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10 Do not slander[a] a servant to his master,
lest he curse you, and you are found guilty.[b]

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Footnotes

  1. Proverbs 30:10 tn The form תַּלְשֵׁן (talshen) is the Hiphil jussive (with the negative אַל, ʾal); it is a denominative verb from the noun “tongue” (Heb “wag the tongue”). It means “to defame; to slander,” if the accusation is untrue. Some have suggested that the word might have the force of “denouncing” a slave to his master, accusing him before authorities (e.g., Deut 23:15-16). This proverb would then be a warning against meddling in the affairs of someone else.
  2. Proverbs 30:10 tn If what was said were true, then there would be no culpability. But the implication here is that it was slander. And the effect of that will be a curse—the person who is the target of the slander will “curse” the person who slandered him (קָלַל [qalal] in the Piel means “to treat lightly [or, with contempt]; to curse”), and culpability will result (the verb אָשַׁם [ʾasham] means “to be guilty; to make a guilt offering [or, reparation offering]”). This word for guilt suggests a connection to the Levitical teaching that the guilty had to make reparation for damages done (Lev 5). Cf. NAB “you will have to pay the penalty”; NIV, NLT “you will pay for it.”

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