates reproof 29 will die.
[15:1] 1 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] 2 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] 4 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] 5 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] 13 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] 16 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] 17 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] 18 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] 20 tn Heb “an abomination of the
[15:8] 22 sn The sacrifices of the wicked are hated by the
[15:8] 23 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] 27 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] 28 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] 29 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.