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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Proverbs 13

 

 

Verses 1-25

Proverbs 13. This chapter has little that is fresh and no new groups of proverbs. We have a well-known reference to the weariness of waiting for a hope that comes not (Proverbs 13:12 and Proverbs 13:19 a). There is a new proverb relating to the faithfulness of messengers, perhaps with reference to diplomatic missions.

Proverbs 13:5. is loathsome: render "behaves vilely."

Proverbs 13:7. Both AV and RV obscure the point of the aphorism, which contrasts two equally obnoxious social shams. Translate, "There are poor people who pretend to be rich, and there are rich people who feign they are poor."

Proverbs 13:8. The last words appear to have come in by dittography from Proverbs 13:1. The real point of the contrast intended appears in Proverbs 10:15—the social disadvantage of poverty—and the last words should express a similar thought.

Proverbs 13:9. rejoiceth is hardly appropriate; read with a slight emendation "ariseth" (cf. Psalms 112:4). LXX reads "is for ever." The earlier meaning of "light" and "lamp" is the preservation of the family name and honour (cf. the promise to David to give him a lamp in Jerusalem, 1 Kings 11:36, Psalms 132:17). Later it acquires a more ethical meaning, "the path of the just is as a shining light."

Proverbs 13:10. The text is very uncertain. The first three letters of MT are probably repeated by scribal error from Proverbs 13:9. Omitting them we read "presumption causes strife." But the proverb is probably a corrupt form of Proverbs 11:2, as comparison with it suggests.

Proverbs 13:11. The Heb. reads lit. "Wealth from nothingness grows less, but he who gathers by hand increases." Some change is clearly needed. The LXX gives a better sense and a suitable contrast, "wealth got in haste" (cf. Proverbs 20:21, Proverbs 28:22). The force of "by hand" (cf. mg.) is "gradually," not "by labour" as the RV.

Proverbs 13:13 a is the converse of Proverbs 16:20 a.—the word: the moral law, the law of Yahweh.

Proverbs 13:15 b gives no intelligible sense, and cannot be related to Proverbs 13:15 a. Lit. it reads "the way of the treacherous is enduring; RV "rugged" has no justification. LXX reads, with slight change, "is in destruction." But the two clauses are still unrelated, and probably belong to different couplets (cf. Sirach 41:10).

Proverbs 13:17. The contrast is apparently between the mischief caused by a bad or incompetent messenger and the prosperous issue of affairs conducted by a reliable envoy or ambassador. The word used for ambassador or envoy suggests rather a political sense, and the LXX has the interesting though probably erroneous rendering "a rash king gets into trouble, but a wise ambassador will deliver him." Read "A false (or untrustworthy) messenger causes (his sender) to fall into trouble" (cf. Proverbs 25:13).

Proverbs 13:19. Another case of two unrelated lines. For Proverbs 13:19 a cf. Proverbs 13:12, and for Proverbs 13:19 b cf. Pro. 29:37.

Proverbs 13:23. The Heb. gives no satisfactory sense or intelligible contrast. It reads lit. "The fallow ground (as Hosea 10:12, Jeremiah 4:3) of the poor is abundance of food, and there is that is swept away by injustice." The VSS show similar confusion. No satisfactory emendation has been proposed.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/proverbs-13.html. 1919.

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Saturday, December 7th, 2019
the First Week of Advent
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