Saturday, January 18, 2014

Proverbs 20:29-21:31

10. Doing Righteousness and Justice (20.29-21.31)
I. Twofold Introduction  (20.29-21.2)
The educational introduction focuses on the pedagogical relationship of the A. Introduction: Education (20:29-30)----------

29                                   And
The glory                     the splendor
of young men             of old men
is their strength,        is their gray head.  

The glory... The Hebrew term תִּפְאֶרֶת (tif’eret) means “beauty; glory”; in a context like this it means “honor” in the sense of glorying or boasting (BDB 802 s.v. 3.b).  --NET Bible translation notes
gray head...  “Grey hair” is a metonymy of adjunct; it represents everything valuable about old age – dignity, wisdom, honor, experience, as well as worry and suffering of life. At the very least, since they survived, they must know something. At the most, they were the sages and elders of the people.  --NET Bible study notes

30                                   As
Blows that hurt          do stripes
cleanse                          ----------
away evil,                    the inner depths of the heart
"Bruising wounds scour away evil, and blows [polish] the innermost being."  --Bruce Waltke in NICOT
"One must restrain evil with severe punishment,And with hard strokes which one feels."  --KDCOT

blows...  chabbuwrah :  the marks of strokes on the skin  --Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon
  Other proverbs say that some people will never learn from this kind of punishment, but in general this may be the only thing that works for some cases.  --NET Bible study notes
cleanse...   1. lit. purifications, as of the virgins received into the women's house of the king of Persia.  2. metaph.  remedy, cleaning   --Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon
stripes...  makkah : a wound

B. The Frame:  The LORD's Sovereignty (21.1-2)----------
The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, 
Like the rivers of water; 
He turns it wherever He wishes.  
The king's heart in the LORD's hand is a channel of water;  on all who please him, he turns it.   --Bruce Waltke in NICOT

heart... “Heart” is a metonymy of subject; it signifies the ability to make decisions, if not the decisions themselves.  --NET Bible study notes
hand of the Lord...  “Hand” in this passage is a personification; the word is frequently used idiomatically for “power,” and that is the sense intended here.  --NET Bible study notes
rivers of water... “Channels of water” (פַּלְגֵי, palge) is an adverbial accusative, functioning as a figure of comparison – “like channels of water.” Cf. NAB “Like a stream”; NIV “watercourse”; NRSV, NLT “a stream of water.”  --NET Bible study notes

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, 
But the Lord weighs the hearts.  

eyes...  The term “eyes” is a metonymy for estimation, opinion, evaluation.
heart...  Heb “the hearts.” The term לֵב (lev, “heart”) is used as a metonymy of association for thoughts and motives (BDB 660-61 s.v. 6-7). Even though people think they know themselves, the Lord evaluates motives as well (e.g., Prov 16:2).  --NET Bible translation notes
Yahweh along can determine what is known and hidden is hidden from a person’s own self-perceptions.  –Paul Koptak in NIVAC 
II. Body: Doing Righteousness and Justice  (21.3-29)
The main body consists of a janus introduction stating the unit's theme (v. 3) followed by three subunits (vv. 4.8, 10-18, 20-29) separated by the refrain about the "contentious wife" (vv. 9, 19; cf. 19:13, 14).  Once again a reference to the wife functions as an organizing principle in Collection II.  
Its first subunit focuses on the defeat of the wicked; 
the middle on the triumph of righteousness over them; 
and the last, on the lasting gratification and establishment of the righteous and the demise of the wicked.  The key word wicked" forms an inclusio (21:4b, 29a).  --Bruce Waltke in NICOT

Janus: The LORD's desire for Righteousness and Justice  (21:3)----------
To do righteousness and justice 
Is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.  

The catchword YHWH (the LORD") unites it with vv. 1-2 and "to do righteousness and justice" with the body's three subunits (cf. 7b, 15a, 21; cf. v. 26).  --Bruce Waltke in NICOT
The comparative does not exclude sacrifice as a good. ...but he prefers ethics of the cult (15:8; 20:25).  --Bruce Waltke in NICOT
…it is easier to have sacrifice without right living than it is to have right living without religious practices.  –Paul Koptak in NIVAC
righteousness...  tsĕdaqah: (1) rectitude, right.  (2) justice, as of  a king, (3) In private, righteousness, piety, virtue  (4) welfare  --Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon 
This root basically connotes conformity to an ethical or moral standard. It is claimed by Snaith (N. Snaith, Distinctive Ideas of the OT, Schocken, 1964, p. 73) “the original significance of the root ṣdq to have been ‘to be straight.’ ” But he adds that it stands for a “norm.” Perhaps the origin of the word is not so clear or even significant. Words having a secular origin often are baptized into special meanings and a word originally meaning straight may develop easily into a moral term just so canon “rod,” “measuring rule” becomes a standardized list of sacred books. ṣedeq, then, refers to an ethical, moral standard and of course in the OT that standard is the nature and will of God. “The Lord is righteous (ṣaddîq) in all his ways and holy in all his works” (Ps 145:17). ---Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament 
justice...  (1) Judgement (2) right, that which is just, lawful, according to the law --Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon  
than sacrifice...  The Lord prefers righteousness above religious service (e.g., Prov 15:8; 21:29; 1 Sam 15:22; Ps 40:6-8; Isa 1:11-17). This is not a rejection of ritual worship; rather, religious acts are without value apart from righteous living.    --NET Bible translation notes
" is easier to have sacrifice without right living than it is to have right living without religious practice." -- Paul Koptak in Proverbs NIVAC
 A. An Analysis of the Wicked Person's Pursuit of Wealth  (21:4-8)----------

This sections outlines the increasingly desperate progression of the wicked's pursuit of  "plenty" and conclude with a comparison of the guilty and pure.  It concludes with the admonition to stay on the straight way.

A haughty look, a proud heart, 
And the plowing of the wicked are sin. 
A haughty look and an audacious heart-- the unplowed field of the wicked--produce sin.   --Bruce Waltke in NICOT
Haughty eyes and a proud heart – the agricultural product of the wicked is sin.  --NET Bible 
Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin. --ESV, NIV  ("is sin." NASB)

The lamp that guides the wicked- haughty eyes and an arrogant heart-is sin.--HCS

  Verset A breaks down the wicked individually into their psychosomatic components, their outward, haughty eyes and their inner, audacious hearts...  --Bruce Waltke in NICOT
haughty... רוּם rûm height; a high entity  (#2133)    רוּם (rûm) be high, lofty; rise up.  Three broad groups of ideas are present in non-cultic usages of rûm and its derivatives: 1) literal height, 2) height as symbolic of positive notions such as glory and exaltation, 3) height as symbolic of negative notions such as arrogance and pride.  --TWOT

look... lit. eye
proud...  רָחָב (rāḥāb) broad, wide.  (#2143c) This adjective appears twenty-one times in the OT and modifies many different subjects. The promised land of Palestine is said to be “broad” (Ex 3:8). In comparison to God’s knowledge, the sea is not “so wide” (Job 11:9). In another image, the breach made by an invading army is said to be “wide” (Job 30:14). The word also describes the breadth of God’s commands (Ps 119:96) and the height of human arrogance (Ps 101:5) --TWOT
Psalm 101:5
 Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, Him I will destroy; 
The one who has a haughty look and a proud heart, Him I will not endure.
heart... By far the majority of the usages of lēb refer either to the inner or immaterial nature in general or to one of the three traditional personality functions of man; emotion, thought, or will.  --TWOT
plowing...   NASB95, ESV, NIV84--lamp
 Heb “the tillage [נִר, nir] of the wicked is sin” (so NAB).
The subject picks up the subjects of the first half of the verse, indicating they are equal – the tillage consists of the arrogance and pride. The word “tillage” is figurative, of course, signifying that the agricultural product (the point of the comparison) of the wicked is sin. The relationship between the ideas is then problematic. Are pride and arrogance what the wicked produce? 
Some (ASV, NASB, NIV, NRSV) have followed the LXX and Tg. Prov 21:4 to read “lamp” instead (נֵר, ner), but that does not solve the difficulty of the relationship between the expressions. It does, however, say that the life ( = lamp), which is arrogance and pride, is sin.   --NET Bible translation notes
The metaphor an unplowed field (cf. 13:23) underscores and explains their arrogance.  As an unplowed field yields inedible growth because it is uncultivated and not sown with good seed, so the wicked are not amenable to moral discipline for they lack good instruction.  The moral intention of the metaphor is clarified by produce [lit. "is"] sin (see 1:10).  Guilty before God for their impiety and unethical activity, they deserve death (cf. 16:5, 18; 18:12; 29:23; 30:13-14).    --Bruce Waltke in NICOT
lamp… …for the wicked take as their guiding light the conceit that they can judge what is right.  Believing that what is right for them is all that matters, they do not care what is acceptable to Yahweh (cf. 21.3).  –Paul Koptak in NIVAC
  In describing the "haughty eyes" and proud heart" as the "lamp of the wicked" (v. 4), the text is saying that the devious are sure of  themselves and think that their cunning can guide them through life.  Their treachery is a "lamp to their feet."  --Duane Garrett in NIVNAC
  This verse, while clear in its main point, has its complications and, with other commentaries, we must ultimately admit that it remains enigmatic, particularly in terms of the image.  Certainly, there is nothing obscure about the connection between pride, on the one hand, and wickedness and sin.  --Temper Longman III in BCOT 
The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, 
But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.  

plans...  "calculations"     --Bruce Waltke in NICOT
lead...  The term “lead” is supplied in the translation.   --NET Bible translation notes
everyone...poverty...  lit. 'but every one who hasteth (it is) only to want.'  The get-rich-quick method ends in disaster (cf. xiii. 11, xxviii. 20) (Metsudath David).  --Abraham Cohen in SBB
hasty...  the hasty act without moral reflection to avoid the hard discipline of diligence.  --Bruce Waltke in NICOT
  "In monetary matters, haste connotes greed (28:20; cf. 11:24), and haste in speech connotes a lack of reflection (29:20)." -- Van Leeuwen, Proverbs, p.192
……the contrast of “poverty” with “profit” may point to a scheme designed to make a fast buck..  –Paul Koptak in NIVAC
 poverty...  Heb “lack; need; thing needed”; NRSV “to want.”  --NET Bible translation notes

Getting treasures by a lying tongue 
Is the fleeting fantasy of those who seek death.  
The acquisition of treasures by a lying tongue is the windblown breath of those seeking death.   --Bruce Waltke in NICOT
Wealth created by a lying tongue is a vanishing mist and a deadly trap.  --NLT
The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a snare of death. --RSV

This verse is a companion to 5 and 7.  The second line is abrupt and spluttering: 'a driven vapour--seekers of death'.  There are three main ways of integrating it with the first line: 
(a) by pronouncing the Heb. for getting (line 1) as 'getter' (so LXX), and taking 'seekers' as meaning 'all such are seekers';  
(b) by filling out line 2 as in RV
(c) by taking 'seekers' to be a miscopying of a similar word, snares (LXX, Vulg., RV mg., RSV).  --Derek Kidner in TCOT
Getting...  The first word of the verse is the noun meaning “doing, deed, work.” The BHS editors suggest reading with the LXX an active participle – “the one who makes” (cf. NAB “He who makes”). The second word means “treasure,” from the verb “lay up, store up.” It is an objective genitive here.  --NET Bible translation notes
fleeting fantasy...  The Hebrew הֶבֶל נִדָּף (hevel nidaf) is properly “a driven vapor” (“driven” = the Niphal participle). The point of the metaphor is that the ill-gotten gains will vanish into thin air.   --NET Bible translation notes

The violence of the wicked will destroy them,  
Because they refuse to do justice
The violence of wicked people drags them away because they refuse to do justice.     --Bruce Waltke in NICOT

...the opposite of what the wicked strove for unexpected comes to them.  --Bruce Waltke in NICOT
"Violence begets violence."  --Tremper Longman III in BCOT
violence... The “violence” (שֹׁד, shod) drags away the wicked, probably either to do more sin or to their punishment. “Violence” here is either personified, or it is a metonymy of cause, meaning “the outcome of their violence” drags them away.   --NET Bible translation notes
…actual physical violence is probably in view here..  –Paul Koptak in NIVAC
will destroy...  "drag them awaycf. 1.17
cf. 1:17; 19: 11:3, 5, 6b, 8, 18; 12:13; 26; 13:21; 14:14; 15:6 --Bruce Waltke in NICOT
justice...  mishpat: 1. Judgement  2. right, that which is just, lawful, according to the law    --Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon 
Heb “they refuse to do justice” (so ASV); NASB “refuse to act with justice.”
cf. Proverbs 1.10-19 esp. vv. 18-19
18 But they lie in wait for their own blood, 
They lurk secretly for their own lives. 
19 So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; 
It takes away the life of its owners.

8                                          But as for
The way of a                  2  his work
guilty man                     1 the pure
is perverse;                     3 is right.  
The way of a guilty person is crooked; but as for the pure, his deed is straight.     --Bruce Waltke in NICOT
The way of man is froward and strange: but as for the pure, his work is right.  --KJV
The way of the guilty is devious, but the conduct of the innocent is upright.  --NIV
Twisty the way of a person, and strange, but pure, virtuous in action.  --Tremper Longman III

This verse brings the body's first subunit to its conclusion loading the arrogant (v. 4), the hasty (v. 5), the deceiver (v. 6), and the vilent (v. 7) with God's evaluation, "guilty," entailing their judgment.      --Bruce Waltke in NICOT 
way… The contrast between ways that are crooked (devious,” bapakpak) and straight (“upright,” yasar) is clear and should guide th reading (cf. 21:2).  –Paul Koptak in NIVAC
guilty...  The first line of the proverb is difficult. Since וָזָר (vazar) occurs only here it has been given much attention. The translation of “guilty” is drawn from an Arabic cognate meaning “to bear a burden” and so “to be sin laden” or “guilty” (cf. NASB, NIV, NCV, NRSV, NLT). 
--G. R. Driver prefers to read the line as “a man crooked of ways is false [zar]” (“Problems in the Hebrew Text of Proverbs,” Bib 32 [1951]: 185). 
--C. H. Toy adopts the meaning of “proud” (Proverbs [ICC], 400). Whatever the reading, “guilty” or “proud” or “false,” the idea is that such people are devious. Bad people are underhanded; good people are aboveboard (C. H. Toy, Proverbs [ICC], 400). Another way to analyze the line is to read it with the definition “strange, stranger”: “The way of a man and a stranger is perverse.” But this is unclear, and would form no satisfactory contrast to 8b. 
--Another suggestion is “the way of (usual) man is changeable and strange, but the pure fellow leads a straight and even course” (J. H. Greenstone, Proverbs, 244); cf. NLT “the innocent travel a straight road.”   --NET Bible translation notes
perverse...  The form הֲפַכְפַּךְ (hafakhfakh) is an adjective with an intensified meaning due to the duplication of the second and third radicals; it means “very devious; crooked” (from the verb “to overturn”).   --NET Bible translation notes
KJV--froward: NASB95, ESV, Waltke, NLT--crooked; NIV84, NET--devious
right...  straight (yasar; see 1:3; 3:6; 11:3; 14:12), the adjective has both physical and moral connotations.  Instead of running a "laybyrinthine oute," (McKane, Proverbs, p. 562) the pure keep a straight, moral course.   --Bruce Waltke in NICOT

Janus: The Contentious Wife  (21.9)----------
9  cf. v. 19, (19.13,14; 27.15,16)
Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, 
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.  

Selfishness destroys the closest relationship, both of husband and wife (v. 9) and of neighbors (v. 10).  --Bruce Waltke in NICOT
housetop...  The reference is probably to a small room that would be built on the flat housetop primarily for guests (e.g., 1 Kgs 17:19; 2 Kgs 4:10). It would be cramped and lonely – but peaceful in avoiding strife.   --NET Bible translation notes
...verset A presents the negative physical state of having no better hiding plac from the storms of heaven than the narrow corner in which the parapet walls of the flat roof meet...   --Bruce Waltke in NICOT
contentious...  KJV--brawling; NASB84, NKJV, Waltke--contentious;  ESV, NIV84, NET; NLT--quarrelsome

B.  The righteous Triumph over the Wicked  (21.10-18)----------
► Interestingly, the apparently unrelated proverb about gifts and bribes in 21:14 falls in the middle of this section framed by; the two proverbs on the contentious woman, five proverbs before it and five after.  In between are proverbs that depict a series of sins (21:10,13,14,16,17) and proverbs about justice (2:11, 12, 13, 15, 18)..  –Paul Koptak in NIVAC
► Meinhold helpfully observes the mention of saddiq [righteous] as the second word in every third verse between vv.10 and 21 (vv. 12, 15, 18; cf 21), but he probably errors extending the subunit to v. 21.
► is best to regard sedaqa as a catchword linking the subunits (vv. 10-12, 13-15, 16-18).  In that light the concluding refrain of the three proverbs prediction the triumph of the righteous can be analyzed into three partial subunits.

1) The hard-hearted won't learn, so they face ruin (being overthrown).

The soul of the wicked desires evil; 
His neighbor finds no favor in his eyes.  

...the source that pollutes the wicked person's outlook is his depraved appetite.  Its synthetic parallels represent two sides of the coin: ...    --Bruce Waltke in NICOT
desires...  The word has the meanings of “desire, crave, long for, lust after.” It usually has “soul” as its subject. The word is used in the Ten Commandments in the prohibition against coveting a neighbor’s house (Deut 5:18).   --NET Bible study notes
The Hebrew uses body images; the throat or desire (nepes) of the wicked craves evil…  –Paul Koptak in NIVAC
The expression is commonly the language of both proper appetite (e.g. Deut. 12:20) and ambition (2 Sam. 3:21).  --Derek Kinder in TCOT
favor...  ...craving evil in verset A is broken down into the individual situations of mercilessness in verset B...    --Bruce Waltke in NICOT   
If their neighbors stand in the way of the fulfillment of their wickedness, to which tey are addicted, then the neighbors will suffer:   --Tremper Longman III in BCOT
"The wicked (rāšāc) are so obsessed by their desire for evil (c) that colon b) they totally neglect their neighbor (cēhū).  In other words, the wicked are so absorbed by c that they forget c ."  Cifford in OTL, 190.

11                                         But
When the scoffer       when the wise
is punished,                 is instructed,
the simple                    he [the simple]
is made wise;              receives knowledge.
"Through fining a mocker, the gullible becomes wise,  
and through paying attention to a wise person he gains knowledge."  --Bruce Waltke in NICOT
When a mocker is punished, the simple gain wisdom; by paying attention to the wise they get knowledge.  --NIV

According to this proverb, a gullible person is saved from greed trough a successive twofold educational process. ...  The proverb assumes the punishment of mockers and the prosperity of the wise, but it relates them to their pedagogic effect on the weak-willed and easily influenced simpleton.   --Bruce Waltke in NICOT
punished...  (Qal) to fine, punish  --BlueletterBible
Reproving the incorrigible mocker is folly (9:6-7; 14:16; 15:12); even beating him is worthless.  But imposing a monetary penalty on him has the value of educating the receptive gullible.    --Bruce Waltke in NICOT
instructed...  Hiphil of H7919 1) to look at or upon, have insight;  2) to give attention to, consider, ponder, be prudent; 3) to have insight, have comprehension
The word "instructed" (skl) appears in 21:12 as "take note." (NIV –Paul Koptak in NIVAC

The Righteous (God) wisely considers the house of the wicked, 
Overthrowing the wicked for their wickedness

The Righteous One observes the house of the wicked; he throws the wicked down to ruin. --ESV
righteous God...  Although şaddîq elsewhere in this book always refers to a human being, here it refers to God because it is in apposition to "the one who casts down the wicked, who can only be the LORD...  --Bruce Waltke in NICOT
Such a use of the bare adjective is not unknown; cf. Job 34.17, also a similar use of 'holy' in Isaiah 40:25; Habakkuk 3:3; Job. 6:10.  Otherwise we must assume the righteous noe to mean a righteous ruler, or take liberties with the text.   --Derek Kinder in TCOT
This verse escalates the magistrate's penalty of fining mockers to the LORD's toppling all the wicked.  --Bruce Waltke in NICOT 
► The proverb escalates the wickedness of the impious and ethical in perverting righteousness and justice from callously resisting the cry of the poor (v. 13) to capitulating to bribes (v. 14; see 15:27; 17:8, 23; 18:16, 19).  --Bruce Waltke in NICOT

2) The wicked are closed to the poor but open to a bribe and will be in terror.
Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor 
Will also cry himself and not be heard.  

►Talionic justice: A punishment identical to the offense, as the death penalty for murder.
► Covetousness and sensuality harden the heart; and when the heart is hard, the ear is deaf--Charles Bridges in An Exposition of the Book of Proverbs (p. 316)
…for the positive statement of the principle, see 19:17…  –Paul Koptak in NIVAC 
 [ He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, 
    And He will pay back what he has given. ]

14                                    And
A gift                              a bribe
in secret                        behind the back [in the bosom],
pacifies anger,            strong wrath.  
A gift given in secret subdues anger; even a bribe in the bosom pacifies strong wrath. --Bruce Waltke in NICOT

Verse 14 is an observational proverb: that is, it does not necessarily approve of every case of giving a gift or bribe.  The text is subject to two interpretations, one of which regards gift giving as appropriate, positive thing to do, and the other of which treats it as a perversion of justice.  If someone as offended another and is subject to being a defendant in litigation, a gift to the offended party may resolve the problem. It is, in effect, settling out of court.  Even in modern society the terms of out-of-court settlements are often kept secret, and the reference to secrecy need not imply bribery.  At the same time, the practice giving bribes may not be excluded...  -- Duane Garrett in NIVNAC

gift...  Here the neutral term gift (mattan) is coupled with the bad term bribe (RSV; sohad), a reminder that the boundary between the two is thin at the best of times, and is crossed at this point by the secrecy of the transaction.  Cf. the warning in 15.27.  --Derek Kidner in TOTC 
this proverb hints that some people may be willing to give a gift or bribe to soothe human wrath but will not make a gift to the poor to avert divine anger!  –Paul Koptak in NIVAC
in the bosom...  Heb “a bribe in the bosom” (so NASB). This refers to a gift hidden in the folds of the garment, i.e., given secretly (cf. NIV “a bribe concealed in the cloak”).   --NET Bible translation notes
► The bribe's wickedness is symbolized by its having to be carried in the breast pouch and given in discreet secrecy to avoid public scrutiny (cf. 21.8).   --Bruce Waltke in NICOT

It is a joy for the just to do justice, 
But destruction will come to the workers of iniquity.  
The doing of justice      but
brings joy to                   a terror to
the righteous person,   those who do iniquity.
 --Bruce Waltke in NICOT

The exercise of justice is joy for the righteous, But is terror to the workers of iniquity. --NASB 
Justice is a joy to the godly, but it terrifies evildoers.  --NLT

terror...  The noun means “terror (NAB, NASB, NIV), destruction (KJV, ASV), ruin (cf. NCV).” Its related verb means “be shattered, dismayed.” The idea of “dismay” (NRSV) or “terror” would make the better choice to contrast with “joy” in the first line, but “ruin” is also possible. Whenever justice prevails, whether in the courts or simply in society, the people who practice iniquity may be shaken into reality by fear (cf. CEV “crooks are terrified”).  --NET Bible study notes

3) Foolish desires will destroy.

A man who wanders from the way of understanding 
Will rest in the assembly of the dead.  

way…  In line with verses 11-15 the image of the “path” or “way” (derek) here illustrates the final outcomes…  –Paul Koptak in NIVAC
rest...  Heb “will remain” or “will rest.” The Hebrew word נוּחַ (nuakh) does not here carry any of the connotations of comforting repose in death that the righteous enjoy; it simply means “to remain; to reside; to dwell.” The choice of this verb might have an ironic twist to it, reminding the wicked what might have been.   --NET Bible translation notes 
assembly of the dead...  The departed are the Shades (the Rephaim). The literal expression “will rest among the Shades” means “will be numbered among the dead.” So once again physical death is presented as the punishment for folly.   --NET Bible study notes  
Every word of the second line is charged with irony.  The rebel, who must roam at will, is only hastening to lose his mobility (shall rest, RV), his independence (in the congregation, AV, RV) and his life (of the dead).  --Derek Kidner in TOTC 
What the sage asserts is: the man who wanders aimlessly throughout his lifetime, and only when he is dead has he rest from his wandering (Metsudath David).  --Abraham Cohen in SBB
He who                        He who
loves pleasure           loves wine and oil
will be                          will not be
a poor man;              rich.  

loves...  The participle “loves” (אֹהֵב, ’ohev) indicates in this context that more is involved than the enjoyment of pleasure, for which there is no problem. The proverb is looking at “love” in the sense of needing and choosing, an excessive or uncontrolled indulgence in pleasure.   --NET Bible study notes
pleasure...  “Pleasure” is actually the Hebrew word “joy” (שִׂמְחָה, simkhah). It is a metonymy of effect, the cause being the good life that brings the joy. In the second colon, “wine” and “oil” would be metonymies of cause, the particular things in life that bring joy. Therefore the figures in the lines work together to give the complete picture.   --NET Bible study notes
oil...  In elaborate feasts and celebrations the wine was for drinking but the oil was for anointing (cf. NAB, NCV “perfume”). Both of these characterize the luxurious life (e.g., Ps 23:5; 104:15; Amos 6:6).   --NET Bible study notes
► But when one chases after these pleasures as ends in themselves, they become vices.    --Bruce Waltke in NICOT
One who seeks justice and virtue will also find life’s enjoyments, but one who puts those ahead of virtue will end up missing them both.  –Paul Koptak in NIVAC

18                                             And
The wicked                       the unfaithful
shall be a ransom
for the righteous          for the upright.

ransom...  The Hebrew word translated “ransom” (כֹּפֶר, kofer) normally refers to the price paid to free a prisoner. R. N. Whybray (Proverbs [CBC], 121) gives options for the meaning of the verse: 
(1) If it means that the wicked obtain good things that should go to the righteous, it is then a despairing plea for justice (which would be unusual in the book of Proverbs); but if 
(2) it is taken to mean that the wicked suffers the evil he has prepared for the righteous, then it harmonizes with Proverbs elsewhere (e.g., 11:8). The ideal this proverb presents – and the future reality – is that in calamity the righteous escape and the wicked suffer in their place (e.g., Haman in the book of Esther).     --NET Bible study notes
► The guilty man in the end pays the penalty for the hardships which an innocent person has to undergo if wrongly convicted, e.g. Mordecai and Haman (Rashi).   --Abraham Cohen in SBB
► The metaphor should not be pushed to walk on all fours by asking to whom the ransom is paid (cf. 6:35; 13:8).  --Bruce Waltke in NICOT
righteous... H6662 - tsaddiyq; right, correct, lawful

unfaithful...  H898 - bagad; to act treacherously, deceitfully, deal treacherously
upright...   H3477 - Proverbs; straight, upright, correct, right

Janus: The Contentious Wife  (21.19)----------
19   cf. v. 9
Better to dwell in the wilderness, 
Than with a contentious and angry woman

angry...  The Hebrew noun כַּעַס (ka’as) means “vexation; anger.” The woman is not only characterized by a quarrelsome spirit, but also anger – she is easily vexed (cf. NAB “vexatious”; NASB “vexing”; ASV, NRSV “fretful”). The translation “easily-provoked” conveys this idea well.   --NET Bible translation notes
Choose your life partner carefully.  Choose wisdom.  –Paul Koptak in NIVAC

C. The Endurance of the Righteous versus the Death of the Wicked  (21.20-29)
This subunit contrasts the eternal endurance of the righteous with the death of the wicked.    --Bruce Waltke in NICOT
There is desirable treasure,and oil in the dwelling of the wise, 
But a foolish man squanders it.  
The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get.  --NLT

squanders...  Heb “he swallows it.” The imagery compares swallowing food with consuming one’s substance. The fool does not prepare for the future.   --NET Bible translation notes
foolish... H3684 - kĕciyl :  Fool, dullard.      This noun, except for three occurrences in Ps., is found only in Prov. and Eccl. In Proverbs three words are rendered fool, kĕsîl referring to the dull or obstinate one, referring not to mental deficiency, but to a propensity to make wrong choices. (ʾewîl refers to moral insolence, and nābāl to the boorish man of mean disposition.) --Louis Goldberg in TWOT

He who follows righteousness and mercy 
Finds life, righteousness, and honor.  

righteousness and mercy...  These two attributes, “righteousness” (צְדָקָה, tsÿdaqah: conduct that conforms to God’s standard ) and “loyal love” (חֶסֶד, khesed) depict the life style of the covenant-believer who is pleasing to God and a blessing to others. The first term means that he will do what is right, and the second means that he will be faithful to the covenant community.   --NET Bible study notes
... an unusual compound used instead of "righteousness and justice"(see 21:3) or kindness and reliability 3:16).  --Bruce Waltke in NICOT
righteousness…  The Hebrew term translated “bounty” is צְדָקָה (tsÿdaqah) again, so there is a wordplay on the term in the verse. The first use of the word had the basic meaning of “conduct that conforms to God’s standard”; this second use may be understood as a metonymy of cause, indicating the provision or reward (“bounty”) that comes from keeping righteousness (cf. NIV “prosperity”; NCV “success”). The proverb is similar to Matt 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.”   --NET Bible translation notes
honor... H3519 - kabowd: The basic meaning is “to be heavy, weighty,” a meaning which is only rarely used literally, the figurative (e.g. “heavy with sin”) being more common. From this figurative usage it is an easy step to the concept of a “weighty” person in society, someone who is honorable, impressive, worthy of respect. This latter usage is prevalent in more than half the occurrences.  --John N. Oswalt in TWOT

22                                                               And
A wise man                               ----
scales                                          brings down
the city of the mighty,           the trusted stronghold.  

  In a war the victory is credited not so much to the infantry as to the tactician who plans the attack. Brilliant strategy wins wars, even over apparently insuperable odds (e.g., Prov 24:5-6; Eccl 9:13-16; 2 Cor 10:4)   --NET Bible translation notes
a wise man...mighty...  A concrete formulation of the teaching that intellectual and moral power overcomes physical strength (cf. xxiv. 5f.; Eccles. ix. 14f.).     --Abraham Cohen in SBB
trusted…  The last Hebrew word, “they trusted it,” is key, pointing out the confidence placed in strength and numbers and contrasting it with the wise person’s trust in God.  –Paul Koptak in NIVAC

Whoever guards his mouth and tongue 
Keeps his soul from troubles.  

guards…  This proverb plays on the word smr, translated in the NIV as “guards” in the first and “keeps” in the second:  “one who guards mouth and tongue,one who guards self from troubles.  –Paul Koptak in NIVAC
keeps his soul...  This part could also be translated “keeps himself” (so NIV), for נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) often simply means “the whole person.” The participle שֹׁמֵר (shomer) is repeated from the first line in the parallelism – to guard what is said is to guard against difficulty.   --NET Bible translation notes
troubles...  H6869 - tsarah : "ṣārar may refer to anything which is narrow or confining."  --R. Laird Harris in TWOT   
straits, distress, trouble  --BlueLetterBible
Moving mechanically having lost your first love, is not enough.  There is a sense in which following your heart is important ... as long as it travels in the direction and inside the boundaries set out by the Scripture.  It doesn’t have to be either or.   --NET Bible study notes
► The unique plural suggests the manifold miseries that result from rash speech.   --Bruce Waltke in NICOT

Interpretation/Application Questions:
1.  What are the fruits of wisdom (and righteousness)?  (vv. 21-23)
2.  Based on verses 21-23, why does the foolish devour his "oil and wine"? 


A series of proverbs on sins that follow out of pride.  –Paul Koptak in NIVAC
► These four wicked types--the arrogant and sluggard (vv. 24-26), and the liar and brazenly wicked (vv. 28-29)--form a concentric circle around the hypocritical.  --Bruce Waltke in NICOT
A proud and haughty man--"Scoffer" is his name; 
He acts with arrogant pride.  
"Proud," "Haughty," "Scoffer," are his names, Who acts with insolent pride.  –NAS

proud and haughty man...  lit. 'presumptuous, arrogant'; such are the characteristics of the person who is called a scorner, displayed in his contempt of the moral law.  The word for haughty occurs again only in Hab. ii. 5 (see Metsudath David).   --Abraham Cohen in SBB
proud..  The word זֵד (zed, “proud”) comes from the verb זִיד (zid, “to boil up; to seethe; to act proudly [or, presumptuously].” Just as water boiling up in a pot will boil over, so the presumptuous person “oversteps” the boundaries.  --NET Bible translation notes
haughty... The word יָהִיר (yahir) means “haughty,” that is, to be or show oneself to be presumptuous or arrogant.   --NET Bible translation notes
Scoffer...  The proverb does not aim as much to define the mocker as to explain to explain that his fury against God and humanity stems from his exaggerated opinion of his self-importance.  --Bruce Waltke in NICOT
 All the terms applied to the mocker entail aggressive pride.  --Bruce Waltke in NICOT
acts with arrogant pride...  "Overwhelming pride" maybe translated "fury of pride" describing the rages that come on one who exercises not control over mouth and tongue (cf. Prov. 21:23).  --Koptak in NIVAC
arrogant...   TWOT-1556d   ʿebrâ : overflow, excess, arrogance, fury
pride...   TWOT-547b   zādôn : pride, insolence

25-26 ---------------------------------------
► The correct interpretation of the two verses which form a continuous sentence is as most commentators explain it: The desire of the slothful (to rest all day) killeth him, for his hands refuse to labour, (and he therefore dies of hunger.)  All day he desires a desire (to satisfy his appetite), and the righteous giveth (him) and spareth not (although he himself is at fault for his difficulties (Metsudath David).     --Abraham Cohen in SBB
► The craving sluggard is lumped with the wicked, who craves for himself without sharing, in contrast to the righteous who rejoices in doing mercy and justice (see vv. 3, 15a, 26b,; cf. 11:24-26; 14:21; 19:17; 22:9; Ps. 37:21-26).    --Bruce Waltke in NICOT

The desire of the lazy man kills him, 
For his hands refuse to labor.  

desire of the lazy...  Heb “the desire of the sluggard” (so ASV, NASB). This phrase features a subject genitive: “what the sluggard desires.” The term תַּאֲוַת (ta’avat, “desire; craving”) is a metonymy of cause. The craving itself will not destroy the sluggard, but what will destroy him is what the craving causes him to do or not to do. The lazy come to ruin because they desire the easy way out.   --NET Bible translation notes
kills ...  The verb תְּמִיתֶנּוּ (tÿmitennu) is the Hiphil imperfect with a suffix: “will kill him.” It is probably used hyperbolically here for coming to ruin (cf. NLT), although it could include physical death.  --NET Bible translation notes
► The focus is on the hands that “refuse to work.”  There is a reversal here, appetite that does not motivate a person to work (16.26) will ultimately lead to other means of satisfying it.  –Paul Koptak in NIVAC

26                                   But
He [the lazy man]        the righteous
covets greedily         gives
all day long,              and does not spare.  

does not spare…  (lit. “he does not retrain” or hoard;  10:19; 11:24).
cf. Ephesians 4.28

The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination; 
How much more when he brings it with wicked intent!  

► The hypocritical worshiper, who stands in the middle of the pairs of nefarious types, is labeled “wicked” a term applicable to all four, and clearly connects him with them.   --Bruce Waltke in NICOT
wicked intent The noun זִמָּה (zimmah) means “plan; device; wickedness”; here it indicates that the person is coming to the ritual with “sinful purpose.” Some commentators suggest that this would mean he comes with the sacrifice as a bribe to pacify his conscience for a crime committed, over which he has little remorse or intent to cease (cf. NLT “with ulterior motives”). In this view, people in ancient Israel came to think that sacrifices could be given for any reason without genuine submission to God.   --NET Bible translation notes
► …even though the proverb does not specify what such “evil intent” might be Jesus’ example of those who give to the poor with trumpets blaring is one example of seeking the favor from those who were watching.  –Paul Koptak in NIVAC

A false witness shall perish, 
But the man who hears him will speak endlessly.  

► The contrast seems to be between the silencing of the false witness and the continuance of the one who listens, pays attention, and reports the truth.  --Tremper Longman III in BCOT
man who hears…  A person who listens well is a unique construction in the Old Testament (cf. 8:34) to underscore that the individual in view is characterized as a listener.  He knows how to listen attentively and critically so that his judgment is sound and his testimony reliable.   --Bruce Waltke in NICOT
► the man that obeyeth...  More lit. 'but a man who heareth,; the phrase describing a truthful witness.  If means either that hearing statements which bear on the case, he faithfully communicates them to the judges (Saadia Gaon, Isaiah da Trani) or he obeys the duty to tell the whole truth (Rashi).     --Abraham Cohen in SBB
endlessly...  Constantly (AV), unchallenged (RV), is lit. 'for ever' (12:19 explains it).  The key phrase is a man who hears: his first aim is to know and understand, not to grind some axe.  It is not without relevance to Christian 'witness': the man who listens (Isa. 50:4) is the man worth listening to.  --Derek Kidner in TOTC

A wicked man hardens his face, 
But as for the upright, he establishes his way.  

A wicked man puts on a bold face, but the upright gives thought to his ways.  -ESV

hardens his face…  Becomes brazen (see 7:13) means that he becomes impudent, cheeky, and shameless in his behavior.   --Bruce Waltke in NICOT
► Acts imprudently, regardless of right (cf. vii. 13).     --Abraham Cohen in SBB
► cf. NRSV “put on a bold face.”   --NET Bible translation notes 
establishes his way...  looketh well to his way.  The hethib reads 'ordereth his ways,' the kere 'understandeth his way,' i.e. he directs his conduct with an understanding of the difference between right and wrong.  The former is an opportunist, the latter act on principle (after Ibn Ezra).     --Abraham Cohen in SBB

Interpretation/Application Questions:

1. List the four characters in verses 25-28.
2. How do each of these four stem from pride? (vv.25-28)
3. What makes each of these (including v. 24) “light weights?

III.  Conclusion: The LORD's Sovereignty over People and Kingdoms
Together with the introduction (21:1-2) this conclusion forms a chiastic frame affirming the Lord’s sovereignty over humanity in general (vv. 30-31).   --Bruce Waltke in NICOT
► Common to this proverb and the one before is the theme of human effectiveness—intellectual effort in preparing and planning and physical prowess.  The two proverbs name different but related errors: The first and most obvious is to go against God; the second and more subtle, to forget to thank God for victory an to trust in our own foresight and strength..  –Paul Koptak in NIVAC

There is
no wisdom                       chokmah:  1) skill, dexterity  2) wisdom --GH-C L
or understanding           tabuwn:     intelligence, understanding  --GH-C L
or counsel                       `etsah:    1) which one gives or receives  2) plan or purpose   
                                                            3) prudence, wisdom  --GH-C L
against the Lord.  

► The verse uses a single sentence to state that all wisdom, understanding, and advice must be in conformity to the will of God to be successful. It states it negatively – these things cannot be in defiance of God (e.g., Job 5:12-13; Isa 40:13-14).    --NET Bible study notes
against  The form לְנֶגֶד (lÿneged) means “against; over against; in opposition to.”  The line indicates they cannot in reality be in opposition, for human wisdom is nothing in comparison to the wisdom of God (J. H. Greenstone, Proverbs, 232).   --NET Bible translation notes 

The horse is prepared for the day of battle, 
But deliverance is of the Lord

horse…  a concrete military example of human wisdom.    --Bruce Waltke in NICOT
► The secular capability of the warhorse threatened Israel’s faith in the Lord and drew heavy theological criticism (cf. Deut. 17:16; Isa. 31:1; Hos. 1:7; Zech. 9:10).  Mic. 5:10-16(9-15) equates trust in military hardware with idolatry and witchcraft.      --Bruce Waltke in NICOT