Proverbs 19:27

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by ReformedBaptist, Mar 31, 2016.

  1. ReformedBaptist

    ReformedBaptist
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    This is a question, mainly, for those who have some training in Hebrew...at least enough to do translation work. I did not post this in the versions/translation forum because that's not my main question. I am seeking to find what translation best represents the Hebrew text. I am using the KJV and NKJV for comparison as they both are based on the same underlying Hebrew text. I will also share the Geneva 1599 text for added clarity.

    KJV
    "Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge."

    GNV
    "My son, hear no more the instruction, that causeth to err from the words of knowledge."

    NKJV
    "Cease listening to instruction, my son, And you will stray from the words of knowledge."

    The KJV and GNV teaches, basically, to stop listening to instruction that causes one to error. The NKJV teaches that if we cease listening to instruction, we will stray from the words of knowledge. Now, both in my judgement are true concepts, but that's not the point. They are different. So my desire to settle the matter would depend on the original language. If you have training in this area I would much appreciate any comment.

    I would be especially grateful if you know how to point to some tools online or otherwise so I can see how to get to the same place you did. I do have Zodhiates study tools.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Greektim

    Greektim
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    Forewarning: my Hebrew sucks. I go by greektim for a reason.

    Literally with no words added to smooth (this is K&D's translation too): "Cease, my son, to hear instruction, to depart from the words of knowledge."

    The NKJV is constructed as an assumed conditional statement (no "if" or "then" actually written likely because this is a Proverb).

    [If you] Cease listening to instruction, my son, [then] you will stray from the words of knowledge."

    Or backwards, "If you have strayed from the words of knowledge, then you have ceased listening to instruction, my son."

    What you have is 2 clauses (the 2nd is dependent) not attached by any conjunction "and" or particle "that causes" or "because". Gesenius writes, "The relation between condition and consequence may be expressed, as in English, by the simple juxtaposition of two clauses" (GHG, p. 493.)

    The KJV renders the imperative in keeping with many proverbs. But it has to supply the words "that causeth" to make sense of the infinitive "to err".

    However, if left to itself without supplying words, the NKJV rendering is just as valid and perhaps more likely. This type of conditional imperative with consequential infinitive construction is similar to 19:20.

    As I said, my Hebrew is not up to snuff. I could easily be wrong and dissuaded by a better argument.
     
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  3. Van

    Van
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    One of the places I use is the NET site. Here is how it handles the proverb and why!

    19:27 If you stop listening to88 instruction, my child,
    you will stray89 from the words of knowledge.


    88tn Heb “Stop listening…!” The infinitive construct לִשְׁמֹעַ (lishmoa’) functions as the direct object of the imperative: “stop heeding [or, listening to].” Of course in this proverb which shows the consequences of doing so, this is irony. The sage is instructing not to stop. The conditional protasis construction does not appear in the Hebrew but is supplied in the translation.

    89tn The second line has an infinitive construct לִשְׁגוֹת (lishgot), meaning “to stray; to go astray; to err.” It indicates the result of the instruction – stop listening, and as a result you will go astray. The LXX took it differently: “A son who ceases to attend to discipline is likely to stray from words of knowledge.” RSV sees the final clause as the purpose of the instructions to be avoided: “do not listen to instructions to err.”

    As you can see it (NET) handles it like the NKJV. NASB, LEB, WEB and ESV, Thus it appears the modern understanding of Hebrew differs from the time of the KJV and before.

    One other significant observation, the NASB translates "instruction" as "discipline." If you look at how this word is usually translated, discipline comes closer to the mark. The Blue Letter Bible allows you to look at the lexiconal meaning (Strongs and Thayers) muwcar H4148, plus all the places the word appears in scripture.

    In summary, compare using the NKJV and WEB for MT, and NASB, LEB and NET (including footnotes) for CT. Use the Blue Letter site to do word studies of the key words.
     
  4. Deacon

    Deacon
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    For the Hebrew scriptures we all generally drink from the same cup.
    Older translations may be inferior to newer ones in the way they communicate the passage to a modern audience.
    I use the Lexham English Bible for OT scriptures; its translation and formatting make it the most literal and transparent version available today.

    Notice that the whole section of 19:25 through 19:29, seem to echo a similar theme.

    Hebrew poetry and proverbs follow a general pattern where the second line repeats or enforces the first.

    Notice that verse 26 displays cause/effect
    Cause = He who does violence to a father, he who chases away a mother
    Effect = [is] a child who causes shame and brings reproach

    Verse 27 follows the same pattern
    Cause = Cease to listen to instruction, my child,
    Effect = [and] you will stray from sayings of knowledge.
    Rob
     
  5. Deacon

    Deacon
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    Caught my interest... it is a profoundly difficult passage.
    I looked through a few commentaries and this one summed it up nicely.

    26 Whoever mistreats father, drives mother away,
    a shameful and disgraceful son.​

    27 Cease, my son, to listen to instruction—*
    a wandering from words of knowledge!​

    *The translation is doubtful; it seems so contradictory to v 20. The LXX rendered it in a safe manner, avoiding the command in v 17a. Meinhold points out Rashi’s solution, which is reflected in the NJV and NRSV; the sense would be: cease straying and follow discipline—thus changing the sequence of lines. Perhaps one can interpret line a conditionally (so implicitly the NIV), “if you cease to listen,” and line b “(it is) to stray …” The translation above attempts to keep the irony, and interprets the infinitive in v 27b as a gerund construction (cf. GKC §1140) so that it continues the irony of v 27a. See the Comment on this verse.

    Murphy, R. E. (1998). Proverbs (Vol. 22, Word Biblical Commentary, pp. 140–141). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

    27 See Note 27.a. for the various translations and interpretations of this verse. If one accepts the translation above, the address is filled with bitter irony, as many commentators suggest. Plöger defends this by joining it with the disgraceful conduct of the son mentioned in the previous verse, so that in context it is a kind of threat. However, he changes the form of the verb in v 23b. The above translation attempts to convey the irony. The form of the verse is unusual. This is the only direct address to “my son” in this collection, and in its imperative form it directly contradicts v 20a. There is no certain translation of this verse.
    ibid (p. 146)

    Rob
     

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