Proverbs 111The Lord abhors ▼
▼ Heb “an abomination of the Lord.” The term יְהוָה (yehvah, “the Lord”) is a subjective genitive.dishonest scales, ▼
but an accurate weight ▼
▼ Heb “a perfect stone.” Stones were used for measuring amounts of silver on the scales; here the stone that pleases the Lord is whole, complete, perfect (from שָׁלֵם, shalem). It was one that would give an honest, accurate measurement.is his elight.
2 When pride ▼ comes, ▼
▼ 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.then comes disgrace, ▼
▼ This proverb does not state how the disgrace will come, but affirms that it will follow pride. The proud will be brought down.
but with humility ▼
▼ Heb “modesty”; KJV, ASV “the lowly.” The adjective צְנוּעִים (tsenu’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.comes ▼
▼ The term “comes” does not appear in the Hebrew, but is supplied in the translation from parallelism.wisdom.
3 The integrity of the upright guides them, ▼
▼ 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.
but the crookedness of the unfaithful destroys them. ▼
▼ The form is a Kethib/Qere reading. The Qere יְשָׁדֵּם (yeshadem) is an imperfect tense with the pronominal suffix. The Kethib וְשַׁדָּם (veshadam) is a perfect tense with a vav prefixed and a pronominal suffix. The Qere is supported by the versions.
4 Wealth does not profit in the day of wrath, ▼
but righteousness delivers from mortal danger. ▼
▼ Heb “from death.”
5 The righteousness of the blameless will make straight their way, ▼
▼ Heb “his way.”
but the wicked person will fall by his own wickedness. ▼
▼ The righteous will enjoy security and serenity throughout life. Righteousness makes the path straight; wickedness destroys the wicked.
6 The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, ▼
▼ The contrast is between being rescued or delivered (נָצַל, natsal) and being captured (לָכַד, lakhad). Righteousness is freeing; [evil] desires are enslaving.
but the faithless will be captured ▼
▼ Heb “taken captive” (so NRSV); NIV, TEV “are trapped.”by their own desires. ▼
▼ Heb “but by the desire of the faithless are they taken captive.”
7 When a wicked person dies, his expectation perishes, ▼
▼ The first colon features an imperfect tense depicting habitual action, while the second has a perfect tense verb depicting gnomic action.▼
and the hope of his strength ▼
▼ There are several suggested changes for this word אוֹנִים (’onim, “vigor” or “strength”). Rashi, a Jewish scholar who lived a.d. 1040–1105, suggests that the word refers to children, a meaning implied from Gen 49:3. This would mean that even his children would not benefit from his wickedness. Tg. Prov 11:7 rendered it “who practice crookedness,” deriving it from the first root which means “wickedness.”perishes. ▼
▼ The LXX adds an antithesis to this: “When the righteous dies, hope does not perish.” The LXX translators wanted to see the hope of the righteous fulfilled in the world to come.
8 The righteous person is delivered ▼
▼ The verb is the Niphal perfect from the first root חָלַץ (khalats), meaning “to draw off; to withdraw,” and hence “to be delivered.”▼
▼ 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.out of trouble,
and the wicked turns up in his stead. ▼
▼ 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.”
9 With his speech ▼
▼ Heb “with his mouth.” The term פֶּה (peh, “mouth”) functions as a metonymy of cause for speech.the godless person ▼ destroys ▼
▼ 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”).his neighbor,
but by knowledge ▼
▼ 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.the righteous will be delivered.
10 When the righteous do well, ▼
▼ The text has “in the good [בְּטוֹב, betov] of the righteous,” meaning when they do well, when they prosper. Cf. NCV, NLT “succeed”; TEV “have good fortune.”the city rejoices; ▼
▼ 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).
when the wicked perish, there is joy.
11 A city is exalted by the blessing provided from ▼
▼ 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.the upright,
but it is destroyed by the counsel ▼
▼ Heb “mouth.” The term פֶּה (peh, “mouth”) functions as a metonymy of cause for counsel, as the parallelism suggests.of the wicked. ▼
▼ 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.
12 The one who denounces ▼
▼ 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.▼
▼ 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.his neighbor lacks wisdom, ▼
▼ Heb “heart.” The noun לֵב (lev, “heart”) functions as a metonymy of association for wisdom, since the heart is often associated with knowledge and wisdom (BDB 524 s.v. 3.a).
but the one who has discernment ▼
▼ Heb “a man of discernment.”keeps silent. ▼
▼ 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.
13 The one who goes about slandering others ▼
▼ 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.reveals ▼
▼ The participle מְגַלֶּה (megaleh) means “uncovering” or “revealing” secrets.▼
▼ This is the intent of a person who makes disparaging comments about others – he cannot wait to share secrets that should be kept.secrets,
but the one who is trustworthy ▼
▼ 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.conceals a matter.
14 When there is no guidance ▼
▼ 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.a nation falls,
but there is success ▼
▼ 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.in the abundance of counselors.
15 The one who puts up security for a stranger ▼
▼ 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.will surely have trouble, ▼
▼ 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.
but whoever avoids ▼
▼ 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.shaking hands ▼
▼ Heb “striking.” The imagery here is shaking hands to seal a contract. The term “hands” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied.will be secure.
16 A generous woman ▼
▼ 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.gains honor,
and ruthless men ▼
▼ 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.”seize wealth. ▼
▼ 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).▼
▼ The implication is that the ruthless men will obtain wealth without honor, and therefore this is not viewed as success by the writer.
17 A kind person ▼
▼ Heb “man of kindness.”▼
▼ This contrasts the “kind person” and the “cruel person” (one who is fierce, cruel), showing the consequences of their dispositions.benefits ▼
▼ The term גֹּמֶל (gomel) means “to deal fully [or “adequately”] with” someone or something. The kind person will benefit himself.himself, ▼
▼ Heb “his own soul.” The term נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, “soul”) is used as a synecdoche of part (= soul) for the whole (= person): “himself” (BDB 660 s.v. 4).
but a cruel person brings himself trouble. ▼
▼ Heb “brings trouble to his flesh.”▼
▼ 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.
18 The wicked person ▼
▼ The form is the masculine singular adjective used as a substantive.earns ▼
▼ Heb “makes” (so NAB).deceitful wages, ▼
▼ Heb “wages of deception.”▼
▼ Whatever recompense or reward the wicked receive will not last, hence, it is deceptive (R. B. Y. Scott, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes [AB], 88).
but the one who sows ▼ righteousness reaps ▼
▼ The term “reaps” does not appear in the Hebrew but has been supplied in the translation from context for the sake of smoothness.a genuine ▼
▼ Heb “true” (so NASB, NRSV); KJV, NAB, NIV “sure.”reward. ▼
▼ 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.
19 True ▼
▼ 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 ms, LXX, and Syriac read בֵּן (ben), “son of righteousness.” That idiom, however, usually introduces bad qualities (“son of worthlessness”). Others interpret it as “righteousness is the foundation of life.” KB identifies the form as a participle and reads it as “steadfast in righteousness”; but the verb does not otherwise exist in the Qal. W. McKane reads it as כָּן (kan, from כּוּן, kun) and translates it “strive after” life (Proverbs [OTL], 435).righteousness leads to ▼
▼ Heb “is to life.” The expression “leads to” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but the idiom implies it; it is supplied in the translation for smoothness.life,
but the one who pursues evil pursues it ▼
▼ The phrase “pursues it” does not appear in the Hebrew but has been supplied in the translation from context.to his own death. ▼
▼ “Life” and “death” describe the vicissitudes of this life but can also refer to the situation beyond the grave. The two paths head in opposite directions.
20 The Lord abhors ▼
▼ Heb “an abomination of the Lord.” The term יְהוָה (yehvah, “the Lord”) functions as a subjective genitive. Cf. NIV “detests”; NCV, TEV, CEV, NLT “hates.”those who are perverse in heart, ▼
▼ The word עִקְּשֵׁי (“crooked; twisted; perverted”) describes the wicked as having “twisted minds.” Their mentality is turned toward evil things.
but those who are blameless in their ways ▼
▼ Heb “those who are blameless of way.” The noun דֶּרֶךְ (derekh, “way”) is a genitive of specification: “blameless in their way.”are his delight. ▼
▼ 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 Lord, meaning, what he accepts. In particular, sacrifices offered properly find acceptance with God (Ps 51:19). Here the lifestyle that is blameless pleases him.
21 Be assured that ▼ the evil person will certainly be punished, ▼
▼ 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).
but the descendants of the righteous ▼
▼ 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 a.d. 882–942). The LXX translates it in a different sense: “he that sows righteousness will receive a faithful reward.”will not suffer unjust judgment. ▼
▼ Heb “will be delivered” (so NASB). The phrase “from unjust judgment” does not appear in the Hebrew but is implied by the idiom.
22 Like a gold ring ▼
▼ Heb “a ring of gold.” The noun זָהָב (zahav, “gold”) is a genitive of material; the ring is made out of gold.in a pig’s snout ▼
▼ Heb “in a snout of a swine.” A beautiful ornament and a pig are as incongruous as a beautiful woman who has no taste or ethical judgment.
▼ The verb “is” does not appear in the Hebrew but is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity and smoothness.a beautiful woman who rejects ▼
▼ Heb “turns away [from].”discretion. ▼
23 What the righteous desire ▼
▼ Heb “the desire of the righteous.” The noun תַּאֲוַת (ta’avat) functions as an objective genitive: “what the righteous desire.”leads ▼
▼ 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”).only to good,
but what the wicked hope for ▼
▼ Heb “the hope of the wicked.” The noun תִּקְוַת (tiqvat) “expectation” functions as an objective genitive: “what the wicked hope for.”leads ▼
▼ The term “leads” does not appear in the Hebrew text in this line but is implied by the parallelism. It is supplied in the translation for clarity and smoothness.to wrath.
24 One person is generous ▼
▼ Heb “There is one who scatters.” The participle מְפַזֵּר (mefazzer, “one who scatters”) refers to charity rather than farming or investments (and is thus a hypocatastasis). Cf. CEV “become rich by being generous”).and yet grows more wealthy, ▼
▼ Heb “increases.” The verb means that he grows even more wealthy. This is a paradox: Generosity determines prosperity in God’s economy.
but another withholds more than he should ▼
▼ Heb “more than what is right.” This one is not giving enough, but saving for himself.and comes to poverty. ▼
▼ 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.
25 A generous person ▼ will be enriched, ▼
and the one who provides water ▼ for others ▼
▼ 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.will himself be satisfied. ▼
▼ 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).
26 People will curse ▼
▼ The direct object suffix on the verb picks up on the emphatic absolute phrase: “they will curse him – the one who withholds grain.”the one who withholds grain, ▼
▼ 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.
but they will praise ▼
▼ Heb “but a blessing is for the head of the one who sells.” The parallelism with “curse” suggests that בְּרָכָה (berakhah) “blessing” means “praise.”the one who sells it. ▼
▼ 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.
27 The one who diligently seeks ▼ good seeks favor,
but the one who searches ▼
▼ The participle דֹּרֵשׁ (doresh) means “to seek; to inquire; to investigate.” A person generally receives the consequences of the kind of life he seeks.for evil – it will come to him. ▼
▼ The verb is the imperfect tense, third feminine singular, referring to “evil,” the object of the participle.
28 The one who trusts in his riches will fall,
but the righteous ▼
▼ The implication from the parallelism is that the righteous do not trust in their own riches, but in the Lord.will flourish like a green leaf. ▼
▼ 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.
29 The one who troubles ▼
▼ The verb עָכַר (’akhar, “to trouble”) refers to actions which make life difficult for one’s family (BDB 747 s.v.). He will be cut out of the family inheritance.his family ▼
▼ Heb “his house.” The term בֵּית (bet, “house”) is a synecdoche of container (= house) for its contents (= family, household).will inherit nothing, ▼
and the fool ▼
▼ 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.will be a servant to the wise person. ▼
▼ 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.
30 The fruit of the righteous is like ▼
▼ The comparative “like” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied by the metaphor; it is supplied for the sake of clarity.a tree producing life, ▼
▼ 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.
and the one who wins souls ▼
▼ 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 mss and early printed editions of the Masoretic Text.is wise. ▼
▼ 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.
31 If the righteous are recompensed on earth, ▼
▼ 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.
how much more ▼
▼ 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.the wicked sinner! ▼
▼ Heb “the wicked and the sinner.” The two terms may form a hendiadys with the first functioning adjectivally: “the wicked sinner.”
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