[b-hebrew] Proverbs 21:14 KPH

Trevor Peterson 06peterson at cua.edu
Fri Jul 23 05:44:32 EDT 2004


bend down, bend over, overturn, bring down

Karl Randolph wrote:

> Dave and Trevor:
> 
> If KPH had the original meaning of “to bend”, why not mean bending towards, hence resulting in or causing, or even tending towards? Yes, I know that the idea of perverting justice is a bit of an eisegesis, but I see it implied by the hiding of the bribe. The hiding implies that there is something shady about it, something that neither party wants to be known outside of the giver and the givee. Where one finds hidden bribes, there one usually finds perversion of justice, and anger, even strong fury.

As regards the meaning of "to bend," there is a strong negative thrust
to the way this word functions in other languages--not just a neutral
bending, but often a bending down, bending over, overturning, forcing,
etc. And even if we take a neutral idea, to "bend" anger would be to
divert it from some course. Now, logically that could mean to divert
anger that would have come but is now turned away. For your meaning, it
would have to be an idea something like, anger that would have been
directed elsewhere (but where?) is now diverted to the matter in
question. That seems to me like a less plausible understanding of the
metaphor. As for your reading of the passage, I still think you're
reading too much into what it says. It does not say that the bribe is
found out; if it isn't, anger will not necessarily come. On the other
hand, if a bribe or gift is given (in secret for the very reason that a
publicly given gift would not have the same effect), it often does cause
the offended party to abandon his anger and desire for revenge (as you
note, Prov 6:35).
> 
> The concept of hiding also implies a third party or parties who are part of the transaction, but who are not to be privy to the whole picture, in particular to the reason justice is twisted.
> 
> If the gift were to be a sort of MNXH “propitiatory gift” as implied by “bribe” in Proverbs 6:35, there’s no reason to hide it. That’s why I find the idea of bending away, hence deflection, of anger not making sense.

There's plenty of reason to hide it. If I go out in public and show
everyone your price--the amount for which you will abandon your
grievance against me--you are less likely to receive it. You might
appear mercenary, in that you are willing to abandon whatever cause you
had for a simple payment of money. Better that the matter go away
quietly, so we both save face.

Trevor Peterson
CUA/Semitics





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