New English Translation
12 The one who loves discipline loves knowledge,[a]
but the one who hates reproof is stupid.[b]
2 A good person obtains favor from the Lord,
but the Lord[c] condemns a person with wicked schemes.[d]
3 No one[e] can be established[f] through wickedness,
but a righteous root[g] cannot be moved.
4 A noble wife[h] is the crown[i] of her husband,
but the wife[j] who acts shamefully is like rottenness in his bones.[k]
5 The plans[l] of the righteous are just;
the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.[m]
6 The words of the wicked lie in wait[n] to shed innocent blood,[o]
but the words[p] of the upright will deliver them.
7 The wicked are overthrown[q] and perish,[r]
but the righteous household[s] will stand.
8 A person[t] will be praised in accordance with[u] his wisdom,
but the one with a bewildered mind[v] will be despised.
9 Better is a person of humble standing[w] who works for himself,[x]
than one who pretends to be somebody important[y] yet has no food.
10 A righteous person cares for[z] the life of his animal,
but even the most compassionate acts[aa] of the wicked are cruel.
11 The one who works[ab] his field will have plenty[ac] of food,
but whoever chases daydreams[ad] lacks sense.[ae]
12 The wicked person has desired[af] the stronghold[ag] of the wicked,
but the root of the righteous will yield fruit.[ah]
13 The evil person is ensnared[ai] by the transgression of his speech,[aj]
but the righteous person escapes out of trouble.[ak]
14 A person will be satisfied with good from the fruit of his words,[al]
and the work of his hands[am] will be rendered to[an] him.
15 The way of a fool[ao] is right[ap] in his own opinion,[aq]
but the one who listens to advice is wise.[ar]
16 A fool’s annoyance[as] is known at once,[at]
but the prudent[au] conceals dishonor.[av]
17 The faithful witness[aw] tells what is right,[ax]
but a false witness[ay] speaks[az] deceit.
18 Speaking recklessly[ba] is like the thrusts of a sword,
but the words[bb] of the wise bring[bc] healing.[bd]
19 The one who tells the truth[be] will endure forever,
but the one who lies[bf] will last only for a moment.[bg]
20 Deceit[bh] is in the heart of those who plot evil,[bi]
but those who promote peace[bj] have joy.
21 No harm[bk] will be directed at[bl] the righteous,
but the wicked are filled with calamity.[bm]
22 The Lord[bn] abhors a person who lies,[bo]
but those who deal truthfully[bp] are his delight.[bq]
23 The shrewd person[br] conceals[bs] knowledge,
but foolish people[bt] proclaim folly.[bu]
24 The diligent[bv] person[bw] will rule,
but the slothful[bx] will be put to forced labor.[by]
25 Anxiety[bz] in a person’s heart weighs him down,[ca]
but an encouraging[cb] word brings him joy.[cc]
26 The righteous person is cautious in his friendship,[cd]
but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
27 The lazy person does not roast[ce] his prey,
but personal possessions are precious to the diligent.[cf]
28 In the path of righteousness there is life,
but another path[cg] leads to death.[ch]
- Proverbs 12:1 sn Those who wish to improve themselves must learn to accept correction; the fool hates/rejects any correction.
- Proverbs 12:1 tn The word בַּעַר (baʿar, “stupid, brutish”) comes from בְּעִיר (beʿir, “beast, cattle). It refers to a lack of rationality (Ps 49:10; 73:22; 92:7; 30:2). The verbal derivative is used to convey “deficiency in moral and religious, rather than intellectual aspects” (NIDOTTE 679 s.v. בָּעַר).
- Proverbs 12:2 tn Heb “but he condemns.” The referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Proverbs 12:2 tn Heb “a man of wicked plans.” The noun מְזִמּוֹת (mezimmot, “evil plans”) functions as an attributive genitive: “an evil-scheming man.” Cf. NASB “a man who devises evil”; NAB “the schemer.”
- Proverbs 12:3 tn Heb “a man cannot be.”
- Proverbs 12:3 tn The Niphal imperfect of כּוּן (cun, “to be established”) refers to finding permanent “security” (so NRSV, TEV, CEV) before God. Only righteousness can do that.
- Proverbs 12:3 tn Heb “a root of righteousness.” The genitive צַדִּיקִים (tsaddiqim, “righteousness”) functions as an attributive adjective. The figure “root” (שֹׁרֶשׁ, shoresh) stresses the security of the righteous; they are firmly planted and cannot be uprooted (cf. NLT “the godly have deep roots”). The righteous are often compared to a tree (e.g., 11:30; Pss 1:3; 92:13).
- Proverbs 12:4 tn Heb “a wife of virtue”; NAB, NLT “a worthy wife.” This noble woman (אֵשֶׁת־חַיִל, ʾeshet khayil) is the subject of Prov 31. She is a “virtuous woman” (cf. KJV), a capable woman of noble character. She is contrasted with the woman who is disgraceful (מְבִישָׁה, mevishah; “one who causes shame”) or who lowers his standing in the community.
- Proverbs 12:4 sn The metaphor of the “crown” emphasizes that such a wife is a symbol of honor and glory.
- Proverbs 12:4 tn Heb “she”; the referent (the wife) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Proverbs 12:4 sn The simile means that the shameful acts of such a woman will eat away her husband’s strength and influence and destroy his happiness.
- Proverbs 12:5 tn Heb “thoughts.” This term refers not just to random thoughts, however, but to what is planned or devised.
- Proverbs 12:5 sn The plans of good people are directed toward what is right. Advice from the wicked, however, is deceitful and can only lead to trouble.
- Proverbs 12:6 tn Heb “are to ambush blood.” The infinitive construct אֱרָב (ʾerov, “to lie in wait”) expresses the purpose of their conversations. The proverb either compares their words to an ambush (cf. NAB, NRSV “are a deadly ambush”) or states what the content of their words is about.
- Proverbs 12:6 tn Heb “for blood.” The term “blood” is a metonymy of effect, the cause being the person that they will attack and whose blood they will shed. After the construct “blood” is also an objective genitive.
- Proverbs 12:6 tn Heb “mouth.” The term פֶּה (peh, “mouth”) is a metonymy of cause, signifying what the righteous say. The righteous can make a skillful defense against false accusations that are intended to destroy. The righteous, who have gained wisdom, can escape the traps set by the words of the wicked.
- Proverbs 12:7 tn The MT has an infinitive absolute “as to the overthrow of the wicked—they are [then] no more.” The verb הָפַך (haphakh) can mean “to turn” (change directions), “to turn something into something,” or “to overthrow” (particularly said of cities). The LXX interprets as “wherever the wicked turns he disappears.”sn This proverb is about the stability of the righteous in times of trouble.
- Proverbs 12:7 tn Heb “and they are not.”
- Proverbs 12:7 tn Heb “the house of the righteous.” The genitive צַדִּיקִים (tsaddiqim) functions as an attributive adjective: “righteous house.” The noun בֵּית (bet, “house”) functions as a synecdoche of container (= house) for the contents (= family, household; perhaps household possessions). Cf. NCV “a good person’s family”; NLT “the children of the godly.”
- Proverbs 12:8 tn Heb “a man.”
- Proverbs 12:8 tn Heb “to the mouth of.” This idiom means “according to” (BDB 805 s.v. פֶּה 6.b.(b); cf. KJV, NAB, NIV). The point is that praise is proportionate to wisdom.
- Proverbs 12:8 tn Heb “bent of mind.” The verb עָוָּה (ʿavah) occurs four times in the Niphal. In Isa 21:3 and Ps 38:6 it describes someone who is dazed or bewildered; in 1 Sam 20:30 it is derogatory, probably meaning moral perversity. Here it contrasts wisdom, so “bewildered” is likely, but it may also mean “perverse” (NASB, NRSV, NKJV), “warped” (NIV, NLT), “twisted” (ESV). The noun לֵב (lev, “mind, heart”) is a genitive of specification. It functions as a metonymy of association for “mind; thoughts” (BDB 524 s.v. 3) and “will; volition” (BDB 524 s.v. 4). This person does not perceive things as they are, and so makes wrong choices. His thinking is all wrong.
- Proverbs 12:9 tn Heb “one who is lightly regarded.” The verb קָלָה (qalah) means “to be lightly esteemed; to be dishonored; to be degraded” (BDB 885 s.v.).
- Proverbs 12:9 tn Or “who accomplishes [something] for himself.” This is another possible meaning of the Hebrew underlying the LXX (see below). All of the possible options suggest that this person still has something of their own in contrast to the pretentious person in the second half of the saying.tc The MT reads וְעֶבֶד לוֹ (veʿeved lo), which may mean “has a servant” or “is a servant for himself.” The LXX, Syriac, Vulgate and at least one Medieval Hebrew manuscript read the consonants as וְעֹבֵד לוֹ (veʿoved lo) “who serves (works for) himself.” The editors of BHS suggest a slight emendation to וַעֲבוּר לוֹ (vaʿavur lo) “and the produce belongs to him.” The meaning produce (cf. Josh 5:11) is a fitting parallel to “food” and the end of the verse, but the suggestion has no textual support.
- Proverbs 12:9 tn Heb “who makes himself out to be important,” “who feigns importance,” or “to boast.” The verb is a Hitpael participle from כָּבֵד (kaved), “to be weighty; to be honored; to be important”). See BDB 458 s.v. כָּבֵד Hitp.2 and HALOT 456 s.v. כָּבֵד.sn This individual lives beyond his financial means in a vain show to impress other people and thus cannot afford to put food on the table.
- Proverbs 12:10 tn Heb “knows”; NLT “concerned for the welfare of.” For יָדַע (yadaʿ) meaning “to care for” see HALOT 391 s.v. Qal 4 and 7, NIDOTTE 401 s.v., and compare Job 9:21; Ps 1:6.
- Proverbs 12:10 tn Heb “but the mercies.” The additional words appear in the translation for the sake of clarification. The line can be interpreted in two ways: (1) when the wicked exhibit a kind act, they do it in a cruel way, or (2) even the kindest of their acts is cruel by all assessments.
- Proverbs 12:11 sn In the biblical period agriculture was the most common occupation for the people; so “working a field” describes a substantial occupation, but also represents working in general. Diligent work, not get-rich-quick schemes, is the key to ensuring income.
- Proverbs 12:11 tn Heb “will have his fill of” or “will be satisfied with.”
- Proverbs 12:11 tn Heb “empty things” or “vain things.” The term רֵיקִים (reqim) refers to worthless pursuits in an effort to make money. The fact that the participle used is “chase after” shows how elusive these are. Cf. NIV “fantasies”; NCV “empty dreams”; TEV “useless projects.”
- Proverbs 12:11 tn Heb “lacking of mind.” The term לֵב (lev, “mind, heart”) refers by metonymy to thinking, and by extension to discernment, wisdom, good sense.
- Proverbs 12:12 sn The contrast includes a contrast of verb forms, here the perfect verb “has desired,” next the imperfect verb “will yield [fruit].” The perfect verb leaves the wicked at the point of desire for a goal. He or she has [only] desired, but there is no implication of achievement. In contrast the righteous are described not in terms of their goal or desire, but their root, implying their foundation or character. Their focus is different but their root will yield fruit or be productive.
- Proverbs 12:12 tn This line is difficult to interpret. BDB connects the term מְצוֹד (metsod) to II מָצוֹד which means (1) “snare; hunting-net” and (2) what is caught: “prey” (BDB 844-45 s.v. II מָצוֹד). This would function as a metonymy of cause for what the net catches: the prey. Or it may be saying that the wicked get caught in their own net, that is, reap the consequences of their own sins. On the other hand, HALOT 622 connects מְצוֹד (metsod) to II מְצוּדָה (metsudah, “mountain stronghold”; cf. NAB “the stronghold of evil men will be demolished”). The LXX translated it as: “The desires of the wicked are evil.” The Syriac has: “The wicked desire to do evil.” The Latin expands it: “The desire of the wicked is a defense of the worst [things, or persons].” C. H. Toy suggests emending the text to read “wickedness is the net of bad men” (Proverbs [ICC], 250).
- Proverbs 12:12 tc The MT reads יִתֵּן (yitten, “will give; gives,” without a direct object: “the root of the righteous gives.” The LXX reads “the root of the righteous endures” (cf. NAB). This suggests a Hebrew Vorlage of אֵיתָן (ʾetan, “constant; continual”; HALOT 44-45 s.v. I אֵיתָן 2) which would involve the omission of א (ʾalef) in the MT.tn Heb “will give/yield.” The verb נָתַן (natan) is used elsewhere in the phrase to “produce fruit” (e.g. Lev 25:19 of the land; Zech 8:12 of the vine). Yielding fruit can be a natural implication of healthy roots (cf. Ps. 1:3; Isa 11:1; Jer 12:2). The sage has probably left out specific mention of the word “fruit” to heighten the contrast between desiring a goal and receiving a result which is the byproduct of good character. However the omission may imply a text critical problem.
- Proverbs 12:13 tc MT reads the noun מוֹקֵשׁ (moqesh, “bait; lure”). The LXX, Syriac and Tg. Prov 12:13 took it as a passive participle (“is ensnared”). The MT is the more difficult reading and so is preferred. The versions appear to be trying to clarify a difficult reading. tn Heb “snare of a man.” The word “snare” is the figurative meaning of the noun מוֹקֵשׁ (“bait; lure” from יָקַשׁ [yaqash, “to lay a bait, or lure”]).
- Proverbs 12:13 tn Heb “transgression of the lips.” The noun “lips” is a genitive of specification and it functions as a metonymy of cause for speech: sinful talk or sinning by talking. J. H. Greenstone suggests that this refers to litigation; the wicked attempt to involve the innocent (Proverbs, 131).
- Proverbs 12:13 sn J. H. Greenstone suggests that when the wicked become involved in contradictions of testimony, the innocent is freed from the trouble. Another meaning would be that the wicked get themselves trapped by what they say, but the righteous avoid that (Proverbs, 131).
- Proverbs 12:14 tn Heb “fruit of the lips.” The term “fruit” is the implied comparison, meaning what is produced; and “lips” is the metonymy of cause, referring to speech. Proper speech will result in good things.
- Proverbs 12:14 tn Heb “the work of the hands of a man.”
- Proverbs 12:14 tc The Kethib has the Qal imperfect, “will return” to him (cf. NASB); the Qere preserves a Hiphil imperfect, “he/one will restore/render” to him (cf. KJV, ASV). The Qere seems to suggest that someone (God or people) will reward him in kind. Since there is no expressed subject, it may be translated as a passive voice.
- Proverbs 12:15 sn The way of a fool describes a headlong course of actions (“way” is an idiom for conduct) that is not abandoned even when wise advice is offered.
- Proverbs 12:15 sn The fool believes that his own plans and ideas are perfect or “right” (יָשָׁר, yashar); he is satisfied with his own opinion.
- Proverbs 12:15 tn Heb “in his own eyes.”
- Proverbs 12:15 tn Or “a wise person listens to advice” (cf. NIV, NRSV, TEV, CEV, NLT).
- Proverbs 12:16 tn Heb “The fool, at once his vexation is known.” This rhetorically emphatic construction uses an independent nominative absolute, which is then followed by the formal subject with a suffix. The construction focuses attention on “the fool,” then states what is to be said about him.
- Proverbs 12:16 tn Heb “on the day” or “the same day.”sn The fool is impatient and unwise, and so flares up immediately when anything bothers him. W. McKane says that the fool’s reaction is “like an injured animal and so his opponent knows that he has been wounded” (Proverbs [OTL], 442).
- Proverbs 12:16 tn Heb “shrewd.”
- Proverbs 12:16 tn The range of meanings for the verb and the object suggest several possible interpretations of the last line. The verb כָּסָה (kasah) means “to cover” and may indicate hiding or ignoring something. The noun קָלוֹן (qalon) means “shame” and may refer to disgrace (something to be ashamed of) or to contempt or an insult given (shaming words). Several English translations view it as ignoring or overlooking an insult (NIV, ESV, NRSV). Others more ambiguously render it as covering or concealing dishonor or shame, where it is less clear whether the person conceals their own shame or someone else’s. And the LXX reads “a clever person conceals his own dishonor.” But these entail the three main possibilities: to ignore an insult given to you, to ignore something that could shame others, or to conceal something of your own that could be shameful. In a similar phrase in 12:23, the verb does not mean to ignore something.sn The contrast in this proverb could be that the prudent person overlooks the insult made by the fool in part one, bypasses the opportunity to expose something that would shame another (in contrast to the fool), or doesn’t give the opportunity for the fool to see what might be embarrassing. In contrast the fool cannot handle criticism well and/or announces dissatisfaction instinctively and quickly, without appropriate thought for others.
- Proverbs 12:17 tn The text has “he pours out faithfully”; the word rendered “faithfully” or “reliably” (אֱמוּנָה, ʾemunah) is used frequently for giving testimony in court, and so here the subject matter is the reliable witness.
- Proverbs 12:17 tn Heb “righteousness.”
- Proverbs 12:17 tn Heb “witness of falsehoods.” The genitive noun functions attributively, and the plural form depicts habitual action or moral characteristic. This describes a person who habitually lies. A false witness cannot be counted on to help the cause of justice.
- Proverbs 12:17 tn The term “speaks” does not appear in this line but is implied by the parallelism; it is supplied in the translation for clarity and smoothness.
- Proverbs 12:18 tn The term בּוֹטֶה (boteh) means “to speak rashly [or, thoughtlessly]” (e.g., Lev 5:4; Num 30:7).
- Proverbs 12:18 tn Heb “the tongue” (so NAB, NIV, NRSV). The term לָשׁוֹן (lashon, “tongue”) functions as a metonymy of cause for what is said.
- Proverbs 12:18 tn Heb “[is] healing.” The term “brings” is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity and smoothness.
- Proverbs 12:18 sn Healing is a metonymy of effect. Healing words are the opposite of the cutting, irresponsible words. What the wise say is faithful and true, gentle and kind, uplifting and encouraging; so their words bring healing.
- Proverbs 12:19 tn Heb “a lip of truth.” The genitive אֱמֶת (ʾemet, “truth”) functions as an attributive adjective: “truthful lip.” The term שְׂפַת (sefat, “lip”) functions as a synecdoche of part (= lip) for the whole (= person): “truthful person.” The contrast is between “the lip of truth” and the “tongue of lying.”
- Proverbs 12:19 tn Heb “a tongue of deceit.” The genitive שָׁקֶר (shaqer, “deceit”) functions as an attributive genitive. The noun לָשׁוֹן (lashon, “tongue”) functions as a synecdoche of part (= tongue) for the whole (= person): “lying person.”
- Proverbs 12:19 tn The verb אַרְגִיעָה (ʾargiʿah) is the Hiphil of the root רָגַע (ragaʿ). The number of homonyms of this root in Hebrew is debated. BDB lists it as a denominative of רֶגַע (regaʿ, “a moment”), with the Hiphil meaning “to make a twinkling” (BDB 920 s.v. I רָגַע). HALOT lists only one verbal root with a base meaning “to look for peace” and this phrase with the Hiphil meaning “as long as I grant rest” (HALOT 1188, s.v. רָגַע). Gesenius considers it to refer to blinking the eyes (GKC 321 § 108h). In any case it is agreed that this expression is an idiom for brevity, “only for a moment.”
- Proverbs 12:20 tc Rather than the MT’s מִרְמָה (mirmah, “deceit”), the BHS editors suggest מֹרָה (morah, “bitterness, sorrow”) as a contrast to joy in the second half.
- Proverbs 12:20 sn The contrast here is between “evil” (= pain and calamity) and “peace” (= social wholeness and well-being); see, e.g., Pss 34:14; 37:37.
- Proverbs 12:20 tn Heb “those who are counselors of peace.” The term שָׁלוֹם (shalom, “peace”) is an objective genitive, so the genitive-construct “counselors of peace” means those who advise, advocate or promote peace (cf. NAB, NIV).
- Proverbs 12:21 tn Hebrew places the negative with the verb (“all harm will not be…”), while English prefers to negate the noun (“no harm will…”). The proper nuance of אָוֶן (ʾaven) is debated. The noun can refer to disaster, injustice, or iniquity. It is not clear how neutrally the term may refer to disaster or how tightly it is tied to the consequence or result of wickedness. There is some question as to whether it can have a magical connotation, as in a spell or a curse. In Job, Eliphaz declares that אָוֶן (ʾaven) doesn’t come out of the dust (just happen); on the other hand, humankind is born to trouble (Job 5:6-7). Rashi, a Jewish scholar who lived a.d. 1040-1105, took the term as “wickedness,” and the clause as “the righteous will not be caught up in wickedness.”
- Proverbs 12:21 tn The pual imperfect verb יְאֻנֶּה (yeʾunneh) is from a rare root occurring only 4 times in the Bible. In the only piel case, Exod 21:13, God makes something happen for someone. This implies that the pual is not simply “to happen to” but “made to happen to.” Some propose “be allowed to happen to.”sn Proverbial sayings are often general and not absolute. Clearly Job was a righteous person to whom harm happened (or was permitted to happen). And being righteous does not mean an exemption from all hardships that are not related to punishment. The proper nuance also depends on the understanding of “harm.” Perhaps the correct nuance is that God does not direct harms of punishment at the righteous. In the surrounding polytheistic countries, they believed that a god might make a mistake and punish the wrong person.
- Proverbs 12:21 tn The expression מָלְאוּ רָע (maleʾu raʿ, “to be full of calamity/evil”) means (1) the wicked do much evil or (2) the wicked experience much calamity (cf. NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT).
- Proverbs 12:22 tn Heb “an abomination of the Lord.” The term יְהוָה (yehvah, “the Lord”) is a subjective genitive.
- Proverbs 12:22 tn Heb “lips of lying.” The genitive שָׁקֶר (shaqer, “lying”) functions as an attributive genitive: “lying lips.” The term “lips” functions as a synecdoche of part (= lips) for the whole (= person): “a liar.”
- Proverbs 12:22 tn Heb “but doers of truthfulness.” The term “truthfulness” is an objective genitive, meaning: “those who practice truth” or “those who act in good faith.” Their words and works are reliable.
- Proverbs 12:22 sn The contrast between “delight/pleasure” and “abomination” is emphatic. What pleases the Lord is acting truthfully or faithfully.
- Proverbs 12:23 tn Heb “a shrewd man” (so NAB); KJV, NIV “a prudent man”; NRSV “One who is clever.” sn A shrewd person knows how to use knowledge wisely, and restrains himself from revealing all he knows.
- Proverbs 12:23 sn The term כֹּסֶה (koseh, “covers; hides”) does not mean that he never shares his knowledge, but discerns when it is and is not appropriate to speak, cf. 10:14; 17:27.
- Proverbs 12:23 tn Heb “the mind of fools.” The לֵב (lev, “mind, heart”) is the place of thinking and so it is the both source of what is said and the place of discernment for what to say aloud.
- Proverbs 12:23 tn Or “speak out foolishly.” The noun may be a direct object (folly) or an adverbial accusative (foolishly).sn The noun אִוֶּלֶת (ʾivvelet, “foolishness; folly”) is the antithesis of perception and understanding. It is related to the noun אֱוִּיל (ʾevvil, “fool”), one who is morally bad because he despises wisdom and discipline, mocks at guilt, is licentious and quarrelsome, and is almost impossible to rebuke. W. McKane says that the more one speaks, the less he is able to speak effectively (Proverbs [OTL], 422). Cf. TEV “stupid people advertise their ignorance;” NLT “fools broadcast their folly.”
- Proverbs 12:24 sn By their diligent work they succeed to management. The diligent rise to the top, while the lazy sink to the bottom.
- Proverbs 12:24 tn Heb “the hand of the diligent.” The term “hand” is a synecdoche of part (= hand) for the whole (= person): diligent person. The hand is emphasized because it is the instrument of physical labor; it signifies the actions and the industry of a diligent person—what his hand does.
- Proverbs 12:24 tn The term רְמִיָּה (remiyyah) can mean “slack, negligent, deceptive” (HALOT 1243 s.v.). By the feature of ellipsis and double duty we should probably understand it as “the hand of the negligent,” as a way of referring to a negligent person. The term refers to one who is not diligent, who perhaps tries deceive his employer about his work, which he has neglected.
- Proverbs 12:24 tn The term מַס (mas) refers to forced or conscripted labor and is sometimes translated as “slave labor” (NIV, cf. NLT “slave”) but it is far from clear that it means slavery (see NIDOTTE 984 s.v.). The term certainly describes imposed work requirements. For Israelites within Israel it is elsewhere used only in connection to conscription to work on royal building projects making it like a form of taxation (forced labor has often been used in world history as taxation instead of money). The precise use of the term here is unclear because of general lack of information, but perhaps the lazy person will not earn enough money to meet obligations and be required to pay via forced labor.
- Proverbs 12:25 tn The word “anxiety” (דְּאָגָה, deʾagah) combines anxiety and fear—anxious fear (e.g., Jer 49:23; Ezek 4:16; for the related verb see Ps 38:18; Jer 17:8).
- Proverbs 12:25 tn Heb “bows it [= his heart] down.” Anxiety weighs heavily on the heart, causing depression. The spirit is brought low.
- Proverbs 12:25 tn Heb “good.” The Hebrew word “good” (טוֹב, tov) refers to what is beneficial for life, promotes life, creates life or protects life. The “good word” here would include encouragement, kindness, and insight—the person needs to regain the proper perspective on life and renew his confidence.
- Proverbs 12:25 tn Heb “makes it [= his heart] glad.” The similarly sounding terms יַשְׁחֶנָּה (yashkhennah, “weighs it down”) and יְשַׂמְּחֶנָּה (yesammekhennah, “makes it glad”) create a wordplay (paronomasia) that dramatically emphasizes the polar opposite emotional states: depression versus joy.
- Proverbs 12:26 tn The line has several possible translations: (1) The verb יָתֵר (yater) can mean “to spy out; to examine,” which makes a good contrast to “lead astray” in the parallel colon. So perhaps, it means “searches out his neighbor/friend,” though this bypasses the preposition “from.” (2) יָתֵר could be the Hophal of נָתַר (natar, Hiphil “to set free”; Hophal “to be set free”): “the righteous is delivered from harm” [reading מֵרָעָה, meraʿah] (J. A. Emerton, “A Note on Proverbs 12:26, ” ZAW 76 : 191-93). (3) Another option is, “the righteous guides his friend aright” (cf. NRSV, NLT).
- Proverbs 12:27 tc The MT reads יַחֲרֹךְ (yakharokh) from II חָרַךְ (kharakh, “to roast”?). On the other hand, several versions (LXX, Syriac, Vulgate) reflect a Hebrew Vorlage of יַדְרִיךְ (yadrikh) from דָרַךְ (darakh, “to gain”), meaning: “a lazy person cannot catch his prey” (suggested by Gemser; cf. NAB). The MT is the more difficult reading, being a hapax legomenon, and therefore should be retained; the versions are trying to make sense out of a rare expression.tn The verb II חָרַךְ (kharakh) is a hapax legomenon, appearing in the OT only here. BDB suggests that it means “to start; to set in motion” (BDB 355 s.v.). The related Aramaic and Syriac verb means “to scorch; to parch,” and the related Arabic verb means “to roast; to scorch by burning”; so it may mean “to roast; to fry” (HALOT 353 s.v. I חרך). The lazy person can’t be bothered cooking what he has hunted. The Midrash sees an allusion to Jacob and Esau in Genesis 25. M. Dahood translates it: “the languid man will roast no game for himself, but the diligent will come on the wealth of the steppe” (“The Hapax harak in Proverbs 12:27, ” Bib 63 : 60-62). This hyperbole means that the lazy person does not complete a project.
- Proverbs 12:27 tn Heb “the precious possession of a man, diligent.” The LXX reads “but a valuable possession [is] a pure man” while Rashi, a highly esteemed 11th century Rabbi, interpreted it as “a precious possession of a man is to be diligent” (R. Murphy, Proverbs [WBC] 88). The translation assumes that the word יָקָר (yaqar, “precious”) should either be a construct form or transposed into predicate position. The implication is not to desire or overvalue possessions themselves but to take care of what one has.
- Proverbs 12:28 tc The MT has דֶרֶך נְתִיבָה (derekh netivah) “a way, a path.” The duplication of meaning is awkward. If the first word is repointed as a Qal participle (דֹּרֵך, dorekh) it could be understood as “treading a path [that leads to…].” The editors of BHS propose that the second word be emended to מְשׁוּבָה (meshuvah, “[way of] apostacy”) or תּוֹעֵבָה (toʿevah, “[way of] abomination”). The LXX reads “the ways of the revengeful [lead] to death.”
- Proverbs 12:28 tc The consonants אל־מות (ʾl mvt) are vocalized by the MT as אַל־מָוֶת (ʾal mavet, “no death”), perhaps meaning immortality (“the journey of [her] path is no-death”). M. Dahood suggests that it means permanence (“Immortality in Proverbs 12:28, ” Bib 41 : 176-81). However, many medieval Hebrew mss and all the versions vocalize it as אֶל־מָוֶת (ʾel mavet), meaning “leads to death” (cf. NAB, NCV). W. McKane adopts this reading, and suggests that MT is a scribal change toward eternal life (Proverbs [OTL], 451-52). Others adopt this reading because they do not find the term “life” used in Proverbs for eternal life, nor do they find references to immortality elsewhere in Proverbs.