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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Proverbs 14

 

 

Verses 1-35

Proverbs 14. In this, as in each of the preceding chapters in this section, aphorisms on the moral government of the world come first in number. There are rather more in this chapter of a political and social character, while a group that might be called psychological appears for the first time (e.g. Proverbs 14:10; Proverbs 14:13, and in part Proverbs 14:30). The contrast between wisdom and folly, simplicity and prudence, also yields a fairly numerous group.

Proverbs 14:1. MT cannot be translated. Proverbs 14:1 a is probably the quotation of Proverbs 9:1 a, and Proverbs 14:1 b is added as an aphoristic and antithetic comment. Read "Wisdom hath builded her house, but folly tears it down with her hands."

Proverbs 14:3. rod: lit. "shoot" (mg.) or "twig," as in Isaiah 11:1, the only other place where the word occurs. Hence, if the text is sound, the fool's mouth is represented as sending forth a branch of folly. But this leaves the antithesis without point. We expect some word conveying the harmfulness of the fool's speech to himself.

Proverbs 14:4 a yields no intelligible contrast; a slight emendation, "where there are no oxen there is no corn," gives it.

Proverbs 14:7. The straightforward rendering of the Heb. is, "If thou go from the presence of a fool thou hast not known lips of knowledge"—i.e. time spent in a fool's company is time wasted. But the text is very uncertain. LXX may preserve the original, "All things are contrary to a fool, but wise lips are instruments of perfection," evidently following Proverbs 20:15 for Proverbs 14:7 b.

Proverbs 14:9. Another very difficult verse. The lit. translation, as far as one can be given, is "Guilt (or a guilt offering) mocks fools, but among (lit. between) the upright there is good pleasure." It is hard to extract any sense from this. LXX, evidently with a widely different text in Proverbs 14:9 a, has "the houses of transgressors need purification, but the houses of the righteous are acceptable (i.e. to God)." The word "mocks" is the trouble. A slight emendation would give "fools go astray by guilt," which yields a possible sense.

Proverbs 14:13. Cf.

"Our sincerest laughter with some pain is fraught,

Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thoughts."

Proverbs 14:14. Instead of the difficult "from himself," read the necessary "from his deeds," the same verb being supplied as in Proverbs 14:14 a.

Proverbs 14:17 b. Omit, with LXX, one Heb. letter, and read, to the improvement of sense and antithesis, "but a man of thought endures." The Heb. for "a quick-tempered man" is lit. "one who is short of nostrils"; a patient man is "long of nostrils"—i.e. his anger does not soon become apparent, by a snort!

Proverbs 14:18. are covered: the verb (Job 36:2) is Aram. Render "the prudent wait for knowledge."

Proverbs 14:21. is happy: rather "is blessed by God," as in Psalms 1:1, "blessed is the man."

Proverbs 14:24 b is tautologous and yields no antithesis. Read "The crown of the wise is their wisdom, the chaplet of fools is their folly" (LXX).

Proverbs 14:32. in his death: read, transposing two letters, "in his integrity" (so LXX).

Proverbs 14:35. causeth shame: properly "disappoints"—i.e. in a political sense, one who is a political or diplomatic failure.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/proverbs-14.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, September 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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