Proverbs 19


טֹוב־רָשׁ הֹולֵךְ בְּתֻמֹּו מֵעִקֵּשׁ פָתָיו וְהוּא כְסִיל׃   19:1

Prov. 19:1  A poor person walking in his integrity

                               is better than one perverse of his lips, as he is a fool.           [Return to Prov. 28:6]

גַּם בְּלֹא־דַעַת נֶפֶשׁ לֹא־טֹוב וְאָץ בְּרַגְלַיִם חֹוטֵא׃   19:2

Prov. 19:2   Moreover, a soul without knowledge is not good,

                               and making haste with the feet is a sin.

Now, what can the two parts of this couplet have to do with one another?  Is the scribe saying that one without knowledge would be prone to making haste with his feet?

אִוֶּלֶת אָדָם תְּסַלֵּף דַּרְכֹּו וְעַל־יְהוָה יִזְעַף לִבֹּו׃   19:3

Prov. 19:3   The foolishness of a person can ruin his way,

                               so his heart should fret about the Lord.

And what does this verse tell us?  If one’s heart frets about the Lord (so as to not displease Him?) he would avoid foolishness?  Or diminish his foolishness?

הֹון יֹסִיף רֵעִים רַבִּים וְדָל מֵרֵעהוּ יִפָּרֵד׃   19:4

Prov. 19:4   Wealth can increase many friends,

                               but a poor person from his friends will be separated.

עֵד קָרִים לֹא יִנָּקֶה וְיָפִיחַ כְּזָבִים לֹא יִמָּלֵט׃   19:5

Prov. 19:5   The testimony of liars will not be left unpunished.

                               So one breathes lies, he will not escape.

רַבִּים יְחַלּוּ פְנֵי־נָדִיב וְכָל־הָרֵעַ לְאִישׁ מַתָּן׃   19:6

Prov. 19:6   Many would beg before a generous man,

                               and everyone would be a friend to a giver of gifts.

כָּל אֲחֵי־רָשׁ שְׂנֵאֻהוּ אַף כִּי מְרֵעֵהוּ רָחֲקוּ מִמֶּנּוּ מְרַדֵּף אֲמָרִים (לֹא־) [לֹו־]הֵמָּה׃   19:7

Prov. 19:7   All the relatives of a poor person are his haters;

                               any wonder that his friends remain distant from him!

                      He is pursuing, they are not speaking.

The word in the parentheses is thought to be in error.  I believe it is correct.  I translate the word as not.  The word in the brackets is translatable as his or to him, which would make the second part of this verse read “He is pursuing, they are speaking to him,” which makes little sense.  Other translators have distorted the Hebrew to come up with expressions that have nothing to do with the first two parts of this triplet.  They produce something like “He that pursues words, they turn against him.”  Because the Hebrew is very pithy, many variations exist for this last third, all of which take liberties (in some cases extreme) with the Hebrew.

קֹנֶה־לֵּב אֹהֵב נַפְשֹׁו שֹׁמֵר תְּבוּנָה לִמְצֹא־טֹוב׃   19:8

Prov. 19:8   A gatherer of knowledge is a friend of his soul.

                               To nurture understanding is to find good.

עֵד קָרִים לֹא יִנָּקֶה וְיָפִיחַ כְּזָבִים יֹאבֵד׃   19:9

Prov. 19:9   The testimony of liars will not be left unpunished;

                               so one breathes lies, he will perish.

Notice that this verse differs only slightly from v. 19:5 above.  Here the last Hebrew word, translated as he will perish, is roughly equivalent to the last two words there, translated as he will not escape.

לֹא־נָאוֶה לִכְסִיל תַּעֲנוּג אַף כִּי־לְעֶבֶד מְשֹׁל בְּשָׂרִים׃   19:10

Prov. 19:10   Luxury is not attractive for a fool;

                               how much less for a servant ruling among princes!

I believe the scribe is telling us here that a fool who flaunts luxury or a servant who rules in the presence of princes would attract derision from those around them.  He might also be saying that one who flaunts luxury would be a fool, and one who should be serving should not seek to be served.

שֵׂכֶל אָדָם הֶאֱרִיךְ אַפֹּו וְתִפאַרְתֹּו עֲבֹר עַל־פָּשַׁע׃   19:11

Prov. 19:11   The good sense of a person causes him to delay his anger,

                               and his glory is side-stepping a transgression.

נַהַם כַּכְּפִיר זַעַף מֶלֶךְ וּכְטַל עַל־עֵשֶׂב רְצֹונֹו׃   19:12

Prov. 19:12   The rage of a king is like a lion roaring,

                               but his good will is like dew on grass.

הַוֹּת לְאָבִיו בֵּן כְּסִיל וְדֶלֶף טֹרֵד מִדְיְנֵי אִשָּׁה׃   19:13

Prov. 19:13   A foolish son is his father's calamity,

                               yet the squabbles of a wife are a continuous dripping.

What an interesting comparison!  How would you compare a calamity with a continuous dripping?  The latter can be thought of as worse than a calamity or less troubling than a calamity, depending upon one’s point of view.  I can imagine that a continuous dripping could drive someone crazy.  But a calamity, is it less damaging to the psyche?  I’m not sure.  I would hazard a guess that it would all depend on the man’s response to difficulty in life.

                                                                                                                                         [Return to Prov. 27:15]

בַּיִת וָהֹון נַחֲלַת אָבֹות וּמֵיְהוָה אִשָּׁה מַשְׂכָּלֶת׃   19:14

Prov. 19:14   House and substance are the heritage of ancestors,

                               but a prudent wife is from the Lord.

עַצְלָה תַּפִּיל תַּרְדֵּמָה וְנֶפֶשׁ רְמִיָּה תִרְעָב׃   19:15

Prov. 19:15   Laziness will cause a trance to fall,

                               so a lax soul will incur hunger.

שֹׁמֵר מִצְוָה שֹׁמֵר נַפְשֹׁו בֹּוזֵה דְרָכָיו (יוּמָת) [יָמוּת]׃   19:16

Prov. 19:16   One keeping commandment would be guarding his soul;

                               anyone regarding His ways with contempt shall die.

The word in the parentheses is misspelled.  The vav should be the third letter rather than the second.  The correction is in the brackets.

מַלְוֵה יְהוָה חֹונֵן דָּל וּגְמֻלֹו יְשַׁלֶּם־לֹו׃   19:17

Prov. 19:17   One gracious to a poor person is lending to the Lord,

                               and He will repay his benefit to him.

יַסֵּר בִּנְךָ כִּי־יֵשׁ תִּקְוָה וְאֶל־הֲמִיתֹו אַל־תִּשָּׂא נַפְשֶׁךָ׃   19:18

Prov. 19:18   Discipline your son when there is hope,

                               but you may not raise yourself up to his death.

I suspect the scribe may be saying here that if there is no hope, a father should not consider slaying his son.

גֹּרַל־) [גְּדָל־]חֵמָה נֹשֵׂא עֹנֶשׁ כִּי אִם־תַּצִּיל וְעֹוד תֹּוסִף׃   19:19

Prov. 19:19   Great anger generates a penalty,

                               but if you would intervene, then yet you could make worse.

Is the scribe saying here that intervention would make the anger worse?  Or is he saying that intervention could make the penalty worse?  I’m uncertain as to which is meant and which is more likely.  I believe either outcome is possible.  And maybe that’s what the scribe is saying.  As for the word in error before the left parenthesis, it is misspelled with a resh in place of a daleth.  The correct word, meaning great, is in the brackets.

שְׁמַע עֵצָה וְקַבֵּל מוּסָר לְמַעַן תֶּחְכַּם בְּאַחֲרִיתֶךָ׃   19:20

Prov. 19:20   Heed counsel and accept correction,

                               so that you may be wise in your later time.

רַבֹּות מַחֲשָׁבֹות בְּלֶב־אִישׁ וַעֲצַת יְהוָה הִיא תָקוּם׃   19:21

Prov. 19:21   Many purposes are in the heart of a person,

                               yet the purpose of the Lord -- it shall be fulfilled.

A byproduct of this verse is the reality that we have many purposes, but the Lord has only one.

תַּאֲוַת אָדָם חַסְדֹּו וְטֹוב־רָשׁ מֵאִישׁ כָּזָב׃   19:22

Prov. 19:22   A desire of the human is his faithfulness,

                               so it is more desirable to be poor than a person lying.

The first part of this verse can have at least one other significantly different translation.  Other translators offer something like “The lust of a man is his shame, ...”  I prefer my translation because it ties the two parts together.

יִרְאַת יְהוָה לְחַיִּים וְשָׂבֵעַ יָלִין בַּל־יִפָּקֶד רָע׃   19:23

Prov. 19:23   Reverence of the Lord is to life.

                               So one should remain satisfied;

                         he might hardly have to attend to evil.

The third part of this triplet seems to be saying that one who is reverent of the Lord need not face much evil.  I don’t accept this if it refers to the physical reality of life.  I believe evil can come to anyone, whether he is reverent of the Lord or contemptuous of Him.  However, the scribe might be hinting that a reverent man would be less concerned with the evil he faces.  And that I can accept.

טָמַן עָצֵל יָדֹו בַּצַּלָּחַת גַּם־אֶל־פִּיהוּ לֹא יְשִׁיבֶנָּה׃   19:24

Prov. 19:24   A sluggish person buries his hand in the bowl,

                               although to his mouth he cannot bring it.

This proverb is actually humorous.  It’s so easy to picture it as a cartoon.  I imagine the scribe is saying that it’s easy for a sluggish one to lower his hand but raising it is harder.  However, there’s a funnier possible interpretation that is even more suggestive of the scribe’s humor.  This verse could also be sayijng that the sluggard picks up so much food from the bowl that his hand is too heavy to raise to his mouth.

                                                                                                         [Return to Prov 26:15]

לֵץ תַּכֶּה וּפֶתִי יַעְרִם וְהֹוכִיחַ לְנָבֹון יָבִין דָּעַת׃   19:25

Prov. 19:25   You might strike a scorner and one of simple mind may become wary,

                               but chiding to a discerning one he will consider knowledge.

                                                                                                                                  [Return to Prov. 21:11]

מְשַׁדֶּד־אָב יַבְרִיחַ אֵם בֵּן מֵבִישׁ וּמַחְפִּיר׃   19:26

Prov. 19:26   A shameful and embarrassing son would be devastating a father,

                               driving away a mother.

חַדַל־בְּנִי לִשְׁמֹעַ מוּסָר לִשְׁגֹות מֵאִמְרֵי־דָעַת׃   19:27

Prov. 19:27   My son, stop hearing instruction

                               to stray from words of knowledge.

עֵד בְּלִיַּעַל יָלִיץ מִשְׁפָּט וּפִי רְשָׁעִים יְבַלַּע־אָוֶן׃   19:28

Prov. 19:28   Worthless testimony will mock justice,

                               and the mouth of the wicked will engulf iniquity.

נָכֹונוּ לַלֵּצִים שְׁפָטִים וּמַהֲלֻמֹות לְגֵו כְּסִילִים׃   19:29

Prov. 19:29   Judgments have been arranged for scorners,

                               and blows for the back of fools.


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