New English Translation
14 Every wise woman[a] has built[b] her household,[c]
but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.
2 The one who walks in his uprightness fears the Lord,[d]
but the one who is perverted in his ways[e] despises him.
3 In[f] the speech[g] of a fool is a rod for his back,[h]
but the words[i] of the wise protect them.
4 Where there are no oxen, the feeding trough is clean,
but an abundant harvest is produced by strong oxen.[j]
5 A truthful witness[k] does not lie,
but a false witness[l] breathes out lies.[m]
6 The scorner[n] sought wisdom—there was none,[o]
but understanding was easy[p] for a discerning person.
7 Walk[q] abreast with a foolish person,[r]
and you do not understand[s] wise counsel.[t]
8 The wisdom of the shrewd person[u] is to discern[v] his way,
but the folly of fools is deception.[w]
9 Fools mock[x] at reparation,[y]
but among the upright there is favor.[z]
10 The heart knows its own bitterness,[aa]
and with its joy no one else[ab] can share.[ac]
11 The household[ad] of the wicked will be destroyed,
but the tent[ae] of the upright will flourish.
12 There is a way that seems right to a person,[af]
but its end is the way that leads to death.[ag]
13 Even in laughter the heart may ache,[ah]
and the end[ai] of joy may be[aj] grief.
14 The backslider[ak] will be paid back[al] from his own ways,
but a good person will be rewarded[am] for his.
15 A naive person[an] will believe anything,
but the shrewd person discerns his steps.[ao]
16 A wise person is cautious[ap] and turns from evil,
but a fool throws off restraint[aq] and is overconfident.[ar]
17 A person who has a quick temper[as] will do foolish things,
and a person with crafty schemes[at] will be hated.[au]
18 The naive have inherited[av] folly,
but the shrewd[aw] will be crowned[ax] with knowledge.
19 Bad people have bowed[ay] before good people,
and wicked people have bowed[az] at the gates[ba] of someone righteous.[bb]
20 A poor person will be disliked[bc] even by his neighbors,
but those who love the rich are many.[bd]
21 The one who despises his neighbor sins,
but whoever is kind to the needy is blessed.
22 Do not those who devise[be] evil go astray?
But those who plan good exhibit[bf] faithful covenant love.[bg]
23 In all hard work[bh] there is profit,
but merely talking about it[bi] only brings[bj] poverty.[bk]
24 The crown of the wise is their riches,[bl]
but the folly[bm] of fools is folly.
25 A truthful witness[bn] rescues lives,[bo]
but one who testifies falsely betrays them.[bp]
26 In the fear of the Lord one has[bq] strong confidence,[br]
and it will be a refuge[bs] for his children.
27 The fear of the Lord[bt] is like[bu] a life-giving fountain,[bv]
to turn[bw] people[bx] from deadly snares.[by]
28 A king’s glory is[bz] the abundance of people,
but the lack of subjects[ca] is the ruin[cb] of a ruler.
29 Someone with great understanding is slow to anger,[cc]
but the one who has a quick temper[cd] exalts[ce] folly.
30 A tranquil spirit[cf] revives the body,[cg]
but envy[ch] is rottenness to the bones.[ci]
31 The one who oppresses[cj] the poor has insulted[ck] his Creator,
but whoever honors him shows favor[cl] to the needy.
32 An evil person will be thrown down through his wickedness,[cm]
but a righteous person takes refuge in his integrity.[cn]
33 Wisdom rests in the heart of the discerning;
it is not known[co] in the inner parts[cp] of fools.
34 Righteousness exalts[cq] a nation,
but sin is a disgrace[cr] to any people.
35 The king shows favor[cs] to a wise[ct] servant,
but his wrath falls on[cu] one who acts shamefully.
- Proverbs 14:1 tc The verb בָּנְתָה (banetah) is singular, while the noun נָשִׁים (nashim) is plural. Because of the lack of agreement between the apparent subject and verb and because of the similar thought in Prov 9:1, the BHS editors suggest two possibilities: (1) to delete the word “women/wives” and read the line identically as Prov 9:1, or (2) to read תָּשִׂים בְּאֵיתָן (tasim beʾetan) in place of נָשִׁים בָּנְתָה (nashim banetah), meaning “Wisdom sets up her house with strength.” Without emending the consonants, the text may also be read as “wives’ wisdom has built her house,” or “she built her house with wives’ wisdom,” by reading the noun חָכְמוֹת (khokhmot) instead of the adjective חַכְמוֹת (khakhmot). The personification of Folly in the second half of the verse implies the personification of Wisdom at the beginning.tn Heb “wise ones of women.” The construct phrase חַכְמוֹת נָשִׁים (khakhmot nashim) features a wholistic genitive: “wise women.” The plural functions in a distributive sense: “every wise woman.” The contrast is between wise and foolish women (e.g., Prov 7:10-23; 31:10-31).
- Proverbs 14:1 tn The perfect tense verb in the first colon and the imperfect verb in the second colon accent the antithetic parallelism. The verse contrasts Lady Wisdom and Lady Folly by painting the picture of what Wisdom has done (and by implication still benefits from) in contrast to what Folly keeps doing (to her own detriment).
- Proverbs 14:1 tn Heb “house.” This term functions as a synecdoche of container (= house) for contents (= household, family).
- Proverbs 14:2 tn Heb “fear of the Lord.” The term יְהוָה (yehvah, “the Lord”) functions as an objective genitive.
- Proverbs 14:2 tn Heb “crooked of ways”; NRSV “devious in conduct.” This construct phrase features a genitive of specification: “crooked in reference to his ways.” The term “ways” is an idiom for moral conduct. The evidence that people fear the Lord is uprightness; the evidence of those who despise him is the devious ways.
- Proverbs 14:3 tn The preposition ב (bet) may denote (1) exchange: “in exchange for” foolish talk there is a rod; or (2) cause: “because of” foolish talk.
- Proverbs 14:3 sn The noun פֶּה (peh, “mouth”) functions as a metonymy of cause for what is said (“speech, words, talk”).
- Proverbs 14:3 tc The MT reads גַּאֲוָה (gaʾavah, “pride”) which creates an awkward sense “in the mouth of a fool is a rod/shoot of pride” (cf. KJV, ASV), perhaps meaning that pride sprouts from his mouth. The BHS editors suggest emending the form to גֵּוֹה (gevoh, “disciplining-rod”) to create tighter parallelism and irony: “in the mouth of a fool is a rod for the back” (e.g., Prov 10:13). What the fool says will bring discipline.tn Heb “a rod of back.” The noun גֵּוֹה functions as a genitive of specification: “a rod for his back.” The fool is punished because of what he says.
- Proverbs 14:3 tn Heb “lips.” The term “lips” is a metonymy of cause, meaning what they say. The wise by their speech will find protection.
- Proverbs 14:4 tn Heb “the strength of oxen.” The genitive שׁוֹר (shor, “oxen”) functions as an attributed genitive: “strong oxen.” Strong oxen are indispensable for a good harvest, and for oxen to be strong they must be well-fed. The farmer has to balance grain consumption with the work oxen do.
- Proverbs 14:5 tn Heb “a witness of faithfulness.” The genitive functions in an attributive sense: “faithful witness” (so KJV, NRSV); TEV “reliable witness.”
- Proverbs 14:5 tn Heb “a witness of falsehood.” The genitive functions in an attributive sense: “false witness.”
- Proverbs 14:5 sn This saying addresses the problem of legal testimony: A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness does lie—naturally. The first colon uses the verb כָּזַב (kazav, “to lie”) and the second colon uses the noun כָּזָב (kazav, “lie; falsehood”).
- Proverbs 14:6 sn The “scorner” (לֵץ, lets) is intellectually arrogant; he lacks any serious interest in knowledge or religion. He pursues wisdom in a superficial way so that he can appear wise. The acquisition of wisdom is conditioned by one’s attitude toward it (J. H. Greenstone, Proverbs, 149).
- Proverbs 14:6 sn It is not that wisdom was unavailable (as if in contradiction to Prov 8). Instead the proverb enters the point of view of the person characterized by derision and scoffing. From their perspective it wasn’t there. As observers we see that the scorner did not find wisdom because of a haughty attitude. Perhaps the proverb is given in a past time reference because it also pictures a person is done with seeking wisdom. They looked. It wasn’t there. They stopped looking.
- Proverbs 14:6 tn The verb קָלַל (qalal) is a stative verb meaning to “be small, insignificant, quick, easy.” Stative verbs seldom appear in the Niphal, as the verb does here. But in the Niphal they are often ingressive, “knowledge (be)came easy for the discerning.”
- Proverbs 14:7 tn The general meaning of the proverb is clear, to avoid association with a fool who is not a source of wisdom. But the precise way that the proverb says it is unclear. The Hebrew in the first colon has the imperative לֵךְ (lekh) “walk” followed by the compound preposition מִנֶּגֶד (minneged) “across from,” “opposite of,” or rarely “[away] from in front of [someone’s eyes].” The most common use of the preposition yields, “Walk across/abreast from a foolish person and you do not [come to] know knowledgeable lips.” Many translations interpret it to say “go/stay away from…” (e.g. NIV, ESV, NAS, KJV) while others say “enter into the presence of…” (ASV, ERV).tc Instead of לֵךְ (lekh) “walk,” the LXX reads “all,” implying the reversal of the two consonants as כֹּל (kol). The Hebrew would mean “everything is opposite of the foolish person.” This is perhaps an idiomatic way of saying that from the fool’s perspective, everything is opposed to him.
- Proverbs 14:7 tn Heb “a man, a stupid fellow.”
- Proverbs 14:7 tn As the perfect form of a stative verb, יָדַעְתָּ (yadaʿta) may be understood as present or past: thus as the result “you do not come to know” or the basis “you have not known.”tc The MT reads וּבַל־יָדַעְתָּ (uval yadaʿta, “you do not know [the lips of knowledge]).” The LXX reflects a Hebrew Vorlage of וּכְלֵי־דַעַת (ukhele daʿat) “instruments of knowledge/discretion.” The textual variant involves wrong word division and orthographic confusion between ב (bet) and כ (kaf). The LXX reading here makes sense if its reading of the first colon is accepted (see earlier note) or if מִנֶּגֶד (minneged) is separative (“walk away from…”). Both would contrast the value of being with a fool and value of wise lips. The LXX of Proverbs can be loose, but this case seems to be the faithful rendering of a slightly different Hebrew copy. Either the LXX or the MT text could just as easily give rise to the other. Both readings are workable and both give the same general advice. Tg. Prov 14:7 freely interprets the verse: “for there is no knowledge on his lips.” C. H. Toy emends the text: “for his lips do not utter knowledge” as in 15:7 (Proverbs [ICC], 285).
- Proverbs 14:7 tn Heb “lips of knowledge” (so KJV, ASV). “Lips” is the metonymy of cause, and “knowledge” is an objective genitive (speaking knowledge) or attributive genitive (knowledgeable speech): “wise counsel.”
- Proverbs 14:8 tn Or “the prudent [person]” (cf. KJV, NASB, NIV).
- Proverbs 14:8 tn The Hiphil infinitive construct denotes purpose. Those who are shrewd will use it to give careful consideration to all their ways.
- Proverbs 14:8 tn The word means “deception,” but some suggest “self-deception” here (W. McKane, Proverbs [OTL], 466; and D. W. Thomas, “Textual and Philological Notes on Some Passages in the Book of Proverbs,” VTSup 3 : 286); cf. NLT “fools deceive themselves.” The parallelism would favor this, but there is little support for it. The word usually means “craft practiced on others.” If the line is saying the fool is deceitful, there is only a loose antithesis between the cola.
- Proverbs 14:9 tn The noun “fools” is plural but the verb “mock” is singular. This has led some to reverse the line to say “guilty/guilt offering mocks fools” (C. H. Toy, Proverbs [ICC], 287); see, e.g., Isa 1:14; Amos 5:22. But lack of agreement between subject and verb is not an insurmountable difficulty.
- Proverbs 14:9 tc The LXX reads “houses of transgressors will owe purification.” Tg. Prov 14:9 has “guilt has its home among fools,” apparently reading יָלִין (yalin, “to spend the night, dwell”) instead of יָלִיץ (yalits, “to scoff at”).tn Heb “guilt.” The word אָשָׁם (ʾasham) has a broad range of meanings: “guilt, restitution, guilt-offering.” According to Leviticus, when someone realized he was guilty he would bring a “reparation offering,” a sin offering with an additional tribute for restitution (Lev 5:1-6). It would be left up to the guilty to come forward; it was for the kind of thing that only he would know, for which his conscience would bother him. Fools mock any need or attempt to make things right, to make restitution (cf. NIV, NRSV, NCV, TEV).
- Proverbs 14:9 tn The word רָצוֹן (ratson) means “favor; acceptance; pleasing.” It usually means what is pleasing or acceptable to God. In this passage it either means that the upright try to make amends, or that the upright find favor for doing so.
- Proverbs 14:10 tn Heb “bitterness of its soul.”
- Proverbs 14:10 tn Heb “stranger” (so KJV, NASB, NRSV).
- Proverbs 14:10 tn The verb is the Hitpael of II עָרַב (ʿarav), which means “to take in pledge; to give in pledge; to exchange.” Here it means “to share [in].” The proverb is saying that there are joys and sorrows that cannot be shared. No one can truly understand the deepest feelings of another.
- Proverbs 14:11 tn Heb “house.” The term “house” is a metonymy of subject, referring to their contents: families and family life. sn Personal integrity ensures domestic stability and prosperity, while lack of such integrity (= wickedness) will lead to the opposite.
- Proverbs 14:11 tn The term “tent” is a metonymy here referring to the contents of the tent: families.
- Proverbs 14:12 tn Heb “which is straight before a man.”sn The proverb contrasts the roadway with the road’s destination. The pathway immediately ahead is straight and smooth, easy to travel. So it would seem like a good path to follow, except that it’s destination is destruction. One view of the proverb is that the straight road represents wickedness that is disguised or rationalized. Another is that the sage recognizes the ambiguities of life; even when good judgment is used with regard to what a person can see, things may may still turn out quite badly.
- Proverbs 14:12 tn Or “but after it are the ways of death.” The phrase “ways of death” features the result of these paths. Here death means ruin (cf. Prov 7:27). Possibly the proverb envisions that the initial path which seemed good leads to other paths whose outcomes are all ruinous. tc The LXX seems to take דַּרְכֵי (darkhe, “ways of”) as יַרְכְּתֵי (yarkete, “depths/recesses of”) and renders “the depths of Hades,” but the verse seems to be concerned with events of this life.
- Proverbs 14:13 sn No joy is completely free of grief. There is a joy that is superficial and there is underlying pain that will remain after the joy is gone.
- Proverbs 14:13 tc Heb “and its end, joy, is grief.” The suffix may be regarded as an Aramaism, a proleptic suffix referring to “joy.” Or it may be considered a case of wrong word division, moving the ה (he) to read אַחֲרִית הַשִּׂמְחָה (ʾakharit hassimkhah, “after the joy [may be] grief”) rather than אַחֲרִיתָהּ שִׂמְחָה (ʾakharitah simkhah, “after it, joy, grief”).
- Proverbs 14:13 tn The phrase “may be” is not in the Hebrew but is supplied from the parallelism, which features an imperfect of possibility.
- Proverbs 14:14 tn Heb “a backslidden heart.” The term סוּג (sug) means “to move away; to move backwards; to depart; to backslide” (BDB 690 s.v. I סוּג). This individual is the one who backslides, that is, who departs from the path of righteousness.
- Proverbs 14:14 tn Heb “will be filled”; cf. KJV, ASV. The verb (“to be filled, to be satisfied”) here means “to be repaid,” that is, to partake in his own evil ways. His faithlessness will come back to haunt him.
- Proverbs 14:14 tn The phrase “will be rewarded” does not appear in the Hebrew but is supplied based on the parallelism for the sake of clarity and smoothness.
- Proverbs 14:15 sn The contrast is with the simpleton and the shrewd. The simpleton is the young person who is untrained morally or intellectually, and therefore gullible. The shrewd one is the prudent person, the one who has the ability to make critical discriminations.
- Proverbs 14:15 tn Heb “his step”; cf. TEV “sensible people watch their step.”
- Proverbs 14:16 tn Heb “fears.” Since the holy name (Yahweh, translated “the Lord”) is not used, it probably does not here mean fear of the Lord, but of the consequences of actions.
- Proverbs 14:16 tn The Hitpael of עָבַר (ʿavar, “to pass over”) means “to pass over the bounds of propriety; to act insolently” (BDB 720 s.v.; cf. ASV “beareth himself insolently”).
- Proverbs 14:16 tn The verb בָּטַח here denotes self-assurance or overconfidence. Fools are not cautious and do not fear the consequences of their actions.
- Proverbs 14:17 sn The proverb discusses two character traits that are distasteful to others—the quick tempered person (“short of anger” or impatient) and the crafty person (“man of devices”). C. H. Toy thinks that the proverb is antithetical and renders it “but a wise man endures” (Proverbs [ICC], 292). In other words, the quick-tempered person acts foolishly and loses people’s respect, but the wise man does not.
- Proverbs 14:17 tn Heb “a man of devices.”
- Proverbs 14:17 tn The verb שָׂנֵא (saneʾ) is stative and as a Niphal is ingressive (“become hated”); its imperfect form should be future rather than present. tc The LXX reads “endures” (from נָשָׂא, nasaʾ) rather than “is hated” (from שָׂנֵא, saneʾ). This change seems to have arisen on the assumption that a contrast was needed. It has: “a man of thought endures.” Other versions take מְזִמּוֹת (mezimmot) in a good sense, but antithetical parallelism is unwarranted here.
- Proverbs 14:18 tc G. R. Driver proposed reading the verb as “are adorned” from a supposed verb חָלָה (khalah) derived from the noun חֲלִי (khali, “ornament”) (“Problems in the Hebrew Text of Proverbs,” Bib 32 : 181). A similar reading is followed by a number of English versions (e.g., NAB, NRSV, NLT).tn Or “have taken possession of.” The verb נָחֲלוּ (nakhalu) is a Qal perfect form of נָחַל (nakhal) “to inherit, to take possession, to maintain as a possession.” The tense of the translation depends on whether the verb is stative or dynamic. Morphologically it is ambiguous. Based on its lexical meaning, it appears to be a dynamic verb, though it does not occur enough times in the Qal to be certain based on its usage. (All other perfect forms are past and all its imperfect forms could be future. However, Ps 82:8 and Prov 3:35; 11:29; 28:10 could be cases of the present and these all use the imperfect, as dynamic verbs can for present tense.) As a dynamic verb, its perfect form should be understood as past time or perfective. As such the antithetic parallelism of the verse contrasts the verb tenses as well as the subjects and results. The naive have gotten folly and continue in it (unless they change). But the prudent are in a process of putting on knowledge in which they will be crowned with it. If the root is stative it could be understood as present, “The naive inherit folly.”
- Proverbs 14:18 tn Or “prudent” (KJV, NASB, NIV); NRSV, TEV “clever.”
- Proverbs 14:18 tn The meaning of יַכְתִּרוּ (yaktiru, Hiphil imperfect of כָּתַר, katar) is elusive. The noun from the same root, כֶּתֶר (keter), refers to a headdress, e.g. a turban or crown in Esther 1:11. The verbal root relates to surrounding. So the picture of wrapping on a turban, or “crowning” oneself, may be correct. However it may mean “to encompass knowledge,” i.e., possess it (parallel to the verb “inherit”).
- Proverbs 14:19 tn The verb שָׁחַח (shakhakh) means “to crouch, cower, bow” whether from weariness or in submission. As a dynamic verb in the perfect conjugation form, it is past or perfective. Here the sage takes the viewpoint of assuring the learner of what has happened in the past, asserting it to be prototypical of what will continue to happen. Some translations emphasize the future implication (NIV, NASB, CEV, NLT) while others opt to portray the lesson as a characteristic present (ESV, KJV, Holman).
- Proverbs 14:19 tn The phrase “have bowed” does not appear in this line but is implied by the parallelism; it is supplied in the translation for clarity and smoothness.
- Proverbs 14:19 sn J. H. Greenstone suggests that this means that they are begging for favors (Proverbs, 154).
- Proverbs 14:19 tn The adjective is singular. A plurality of people crouching before a single person portrays an even greater extent of difference in power between them.
- Proverbs 14:20 tn Heb “hated.” The verse is just a statement of fact. The verbs “love” and “hate” must be seen in their connotations: The poor are rejected, avoided, shunned—that is, hated, but the rich are sought after, favored, embraced—that is, loved.
- Proverbs 14:20 tn Heb “Many are the friends of the rich.” The participle of the verb אָהֵב (ʾahev, “to love”) can mean friend.
- Proverbs 14:22 sn The verb חָרַשׁ (kharash) means (1) literally: “to cut in; to engrave; to plow,” describing the work of a craftsman; and (2) figuratively: “to devise,” describing the mental activity of planning evil (what will harm people) in the first colon, and planning good (what will benefit them) in the second colon.
- Proverbs 14:22 tn The term “exhibit” does not appear in the Hebrew, but is implied by the antithetic parallelism and supplied in the translation for clarity and smoothness.
- Proverbs 14:22 tn Heb “loyal-love and truth.” The two terms חֶסֶד וֶאֱמֶת (khesed veʾemet) often form a hendiadys: “faithful love” or better “faithful covenant love.”
- Proverbs 14:23 sn The Hebrew term עֶצֶב (ʿetsev, “painful toil; labor”) is first used in scripture in Gen 3:19 to describe the effects of the Fall. The point here is that people should be more afraid of idle talk than of hard labor.
- Proverbs 14:23 tn Heb “word of lips.” This construct phrase features a genitive of source (“a word from the lips”) or a subjective genitive (“speaking a word”). Talk without work (which produces nothing) is contrasted with labor that produces something.
- Proverbs 14:23 tn The term “brings” does not appear in the Hebrew, but is supplied in the translation for clarity and smoothness.
- Proverbs 14:23 sn The noun מַחְסוֹר (makhsor, “need; thing needed; poverty”) comes from the verb “to lack; to be lacking; to decrease; to need.” A person given to idle talk rather than industrious work will have needs that go unmet.
- Proverbs 14:24 tc The LXX reads πανοῦργος (panourgos, “crafty”) which suggests deleting the שׁ (shin) from עָשְׁרָם (ʿoshram, “their riches”) and reading a noun or adj. derived from the verb עָרֹם (ʿarom, “be crafty). If the first case of “folly” in the second half is also emended, the proverb would read “The crown of the wise is their craftiness, but the garland of fools is folly.”sn C. H. Toy suggests that this line probably means that wealth is an ornament to those who use it well (Proverbs [ICC], 269). J. H. Greenstone suggests that it means that the wisdom of the wise, which is their crown of glory, constitutes their wealth (Proverbs, 155).
- Proverbs 14:24 tc The MT reads אִוֶלֶת (ʾivelet, “folly”). The editors of BHS propose emending the text to וְלִוְיַת (velivyat) from לִוְיָה (livyah, “wreath, garland”). This would provide the same parallelism (“garland” and “crown”) as Prov 4:9. The LXX reads διατριβὴ (diatribē, “lifestyle”). See M. Rotenberg, “The Meaning of אִוֶּלֶת in Proverbs,” LesŒ 25 (1960-1961): 201. A similar emendation is followed by NAB (“the diadem”) and NRSV (“the garland”).
- Proverbs 14:25 tn Heb “a witness of truth”; cf. CEV “an honest witness.”
- Proverbs 14:25 tn The noun נְפָשׁוֹת (nefashot) often means “souls,” but here “lives”—it functions as a metonymy for life (BDB 659 s.v. נֶפֶשׁ 3.c).sn The setting of this proverb is the courtroom. One who tells the truth “saves” (מַצִּיל [matsil, “rescues; delivers”]) the lives of those falsely accused.
- Proverbs 14:25 tc In the MT the verb lacks agreement with the two nouns in either gender or number so that there is no clear subject: “but he breathes lies, deceit.” Revocalizing the consonants from וְיָפִחַ (veyafiakh, “and he breathes/testifies”) to וִיפֵחַ (vifeakh, “and a witness [of lies]”) and from מִרְמָה (mirmah, “deceit”) to the Piel participle מְרַמֶּה (merammeh, “betrays, deceives, leads astray”) produces a grammatically acceptable text. One may also supply by parallelism “…betrays lives.”
- Proverbs 14:26 tn Heb “In the fear of the Lord [there is] confidence of strength.” The verb “one has” is supplied in the translation for the Hebrew nominal clause for the sake of smoothness.
- Proverbs 14:26 tn Heb “confidence of strength.” This construct phrase features an attributive genitive: “strong confidence” (so most English versions; NIV “a secure fortress”).
- Proverbs 14:26 sn The fear of the Lord will not only provide security for the parent but will also be a refuge for children. The line recalls Exod 20:5-6 where children will reap the benefits of the righteous parents. The line could also be read as “he [= God] will be a refuge for the children.”
- Proverbs 14:27 sn The verse is similar to Prov 13:14 except that “the fear of the Lord” has replaced “the teaching of the wise.”
- Proverbs 14:27 tn The comparative “like” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied by the metaphor; it is supplied for the sake of clarity.
- Proverbs 14:27 tn Heb “fountain of life.”
- Proverbs 14:27 tn The infinitive construct with prefixed ל (lamed) indicates the purpose/result of the first line; it could also function epexegetically, explaining how fear is a fountain: “by turning….”
- Proverbs 14:27 tn The term “people” does not appear in the Hebrew but is supplied in the translation for the sake of smoothness.
- Proverbs 14:27 tn Heb “snares of death” (so KJV, NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT); CEV “deadly traps.”
- Proverbs 14:28 tn The preposition serves as the beth essentiae—the glory is the abundant population, not in it.
- Proverbs 14:28 tn Heb “people.” Cf. NLT “a dwindling nation.”
- Proverbs 14:28 sn The word means “ruin; destruction,” but in this context it could be a metonymy of effect, the cause being an attack by more numerous people that will bring ruin to the ruler. The proverb is purely a practical and secular saying, unlike some of the faith teachings in salvation history passages.
- Proverbs 14:29 tn Or “Someone who is slow to anger [has] great understanding.” The translation treats the Hebrew nominal clause as having predicate-subject word order, similar to predicate position for adjectival clauses. But the issue of basic word order is debated.
- Proverbs 14:29 tn Heb “hasty of spirit” (so KJV, ASV); NRSV, NLT “a hasty temper.” One who has a quick temper or a short fuse will be evident to everyone, due to his rash actions.
- Proverbs 14:29 sn The participle “exalts” (מֵרִים, merim) means that this person brings folly to a full measure, lifts it up, brings it to the full notice of everybody.
- Proverbs 14:30 tn Heb “heart of calmness” or “heart of healing.” The term לֵב (lev, “heart, mind”) is a metonymy for the emotional state of a person (BDB 660 s.v. 6). The genitive noun מַרְפֵּא (marpeʾ) functions as an attributive adjective and may be one of two homonyms. 1 מַרְפֵּא (“healing”) derives from the root רָפָא (raphaʾ, “to heal”) and 2 מַרְפֵּא (“calmness, gentleness”) derives from the root רָפָה (raphah, “to be slack, loose”). A healthy spirit is tranquil, bringing peace to the body (J. H. Greenstone, Proverbs, 158).
- Proverbs 14:30 tn Heb “is the life of the flesh” (so KJV, ASV); NAB, NIV “gives life to the body.”
- Proverbs 14:30 tn The term קִנְאָה (qinʾah, “envy”) refers to passionate zeal or “jealousy” (so NAB, NCV, TEV, NLT), depending on whether the object is out of bounds or within one’s rights. In the good sense one might be consumed with zeal to defend the institutions of the sanctuary. But as envy or jealousy the word describes an intense and sometimes violent excitement and desire that is never satisfied.
- Proverbs 14:30 tn Heb “rottenness of bones.” The term “bones” may be a synecdoche representing the entire body; it is in contrast with “flesh” of the first colon. One who is consumed with envy finds no tranquility or general sense of health in body or spirit.
- Proverbs 14:31 tn Heb “an oppressor of the poor.” The verb עָשַׁק (ʿashaq) normally means “to oppress” (as in many English versions). However, here it might mean “to slander.” See J. A. Emerton, “Notes on Some Passages in the Book of Proverbs,” JTS 20 (1969): 202-22.
- Proverbs 14:31 sn In the Piel this verb has the meaning of “to reproach; to taunt; to say sharp things against” someone (cf. NIV “shows contempt for”). By oppressing the poor one taunts or mistreats God because that person is in the image of God—hence the reference to his/her maker, or “Creator.” To ridicule what God made is to ridicule God himself.
- Proverbs 14:31 tn Or “whoever shows favor to the needy honors him” (so NASB, NIV, and most translations, except KJV). While being an “oppressor” contrasts “showing favor” and to “have insulted” contrasts “honoring” the Creator, the proverb may also make its contrast by switching which element is the subject and which is verbal. In the first half “the oppressor” occurs first; the second half begins with vav (and/but) plus “the one who honors him. When the second half of a proverb begins with vav plus a participle, the overwhelming trend is that the participle is the subject, or occasionally the object of the sentence. On the rare occasions that a participle is the subject of a finite verb in a clause where the verb comes first, eight occur in the A-line and only one in the B-line (6:29 where the A-line is verbless and the B-line places focus on the verb). In some cases it is ambiguous whether the participle is verbal or substantival (11:17; 12:16; 16:2; 17:3; 21:2; 29:13) but these probably act as a predicate nominative. In other cases where another participle supplies the verbal element in the B-line (10:19; 11:13, 15; 16:28; 17:9; 19:2) the lead participle is the subject and the verbal participle is second. Thus standard syntax expects to read the line with “the one who honors him” as the subject. Showing favor to the needy is an outgrowth of the character of honoring the Lord. This may also elucidate the contrast between the verb forms. What act(s) it took to be “an oppressor of the poor” qualify as having insulted (perfect verb) the Maker. Insult has been given; that mark continues. But the one who honors him [the Maker] keeps (participle) being gracious to the needy.sn The phrase “shows favor” is contrasted with the term “oppresses.” To “show favor” means to be gracious to (or treat kindly) those who do not deserve it or cannot repay it. It is treatment that is gratis. This honors God because he commanded it to be done (Prov 14:21; 17:5; 19:17).
- Proverbs 14:32 tn Or “during his trouble” (i.e., when catastrophe comes). The noun רָעָה (raʿah) can refer to evil (so KJV, NASB, ESV, NRSV) or to calamity (CEV, NIV, NLT).
- Proverbs 14:32 tc The MT reads בְּמוֹתוֹ (bemoto, “in his death”). The LXX reads “in his integrity,” implying the switching of two letters to בְּתוּמּוֹ (betummo). The LXX is followed by some English versions (e.g., NAB “in his honesty,” NRSV “in their integrity,” and TEV “by their integrity”). For all other cases of the verb חָסָה (khasah, “to take refuge”), the preposition ב (bet) indicates what the person relies on, not what they take refuge through, and it is unlikely that the righteous rely on death or see death as a refuge.
- Proverbs 14:33 tc The MT says “it [wisdom] is known,” but this runs counter to the rest of Proverbs’ teaching, making it sound sarcastic at best. The LXX and the Syriac negate the clause, saying it is “not known in the heart fools” (cf. NAB, NRSV, TEV, NLT), which suggests the word לֹא (loʾ, “not”) has dropped out. The Targum supports reading אִוֶּלֶת (ʾivvelet) “folly is in the heart of fools.” Thomas connects the verb to the Arabic root wdʿ and translates it “in fools it is suppressed.” See D. W. Thomas, “The Root ידע in Hebrew,” JTS 35 (1934): 302-3.
- Proverbs 14:33 tn Heb “in the inner part”; ASV “in the inward part”; NRSV “in the heart of fools.”
- Proverbs 14:34 sn The verb תְּרוֹמֵם (teromem, translated “exalts”) is a Polel imperfect; it means “to lift up; to raise up; to elevate.” Here the upright dealings of the leaders and the people will lift up the people. The people’s condition in that nation will be raised.
- Proverbs 14:34 tn The term is the homonymic root II חֶסֶד (khesed, “shame; reproach”; BDB 340 s.v.), as reflected by the LXX translation. Rabbinic exegesis generally took it as I חֶסֶד (“loyal love; kindness”) as if it said, “even the kindness of some nations is a sin because they do it only for a show” (so Rashi, a Jewish scholar who lived a.d. 1040-1105).
- Proverbs 14:35 tn Heb “the favor of a king.” The noun “king” functions as a subjective genitive: “the king shows favor….”
- Proverbs 14:35 sn The wise servant is shown favor, while the shameful servant is shown anger. Two Hiphil participles make the contrast: מַשְׂכִּיל (maskil, “wise”) and מֵבִישׁ (mevish, “one who acts shamefully”). The wise servant is a delight and enjoys the favor of the king because he is skillful and clever. The shameful one botches his duties; his indiscretions and incapacity expose the master to criticism (W. McKane, Proverbs [OTL], 470).
- Proverbs 14:35 tn Heb “is” (so KJV, ASV).