Brit-Am/Hebrew Nations Notes and Commentary
We Should be Aware of our own Motivations!
1 The one who lives alone is self-indulgent,
showing contempt for all who have sound judgement.
The above translation appears misleading.
The literal Hebrew reads something like:
# For Lust shall separation be sought. In all initiative it shall be revealed.#
In the light of the Commentators the meaning is along the following lines:
# In order to fulfill lust separation from others shall be sought. This shall be revealed in every initiated action. #
Introverted thinking people have a tendency to lead lonely lives. This may be mistaken. We should seek the company of others. Life is with people.
So too, many of our opinions, attitudes, thoughts, and actions may be the results of ulterior motives.
This is not necessarily invalid. Neither does it make our beliefs etc unacceptable. Nevertheless, we should be aware of it.
2 A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
but only in expressing personal opinion.
Listen to others. Keep your ears open. Even when you are certain that you know the answer always keep an option open to modify or even change it.
Be on your own side. Do not let yourself be entrapped by your own preconceived understandings.
The word translated above as "fool" in Hebrew is "casil". This connotes certainty and safety.
Someone who is too certain of themselves is in danger of being foolish.
Bible translation RSV. Proverbs 18:
3 When wickedness comes, contempt comes also;
and with dishonour comes disgrace.
4 The words of the mouth are deep waters;
the fountain of wisdom is a gushing stream.
5 It is not right to be partial to the guilty,
or to subvert the innocent in judgement.
6 A fool's lips bring strife,
and a fool's mouth invites a flogging.
7 The mouths of fools are their ruin,
and their lips a snare to themselves.
There is Commentary on all of the above but for the moment the overall meaning is quite clear.
See below where we have -retranslated the entire section.
8 The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels;
they go down into the inner parts of the body.
The word translated above as whisperer in Hebrew is "Nirgan" meaning an inciter, malcontent, or someone who is constantly complaining and arousing contention.
The word translated above as delicious morsels in Hebrew is "mahalumim" or pounding hammers.
Bible. Brit-Am Re-Translation.
3 With the coming of evil so too comes shame; and with dishonor comes contempt.
4 Words quoted from a Great Man are deep waters;
the source of wisdom is a gushing stream.
5 It is not good to be partial towards a wicked person
or to incline judgment against the righteous.
6 The lips of a fool bring him to contention,
and his mouth calls for heavy blows.
7 The mouth of a fool are a cause of downfall to him,
and his lips a snare to his being.
8 The words of a malcontent are like being beaten with heavy blows penetrating to the stomach innards.
In other words seek out positivity, justice, and honesty. Value wisdom.
Proverbs 18: 9-15. Be Open to Yourself and Others and be Humble
9 One who is slack in work
is close kin to a vandal.
10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
the righteous run into it and are safe.
11 The wealth of the rich is their strong city;
in their imagination it is like a high wall.
12 Before destruction one's heart is haughty,
but humility goes before honour.
13 If one gives answer before hearing,
it is folly and shame.
14 The human spirit will endure sickness;
but a broken spirit, who can bear?
15 An intelligent mind acquires knowledge,
and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
The above translation as far as we can see is mostly correct, as far as it goes.
We present below a translation of our own directly from the Bible in Hebrew.
This is not different from the above version but a few additional nuances of meaning may be noticed.
The overall message is:
Do what you have to do and do it well.
Trust in God and take refuge in HIM.
Do not trust in your own wealth or acheivements.
Stay humble, it may help avoid disaster.
Listen to others, hear them out. Give them space.
Avoid depression. Do not despair. The human spirit has a natural resilience, let it work for you.
Do not be deliberately self-defeating.
Keep your ears open and seek to understand more than you now do.
9 Also, a laggard in his own work is brother to an agent of destruction.
10 A tower of strength is the Name of the ALMIGHTY; the righteous shall run into it and be elevated.
11 The wealth of the richman is his city of strength
In his paved dwelling he [feels] like he is [behind] an elevated wall.
12 Before calamity, the heart of a man shall be lofty;
and before honor, humility.
13 Answering a matter before hearing it is foolishly irresponsible to oneself and disgraceful.
14 The mind of a man can bear his illness but who can hold up a depressed spirit?
15 An understanding heart shall acquire knowledge; the ears of the wise shall seek to know.
Proverbs 18: 16-23. Watch Your Tongue and Value Friendship
(a) NRSV Translation
16 A gift opens doors;
it gives access to the great.
17 The one who first states a case seems right,
until the other comes and cross-examines.
18 Casting the lot puts an end to disputes
and decides between powerful contenders.
19 An ally offended is stronger than a city;
such quarrelling is like the bars of a castle.
20 From the fruit of the mouth one's stomach is satisfied;
the yield of the lips brings satisfaction.
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
and those who love it will eat its fruits.
22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
and obtains favour from the Lord.
23 The poor use entreaties,
but the rich answer roughly.
24 Some friends play at friendship
but a true friend sticks closer than one's nearest kin.
(b) Proverbs 18: 16-23. Watch Your Tongue and Value Friendship
Translation partly in light of the Commentary of Metsudat David.
16 The gift [or talent] of a man shall broaden [the pathway] for him;
and before the great it shall guide him.
17 The first [to state his case] in argument will [seem] righteous;
Until his contender comes and examines it.
18 Contentions may be ended by casting the lot;
and between powerful contenders make separation.
19 An offended [or "offensive": Metsudat David] brother is preferable to the strength of a city;
Argumentation is like the bars of a palace [that can be opened].
20 From the fruit of the mouth of a man shall his stomach be satisfied;
the harvest of his lips shall requite him.
21 Death and life are in the hand of the tongue.
They who love her shall eat its fruits.
22 Found a woman, found [something] good;
and favor shall emanate from the LORD.
23 With entreaties shall the poor man speak,
but the rich shall answer fiercely.
24 A person of amiability for alliance;
and a friend is sometimes more devoted than a brother.
The Overall Message:
Gifts or bribes may be useful; so is talent. Give something to others.
Hear both sides of the story.
Argumentation may be ended by agreed upon arbitration.
Remember that those who are close to you should be your natural allies. You may need them.
How you speak can decide your fate. Watch your tongue.
Money talks, poverty pleads.
Be a friend and you will find friendship when you need it.
Be a Friend of your Friend,
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