Proverbs 24

 

Many verses in this chapter are continuations from their preceding verse.  So the pattern of Chapters 1 to 9 and the

two preceding chapters is repeated again.

אַל־תְּקַנֵּא בְּאַנְשֵׁי רָעָה וְאַל־ (תִּתְאָו) [תִּתְאָיו] לִהְיֹות אִתָּם׃   24:1

Prov. 24:1   You must not be made envious by people of evil,

                                or desire to be with them.

For the life of me, I can’t understand why the word in the parentheses was flagged as an error.  Or even why the

word in the brackets was thought to be a correction for it.  I may be showing my ignorance again, but I believe the

word in the parentheses is correctly spelled.

כִּי־שֹׁד יֶהְגֶּה לִבָּם וְעָמָל שִׂפְתֵיהֶם תְּדַבֵּרְנָה׃   24:2

Prov. 24:2   For their heart would devise violence,

                                and their lips speak of mischief.

בְּחָכְמָה יִבָּנֶה בָּיִת וּבִתְבוּנָה יִתְכּוֹנָן׃   24:3

Prov. 24:3   A house by wisdom should be built,

                                and by understanding established.

וּבְדַעַת חֲדָרִים יִמָּלְאוּ כָּל־הוֹן יָקָר וְנָעִים׃   24:4

Prov. 24:4   And by knowledge the rooms will be made full

                                of all precious and pleasant wealth.

גֶּבֶר־חָכָם בַּעוֹז וְאִישׁ־דַּעַת מְאַמֶּץ־כֹּחַ׃   24:5

Prov. 24:5   A wise warrior is with more might, and one of knowledge,

                                than boldness of power.

The Hebrew of this verse is so obscure that a variety of translations can be found.  While I have tried to remain true

to the grammar, I have taken one liberty, one that is taken frequently throughout the bible by other translators.  I have

translated the next-to-last word (ignoring the mem prefix for the moment), which is normally a verb, to be strong or brave, to be bold, or to strengthen, as a noun.  I have some justification for this, because the root of the word can

also be a noun such as bravery, fortitude, or boldness.  If my translation is fairly accurate, most other translations

make a mockery of this observation about wisdom.  See the next verse for additional support for my translation.

כִּי בְתַחְבֻּלוֹת תַּעֲשֶׂה־לְּךָ מִלְחָמָה וּתְשׁוּעָה בְּרֹב יוֹעֵץ׃   24:6

Prov. 24:6   For with wise counseling you shall wage war for yourself,

                                and with an abundance of planning, salvation.

רָאמוֹת לֶאֱוִיל חָכְמוֹת בַּשַּׁעַר לֹא יִפְתַּח־פִּיהוּ׃   24:7

Prov. 24:7   To a fool, wise things are too lofty;

                                at the gate, he should not open his mouth.

מְחַשֵּׁב לְהָרֵעַ לוֹ בַּעַל־מְזִמּוֹת יִקְרָאוּ׃   24:8

Prov. 24:8   One who thinks to be evil,

                                they would call him mischievous.

זִמַּת אִוֶּלֶת חַטָּאת וְתוֹעֲבַת לְאָדָם לֵץ׃   24:9

Prov. 24:9   Sinning is a foolish device,

                                as is scorn abominable to humankind.

הִתְרַפִּיתָ בְּיוֹם צָרָה צַר כֹּחֶכָה׃   24:10

Prov. 24:10   You show yourself weak at a time of distress:

                                it is the enemy of your strength.

הַצֵּל לְקֻחִים לַמָּוֶת וּמָטִים לַהֶרֶג אִם־תַּחְשׂוֹךְ׃   24:11

Prov. 24:11   Deliver those seized for death,

                                and those moved for slaughter,

                         if you could hold back.

The last line of this verse seems to be referring to holding back the evil perpetrators, those who “seized” victims for

“death” and those who “moved” victims for “slaughter.”

כִּי־תֹאמַר הֵן לֹא־יָדַעְנוּ זֶה הֲלֹא־תֹכֵן לִבּוֹת הוּא־יָבִין וְנֹצֵר נַפְשְׁךָ הוּא יֵדָע וְהֵשִׁיב לְאָדָם כְּפָעֳלוֹ׃   24:12

Prov. 24:12   If you would say, "Behold, we did not know of this,"

                                would not the Weigher of hearts Himself discern,

                        and the Watcher of your soul Himself know,

                                and return to humankind according to its deed?

אֱכָל־בְּנִי דְבַשׁ כִּי־טוֹב וְנֹפֶת מָתוֹק עַל־חִכֶּךָ׃   24:13

Prov. 24:13   My son, eat honey, for it is good,

                                and honey from the comb is sweetness on your palate.

If you think like me, you’ll imagine that the honey is a metaphor for wisdom.  See the next verse for support for this

idea.  If it is a metaphor, I believe it to be a poor one.  Wisdom comparable to honey?  I think wisdom is often not very sweet.  In fact, I suggest that it can be quite bitter and difficult to swallow at times.  And, what is honey from the comb a metaphor for?  Wisdom from the Lord?  Wisdom from one’s father?

כֵּן דְּעֶה חָכְמָה לְנַפְשֶׁךָ אִם־מָצָאתָ וְיֵשׁ אַחֲרִית וְתִקְוָתְךָ לֹא תִכָּרֵת׃   24:14

Prov. 24:14   Thus know wisdom is for your soul.

                                If you have acquired, and there is an afterwards,

                         then your hope will not be cut off.

Is this another reference to the afterlife?  I suspect it is.

אַל־תֶּאֱרֹב רָשָׁע לִנְוֵה צַדִּיק אַל־תְּשַׁדֵּד רִבְצוֹ׃   24:15

Prov. 24:15   Wicked one, you must not lie in wait in the habitation of a righteous person.

                                You must not spoil his resting place.

כִּי שֶׁבַע יִפּוֹל צַדִּיק וָקָם וּרְשָׁעִים יִכָּשְׁלוּ בְרָעָה׃   24:16

Prov. 24:16   For a righteous one may fall seven times and rise up,

                                but the wicked will be enfeebled by adversity.

בִּנְפֹל (אֹויְבֶיךָ) [אֹויִבְךָ] אַל־תִּשְׂמָח וּבִכָּשְׁלֹו אַל־יָגֵל לִבֶּךָ׃   24:17

Prov. 24:17   You must not rejoice on your enemy falling,

                                and on his stumbling your heart should not be glad,

Now here we have an error.  The word in the parentheses has a yad that doesn’t belong there, making the word improperly plural, your enemies.  The correction in the brackets converts it to singular.

פֶּן־יִרְאֶה יְהוָה וְרַע בְּעֵינָיו וְהֵשִׁיב מֵעָלָיו אַפּוֹ׃   24:18

Prov. 24:18   lest the Lord would see and it would be bad in His sight,

                                and He would turn back His "anger" from him.

Notice the scribe’s view of the Lord as revealed here:  The Lord would not turn His “anger” toward the rejoicer in the

preceding verse, but away from the rejoicer’s enemy.  Interesting how the ancients ascribed “anger” of the Lord

toward or away from one’s enemy.  It seems the Lord was always punishing in “anger” or rewarding with approval.

אַל־תִּתְחַר בַּמְּרֵעִים אַל־תְּקַנֵּא בָּרְשָׁעִים׃   24:19

Prov. 24:19   You should not be vexed by evil doers;

                                you should not be made envious by the wicked.

כִּי לֹא־תִהְיֶה אַחֲרִית לָרָע נֵר רְשָׁעִים יִדְעָךְ׃   24:20

Prov. 24:20   For there will be no afterwards for any evil person;

                                the lamp of the wicked shall be extinguished.

Another reference to the afterlife?  Seems so.

יְרָא־אֶת־יְהוָה בְּנִי וָמֶלֶךְ עִם־שׁוֹנִים אַל־תִּתְעָרָב׃   24:21

Prov. 24:21   Fear the Lord, my son, and the king.

                                You must not become involved with those desiring differently.

כִּי־פִתְאֹם יָקוּם אֵידָם וּפִיד שְׁנֵיהֶם מִי יוֹדֵעַ׃   24:22

Prov. 24:22   For suddenly their calamity will arise,

                                and who could know the destruction of either of them.

The phrase either of them would seem to be referring back to the Lord and the king in the preceding verse.

גַּם־אֵלֶּה לַחֲכָמִים הַכֵּר־פָּנִים בְּמִשְׁפָּט בַּל־טוֹב׃   24:23

Prov. 24:23   These also are according to the wise.

                                Acknowledging persons in judgment is not good.

אֹמֵר לְרָשָׁע צַדִּיק אָתָּה יִקְּבֻהוּ עַמִּים יִזְעָמוּהוּ לְאֻמִּים׃   24:24

Prov. 24:24   One saying to a wicked person, "You are righteous,"

                                people shall curse him, nations shall denounce him.

וְלַמּוֹכִיחִים יִנְעָם וַעֲלֵיהֶם תָּבוֹא בִרְכַּת־טוֹב׃   24:25

Prov. 24:25   But those judging wisely shall be a delight,

                                and upon them shall come the blessing of goodness.

שְׂפָתַיִם יִשָּׁק מֵשִׁיב דְּבָרִים נְכֹחִים׃   24:26

Prov. 24:26   One should kiss the lips

                                of he who returns right words.

הָכֵן בַּחוּץ מְלַאכְתֶּךָ וְעַתְּדָהּ בַּשָּׂדֶה לָךְ אַחַר וּבָנִיתָ בֵיתֶךָ׃   24:27

Prov. 24:27   Prepare your work outside and make it ready in the field for yourself;

                                after that, then you can build your house.

אַל־תְּהִי עֵד־חִנָּם בְּרֵעֶךָ וַהֲפִתִּיתָ בִּשְׂפָתֶיךָ׃   24:28

Prov. 24:28   You must not be a witness for no reason against your neighbor

                                and deceive with your lips.

אַל־תֹּאמַר כַּאֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה־לִי כֵּן אֶעֱשֶׂה־לּוֹ אָשִׁיב לָאִישׁ כְּפָעֳלוֹ׃   24:29

Prov. 24:29   You must not say,

                                "As he has done to me, so I will do to him;

                          I will give back to the person according to his deed."

עַל־שְׂדֵה אִישׁ־עָצֵל עָבַרְתִּי וְעַל־כֶּרֶם אָדָם חֲסַר־לֵב׃   24:30

Prov. 24:30   I passed by the field of a lazy person,

                                and by the vineyard of a man lacking inclination,

וְהִנֵּה עָלָה כֻלּוֹ קִמְּשֹׂנִים כָּסּוּ פָנָיו חֲרֻלִּים וְגֶדֶר אֲבָנָיו נֶהֱרָסָה׃   24:31

Prov. 24:31   and behold, weeds were over all of it,

                                thistles covered its surface,

                         and its stone wall was broken down.

וָאֶחֱזֶה אָנֹכִי אָשִׁית לִבִּי רָאִיתִי לָקַחְתִּי מוּסָר׃   24:32

Prov. 24:32   Then I perceived, I could set my heart;

                                I considered, I accepted the lesson:

מְעַט שֵׁנוֹת מְעַט תְּנוּמוֹת מְעַט חִבֻּק יָדַיִם לִשְׁכָּב׃   24:33

Prov. 24:33   Yet a little sleep, a little slumber,

                                a little folding of the hands to rest --

וּבָא־מִתְהַלֵּךְ רֵישֶׁךָ וּמַחְסֹרֶיךָ כְּאִישׁ מָגֵן׃   24:34

Prov. 24:34   and your poverty shall come walking around,

                                and your need, like a protecting one.

 

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