Proverbs 1:20-33

Proverbs 1:20-33
Ordinary B42


20 WisdomA cries outB in the street;C

Notes on verse 20a

A “wisdom” = chokmot. 5x in OT– 3x of lady wisdom in Proverbs 1, 9, and 14. From the same as chokmah (wisdom, wit, skillfulness); from chakam (to be wise or teach wisdom; this is wisdom in thought, word, or action). This is wisdom or wise woman.
B “cries out” = ranan. This is a cry of joy or a joyful song. Properly, it is emitting a shrill sound, especially one of joy.
C “street” = chuts. Root may mean to sever. So, this is something that is separated by a wall – the outside, the street, a field, highway, or abroad.

    in the squaresD she raisesE her voice.F

Notes on verse 20b

D “squares” = rechob. From rachab (to grow wide or enlarge in a literal or figurative sense; extend, relieve, rejoice, or speak boldly). This is a wide, open place like a plaza, square, or avenue.
E “raises” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.
F “voice” = qol. This is a sound, used often for human voices. Also used when God speaks or angels, animals or instruments. It can be a cry or a noise, thunder or earthquakes and so on.

21 At the busiestG cornerH she cries out;I

Notes on verse 21a

G “busiest” = rosh. This may come a word that means to shake. It is the head, captain, or chief. It can also be excellent or the forefront. It can be first in position or in statue or in time (i.e. the beginning).
H “corner” = hamah. This is to growl or roar, be disturbed, mourn, yearn. It is being noisy so it can imply tumult, rage, war.
I “cries out” = qara. This is to call or call out – to call someone by name. Also used more broadly for calling forth.

    at the entranceJ of the cityK gatesL sheM speaks:N

Notes on verse 21b

J “entrance” = pethach. From pathach (to open wide in a literal or figurative sense; to open, draw out, let something go free, break forth, to plow, engrave, or carve). This is any kind of opening – a door, entrance, gate.
K “city” = iyr. From uwr (to awaken or wake oneself up). This can mean excitement in the sense of wakefulness or city. Properly, this is a place that is guarded. Guards kept schedules according to watches. This sense of the word would include cities as well as encampments or posts that were guarded.
L “gates” = shaar. May be related to sha’ar (to calculate or reckon; may come from a root that means to open up or split). This is a gate, door, or other opening like a port.
M {untranslated} = emer. From amar (to say, answer, challenge). This is something that is said – a word, saying, speech.
N “speaks” = amar. Related to {untranslated} in v21. See note M above.

22 “How long, O simple ones,O will you loveP being simple?
How long will scoffersQ delightR in their scoffingS

Notes on verse 22a

O “simple ones” = pthiy. 19x in OT. From pathah (to be simple, entice, deceive, persuade, allure, be silly); from pethi (simple, silly, foolish, easily deceived); from pathah (to be wide open, deceive, entice, persuade, to be simple, delude). This is open-minded, simple, silly, foolish, or seducible.
P “love” = aheb. This is to love, beloved, friend. It is to have affection for sexually or otherwise.
Q “scoffers” = luts. Perhaps from the same as lits (to scorn, mock, or deride; an envoy or interpreter). Properly, this means “to make mouths at” or scoff, mock. It can also be ambassador or interpreter in reference to pronouncing another language.
R “delight” = chamad. This is to desire or delight in someone or something. It can also mean something that is precious or coveted. So, it can also refer to lust.
S “scoffing” = latson. Related to “scoffers” in v33. 3x in OT. From lits (see note Q above) OR from luts (see note Q above). This is scorning or derision.

    and foolsT hateU knowledge?V

Notes on verse 22b

T “fools” = kesil. From kasal (being or becoming stupid or foolish; properly, being fat and so figuratively silly or foolish). This is someone who is stupid, silly, or foolish.
U “hate” = sane. This is an enemy or foe. It is one that is hated with a personal hatred.
V “knowledge” = daat. From yada (to know, be aware, see and so understand – includes observation, care, recognition; can also be used as a euphemism). This is knowledge, unawares, cunning, wittingly.

23 Give heedW to my reproof;X
YI will pour outZ my thoughtsAA to you;
    I will make my wordsBB knownCC to you.

Notes on verse 23

W “give heed” = shub. To turn back, return, turn away – literally or figuratively. Doesn’t necessarily imply going back to where you started from. This is also the root verb for the Hebrew word for repentance “teshubah.”
X “reproof” = tokechah. From yakach (to decide, be right, argue, or convince; to decide, convict, reason together, or reprove). This is correction, rebuke, punishment. It can also be evidence used in court.
Y {untranslated} = hinneh. From hen (lo! Behold! If, though; an expression of surprise). This is to draw attention, show suddenness or surprise, or to emphasize the importance of the coming statement. See! Lo! Behold!
Z “pour out” = naba. 11x in OT. This is to spring up, flow, gush, or spout. It can also mean to belch as in emitting a bad smell. Figuratively, it can mean to speak, whether positively or negatively.
AA “thoughts” = ruach. This is breath, wind, air, cool, spirit. This is wind, which resembles the breath and so this can be used figuratively for life itself or being frail/mortal/impermanent. It can refer to the air of the sky or the spirit.
BB “words” = dabar. From dabar (to speak, declare, discuss). This is speech, a word, a matter, an affair, charge, command, message, promise, purpose, report, request. It is a word, which implies things that are spoken of in a wide sense.
CC “make…known” = yada. Related to “knowledge” in v22. See note V above.

24 Because I have calledDD and you refused,
    have stretched outEE my handFF and no one heeded,GG
25 and because you have ignoredHH all my counselII
    and would haveJJ none of my reproof,

Notes on verses 24-25

DD “called” = qara. Same as “cries out” in v21. See note I above.
EE “stretched out” = natah. This is to stretch or spread out, to extend, or bend. In can also imply moral deflection.
FF “hand” = yad. This is hand, ability, power. Hand in a literal sense, but also what one can do or the means by which one does it.
GG “heeded” = qashab. To listen, pay attention to, incline – used in the phrase incline the ears.
HH “ignored” = para. 16x in OT. This is to loosen, let alone, uncover, avoid, dismiss, or perish.
II “counsel” = etsah. From yaats (to counsel, advise, determine). This is advice, purpose, plan, prudence, or counselor.
JJ “have” = abah. This is to breathe after, be willing, obey, accept, be content with, satisfy.

26 I also will laughKK at your calamity;LL
    I will mockMM when panicNN strikesOO you,

Notes on verse 26

KK “laugh” = sachaq. This is to laugh, celebrate, joke, mock, scorn. This is laughing, whether for joy or scorn. It can imply plays or holding a contest.
LL “calamity” = ed. From the same as odoth (turning, occasion, cause, concerning); from the same as ud (firebrand, a poker). This is distress, destruction, disaster, ruin, misfortune, or oppression.
MM “mock” = laag. 19x in OT. This is to mock, deride, or laugh. It can also mean to stammer or speak incomprehensibly as though one were imitating a foreigner. So, it can be scorn or mock.
NN “panic” = pachad. From pachad (to dread, be afraid, thrill, be in awe; feeling startled from a sudden sound or alarm). This is dread, fear, awe, panic. It can also refer to what someone fears or dreads.
OO “strikes” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.

27 when panic strikes you like a storm,PP
    and your calamity comesQQ like a whirlwind,RR

Notes on verse 27a

PP “storm” = shaavah. 1x in OT. From shaah (to crash, rumble, rush, be desolate, devastate). This is a storm or tempest – one that is devastating.
QQ “comes” = athah. This is to come or bring. It can also refer to the past or future arriving.
RR “whirlwind” = suphah. 16x in OT. From suph (to cease, snatch away, consume, remove). This is a sea, perhaps the Red Sea. It can also be used for a hurricane or the wind of a storm. Also, there is a place called Suphah.

    when distressSS and anguishTT comeUU upon you.

Notes on verse 27b

SS “distress” = tsarah. From tsar (properly, a narrow or constricted place; figuratively, trouble, a pebble, an enemy, anguish, or distress); from tsarar (to bind, restrict, narrow, be cramped, an adversary). This is tightness, distress, affliction, trouble, or adversary.
TT “anguish” = tsoq. 4x in OT. From tsuq (to press on, compress; figuratively, to oppress or bring distress). This is constraint or distress.
UU “come” = bo. Same as “strikes” in v26. See note OO above.

28 Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer;VV
    they will seek me diligently,WW but will not findXX me.

Notes on verse 28

VV “answer” = anah. This is answer, respond, announce, sing, shout, or testify. It means to pay attention, which implies responding and, by extension, starting to talk. Used in a specific sense for singing, shouting, testifying, etc.
WW “seek…diligently” = shachar. 12x in OT. From shachar (dawn, early light, or morning). This is to seek in a diligent or eager way. It is to look for early as someone who stays up for the morning watch to see at the dawn. Often used for seeking God or seeking good.
XX “find” = matsa. This is to find, catch or acquire. It can also mean to come forth or appear. Figuratively, this can mean to meet or be together with.

29 Because they hated knowledge
    and did not chooseYY the fearZZ of the Lord,AAA
30 would haveBBB none of my counsel,
    and despisedCCC all my reproof,

Notes on verses 29-30

YY “choose” = bachar. This is to choose, appoint, try, excellent.
ZZ “fear” = yirah. From yare (to fear, be afraid, dreadful; also fearful reverence – to fear in a moral sense is to say to revere, respect). This is fear or reverence.
AAA “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
BBB “have” = abah. Same as “have” in v25. See note JJ above.
CCC “despised” = naats. This is to spurn, reject, provoke, abhor, treat with contempt. It can also mean bloom or flourish.

31 therefore they shall eatDDD the fruitEEE of their wayFFF
    and be satedGGG with their own devices.HHH

Notes on verse 31

DDD “eat” = akal. This is to eat, devour, burn up, or otherwise consume. It can be eating in a literal or figurative sense.
EEE “fruit” = peri. From parah (to bear fruit, grow, be fruitful, increase; bearing fruit in a literal or figurative sense). This is fruit or reward.
FFF “way” = derek. From darak (to tread, march, to walk. Can also mean affixing a string to a box since one needs to step on it to bend it in the process; so also an archer). This is a road as a thing that is walked on. Can be used figuratively for the path that one’s life takes or how one chooses to live one’s life.
GGG “sated” = saba. To be satisfied or full in a literal or figurative sense. Also, to have plenty of.
HHH “devices” = moetsah. Related to “counsel” in v25. 7x in OT. From yaats (see note II above). This is counsel, plan, purpose, or device.

32 For waywardnessIII killsJJJ the simple,
    and the complacencyKKK of fools destroysLLL them;

Notes on verse 32

III “waywardness” = meshubah. Related to “give heed” in v23. 12x in OT. From shub (see note W above). This is literally turning back. It can be used for waywardness, disloyalty, or faithlessness
JJJ “kills” = harag. This is to strike with deadly intent so it can be kill, destroy, murder, or put to death.
KKK “complacency” = shalvah. 8x in OT. From shalah (to be quiet, safe, tranquil; can imply success or happiness; could also mean to deceive or be negligent). This is quietness, prosperity, or ease. It is a sense of security, whether of real security or imagined.
LLL “destroys” = abad. To wander off, lose self. This implies to perish, destroy, die, vanish, or be broken or corrupt.

33 but those who listenMMM to me will beNNN secureOOO

Notes on verse 33a

MMM “listen” = shama. This is to hear, call, consent, or consider. It implies listening intelligently, giving attention, and, because of these two factors, obedience and action are often implied.
NNN “be” = shakan. This is to settle down in the sense of residing somewhere or staying there permanently. It can mean abide or continue. “Mishkan,” taken from this verb, is the Hebrew word for the Tabernacle (as a place where God abided).
OOO “secure” = betach. From batach (to hide for refuge, be secure or sure; figuratively, it refers to trust, being confident, or hoping). This is a place of refuge. So, abstractly, it can be confidence, security, hope, trust, or assurance.

    and will live at ease,PPP without dreadQQQ of disaster.”RRR

Notes on verse 33b

PPP “live at ease” = shaan. 5x in OT. This is to lean or support oneself. So, it can mean to rely or trust.
QQQ “without dread” = pachad. Same as “panic” in v26. See note NN above.
RRR “disaster” = ra’. From ra’a’ (to be evil, bad, afflict; properly, to spoil – to destroy by breaking into pieces; figuratively, to cause something to be worthless; this is bad in a physical, social, or moral sense; that which displeases, to do harm or mischief, to punish or vex). This is bad, disagreeable, that which causes pain, misery, something having little or no value, something that is ethically bad, wicked, injury, calamity. This refers to anything that is not what it ought to be – a natural disaster, a disfigurement, an injury, a sin.

Image credit: “San Francisco – Mission District: The Women’s Building – MaestraPeace Mural” by Juana Alicia, Miranda Bergman, Edythe Boone, Susan Kelk Cervantes, Meera Desai, Yvonne Littleton and Irene Perez, and many helpers in 1994.

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