[b-hebrew] Prov. 14:9

Polycarp66 at aol.com Polycarp66 at aol.com
Thu Dec 18 23:02:35 EST 2003

In a message dated 12/18/2003 5:09:08 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
pbrown at GBS.EDU writes:

> My initials thoughts:
> Prov. 14:9 The use of AF$FM and RFCOWN in sacrificial contexts (cf. Lev.
> 1:3; 19:5), seems to suggest that the proverb means  Fools mock at
> restitution, but among the upright there is acceptance;
> Two questions:
> 1.  Is there any validity to the AVs translation of AF$FM as 'sin'?
> 2.  In what sense is there RFCOWN among the Y:$FRIYM?
> Perhaps:  (1) the upright enjoy Gods favor because they make restitution
> when they do wrong, or (2) the upright experience the acceptance of those to
> whom they make restitution and thus there is favor 'among' B"YN the upright.


):eWiLiM YfLiYC )f$fM W.B"YN Y:$fRiYM Rf$oWN

You've chosen a passage which has some obvious problems in that translations 
vary widely.

1. AV (KJV)

Fools make a mock at sin:  but among the righteous there is favour.

2. RSV

God scorns the wicked, but the upright enjoy his favor.


Reparations mediate between fools,
Between the upright, good will.

It almost appears that they're not even translating the same text -- and 
indeed, in some sense, they aren't.  Where does the RSV get "God scorns"?  
Apparently they emend ):eWiLiM to ):eLoHiYM.  This accounts for taking this as the 
subject -- YfLiYC is a 3 m.s.  The AV (KJV) has a plural subject for a singular 
verb (though this might be explained as a collective).  The TANAK, however, 
takes )f$fM as the subject and thus preserves the concord.

This brings us to your first question.  "Is there any validity to the AVs 
translation of AF$FM as 'sin'?"    

Yes.  See Gen 26.10 where Abimelech is depicted as saying that Isaac might 
have been instrumental in causing someone of the people to commit a 
transgression by having relations with his wife due to the claim that she was his sister.  
There the word is similarly )f$fM.  )f$fM could be either the guilt itself or 
the sacrifice or compensation for guilt. See BDB sv )f$fM.

Regarding your second question "In what sense is there RFCOWN among the 
Y:$FRIYM?", this could be somewhat speculative.  My crystal ball is in for repairs. 
 I happen to like the TANAK's treatment of the second stanza (see above).  In 
the first stanza, however, the TANAK preserves the concord but gives YfCiYC a 
somewhat unusual meaning of "mediate" rather than "scorn".  Obviously the 
TANAK takes B"YN to apply to the first stanza as well (not unusual due to the 


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