Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Proverbs 21

Is Proverbs only second best poetry? Second best? to what? the Psalms? Job? It's an odd question. The three books of poetry are each unique in themselves. I admit that reading the traditional translations of Proverbs has generally left me cold apart from chapters 8 and perhaps 31. But as examples of speech, I suspect they are critical to the understanding of this ancient tongue. So I have set a number of puzzling renditions to consider.

They still make me laugh, one terse sentence at a time. Like all good poetry, it must be read slowly. Juxtaposition is key. Filling in the blanks is also key for the reader. The interpreter who fills in the blanks for others will fail. Such will make the text seem like story or completed sentences. Many of them are not.

These fragments are way down my list because my automation can only guess the words one at a time unless there is repetition in Proverbs itself (which there is of course, and we should note it - might be accidental or might be an internal frame for the book as a whole). But many of my software's single guesses have been right on. 8 words in row were readable in verse 16 without modification and the English and Hebrew word order are identical.

Surrounding this comment, in verses 15 and 17, there is a key recurring word. שמחה, gladness (simcha). In the KJV one proverb was considered 'good' advice in the eyes of the translators, so they rendered שמחה by joy (this is misleading, in my opinion, since the KJV has joy for other roots as well) and the second proverb had a usage that was considered as 'bad' in the eyes of the translators, and so שמחה was rendered by pleasure (this is doubly misleading and, in my opinion, absolutely wrong). The KJV translation has interpreted more than necessary, and obscured a needed word repetition to guard the warning in the verse that is contained, verse 16. (Even love can be abused.) I use gladness for this root שמח (and rarely mirth, Psalms 51 and 137 only, oh my aching hapaxes). I am going to leave mirth where it is, unless I discover another root in Hebrew in this domain that demands mirth.

Get some שמחה from this chapter...

Proverbs 21 Fn Min Max Syll
פַּלְגֵי־מַ֣יִם לֶב־מֶ֭לֶךְ בְּיַד־יְהוָ֑ה
עַֽל־כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֖ר יַחְפֹּ֣ץ יַטֶּֽנּוּ
1 Streams of water, the heart of a sovereign in the hand of Yahweh.
To all that he delights in, he bends it.
3e 4B 10
9
כָּֽל־דֶּרֶךְ־אִ֭ישׁ יָשָׁ֣ר בְּעֵינָ֑יו
וְתֹכֵ֖ן לִבּ֣וֹת יְהוָֽה
2 Every way of a person is upright in its own eyes,
but Yahweh balances hearts.
3e 4B 9
7
עֲ֭שֹׂה צְדָקָ֣ה וּמִשְׁפָּ֑ט
נִבְחָ֖ר לַיהוָ֣ה מִזָּֽבַח
3 g To do righteousness and judgment,
is the choice of Yahweh over sacrifice.
3e 4B 8
7
רוּם־עֵ֭ינַיִם וּרְחַב־לֵ֑ב
נִ֖ר רְשָׁעִ֣ים חַטָּֽאת
4 Exalted eyes and a bloated heart,
the lamp of the wicked, sin.
3e 4B 6
6
מַחְשְׁב֣וֹת חָ֭רוּץ אַךְ־לְמוֹתָ֑ר
וְכָל־אָ֝֗ץ אַךְ־לְמַחְסֽוֹר
5 The devices of the diligent surely are an advantage,
but all importuning surely is to deprivation.
3e 4B 9
7
פֹּ֣עַל א֭וֹצָרוֹת בִּלְשׁ֣וֹן שָׁ֑קֶר
הֶ֥בֶל נִ֝דָּ֗ף מְבַקְשֵׁי־מָֽוֶת
6 B Funded work with a false tongue,
futility, wind-blown, seeking death.
3e 4B 9
8
שֹׁד־רְשָׁעִ֥ים יְגוֹרֵ֑ם
כִּ֥י מֵ֝אֲנ֗וּ לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת מִשְׁפָּֽט
7 The devastation of the wicked, their gullets,
for they would not do judgment.
3e 4A 7
9
הֲפַכְפַּ֬ךְ דֶּ֣רֶךְ אִ֣ישׁ וָזָ֑ר
וְ֝זַ֗ךְ יָשָׁ֥ר פָּעֳלֽוֹ
8 The wayward way of a person and passing strange,
but the clear, upright is its work.
3e 4B 8
7
ט֗וֹב לָשֶׁ֥בֶת עַל־פִּנַּת־גָּ֑ג
מֵאֵ֥שֶׁת מִ֝דְיָנִ֗ים וּבֵ֥ית חָֽבֶר
9 ~ Better to inhabit the corner of a roof,
than a wife of dissension and a charmed house.
3e 4A 8
10
נֶ֣פֶשׁ רָ֭שָׁע אִוְּתָה־רָ֑ע
לֹא־יֻחַ֖ן בְּעֵינָ֣יו רֵעֵֽהוּ
10 B Wicked self desires evil.
Its associate is not gracious in its own eyes.
3e 4B 7
8
בַּעְנָשׁ־לֵ֭ץ יֶחְכַּם־פֶּ֑תִי
וּבְהַשְׂכִּ֥יל לְ֝חָכָ֗ם יִקַּח־דָּֽעַת
11 When the scornful is fined, simplicity is made wise,
and when the wise has insight, it receives knowledge.
3e 4A 7
10
מַשְׂכִּ֣יל צַ֭דִּיק לְבֵ֣ית רָשָׁ֑ע
מְסַלֵּ֖ף רְשָׁעִ֣ים לָרָֽע
12 A righteous one has insight into the house of wickedness,
and undermines the wicked of the evil.
3e 4B 8
8
אֹטֵ֣ם אָ֭זְנוֹ מִזַּעֲקַת־דָּ֑ל
גַּֽם־ה֥וּא יִ֝קְרָ֗א וְלֹ֣א יֵעָנֶֽה
13 Who plugs its own ear over the appeal of the weak,
also itself, it will call and not be answered.
3e 4B 9
9
מַתָּ֣ן בַּ֭סֵּתֶר יִכְפֶּה־אָ֑ף
וְשֹׁ֥חַד בַּ֝חֵ֗ק חֵמָ֥ה עַזָּֽה
14 Graft in secret may pacify anger,
and a bribe to the chest strong heat.
3e 4B 8
9
שִׂמְחָ֣ה לַ֭צַּדִּיק עֲשׂ֣וֹת מִשְׁפָּ֑ט
וּ֝מְחִתָּ֗ה לְפֹ֣עֲלֵי אָֽוֶן
15 Gladness to the righteous one, to do judgment,
but disarray for the workers of mischief.
3e 4B 9
9
אָדָ֗ם תּ֭וֹעֶה מִדֶּ֣רֶךְ הַשְׂכֵּ֑ל
בִּקְהַ֖ל רְפָאִ֣ים יָנֽוּחַ
16 Earthling wandering from the way of insight,
in the congregation of the shades will rest.
3e 4B 9
8
אִ֣ישׁ מַ֭חְסוֹר אֹהֵ֣ב שִׂמְחָ֑ה
אֹהֵ֥ב יַֽיִן־וָ֝שֶׁ֗מֶן לֹ֣א יַעֲשִֽׁיר
17 B Each will be lacking who loves gladness.
The lover of wine and oil will not be rich.
3e 4B 7
10
כֹּ֣פֶר לַצַּדִּ֣יק רָשָׁ֑ע
וְתַ֖חַת יְשָׁרִ֣ים בּוֹגֵֽד
18 B A cover for one who is righteous is one who is wicked,
and instead of the upright, treachery.
3e 4B 7
8
ט֗וֹב שֶׁ֥בֶת בְּאֶֽרֶץ־מִדְבָּ֑ר
מֵאֵ֖שֶׁת מִדְיָנִ֣ים וָכָֽעַס
19 ~ Better to inhabit a land of wilderness,
than a wife of dissension and grief.
3e 4B 8
9
אוֹצָ֤ר ׀ נֶחְמָ֣ד וָ֭שֶׁמֶן בִּנְוֵ֣ה חָכָ֑ם
וּכְסִ֖יל אָדָ֣ם יְבַלְּעֶֽנּוּ
20 A fund is attractive and oil, in the home of one who is wise,
but a dullard earthling swallows it.
3e 4C 11
8
רֹ֭דֵף צְדָקָ֣ה וָחָ֑סֶד
יִמְצָ֥א חַ֝יִּ֗ים צְדָקָ֥ה וְכָבֽוֹד
21 g Pursuing righteousness and kindness,
one finds life, righteousness, and glory.
3e 4B 8
10
עִ֣יר גִּ֭בֹּרִים עָלָ֣ה חָכָ֑ם
וַ֝יֹּ֗רֶד עֹ֣ז מִבְטֶחָֽה
22 B To a city of the valiant, one who is wise ascends,
and brings down strength and its confidence.
3e 4B 8
7
שֹׁמֵ֣ר פִּ֭יו וּלְשׁוֹנ֑וֹ
שֹׁמֵ֖ר מִצָּר֣וֹת נַפְשֽׁוֹ
23 One keeping its mouth and its tongue,
keeps from troubles, its integrity.
3e 4B 6
7
זֵ֣ד יָ֭הִיר לֵ֣ץ שְׁמ֑וֹ
ע֝וֹשֶׂ֗ה בְּעֶבְרַ֥ת זָדֽוֹן
24 B Overweening presumption, scornful is its name,
dealing in presumptuous fury.
3e 4B 6
7
תַּאֲוַ֣ת עָצֵ֣ל תְּמִיתֶ֑נּוּ
כִּֽי־מֵאֲנ֖וּ יָדָ֣יו לַעֲשֽׂוֹת
25 The desire of a sluggard renders it lifeless,
for its hands are unwilling to deal.
3e 4B 9
8
כָּל־הַ֭יּוֹם הִתְאַוָּ֣ה תַאֲוָ֑ה
וְצַדִּ֥יק יִ֝תֵּ֗ן וְלֹ֣א יַחְשֹֽׂךְ
26 All the day long it desires desire,
but the righteous one gives and does not keep back.
3e 4B 9
9
זֶ֣בַח רְ֭שָׁעִים תּוֹעֵבָ֑ה
אַ֝֗ף כִּֽי־בְזִמָּ֥ה יְבִיאֶֽנּוּ
27 B The offering of the wicked is an abomination indeed,
for with an agenda, it brings it.
3e 4B 8
9
עֵד־כְּזָבִ֥ים יֹאבֵ֑ד
וְאִ֥ישׁ שׁ֝וֹמֵ֗עַ לָנֶ֥צַח יְדַבֵּֽר
28 A lying witness will perish,
but a person who hears, speaks in perpetuity.
3e 4A 6
11
הֵעֵ֬ז אִ֣ישׁ רָשָׁ֣ע בְּפָנָ֑יו
וְ֝יָשָׁ֗ר ה֤וּא ׀ יָבִ֬ין דַּרְכּֽוֹ
29 A wicked person strengthens its face,
but one who is upright will discern its way.
3e 4C 8
8
אֵ֣ין חָ֭כְמָה וְאֵ֣ין תְּבוּנָ֑ה
וְאֵ֥ין עֵ֝צָ֗ה לְנֶ֣גֶד יְהוָֽה
30 B There is no wisdom, and there is no discernment,
and there is no counsel. Yahweh to make clear.
3e 4B 8
9
ס֗וּס מ֭וּכָן לְי֣וֹם מִלְחָמָ֑ה
וְ֝לַֽיהוָ֗ה הַתְּשׁוּעָֽה
31 ~ A horse prepared for the day of war,
and to Yahweh is salvation.
3e 4B 8
6