[b-hebrew] Proverbs 17:8

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Mon May 17 16:59:17 EDT 2004

How do you know that the Englich "charm" here means "magic stone"? As for
the Hebrew, there is no reason at all for even xen to mean anything more
than just "a precious stone".

----- Original Message -----
From: "Reinier de Blois" <rdeblois at www.biblesocieties.org>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Monday, May 17, 2004 9:05 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Proverbs 17:8

> Many English translations render )EBEN-XEN as "charm" in the sense of a
> stone. I wonder why. It is true that XEN can mean "beauty, elegance" and
> therefore translating it with "precious stone" is acceptable. But "charm"
> the sense of a magical object suddenly jumps into a totally different
> semantic domain. This is possible in English where "charm" has both
> But is it possible in biblical Hebrew? I wonder about that.
> Reinier de Blois
> >The question here centres on the word that is translated as 'gift' and
> >'bribe'; and also on the 'object' of the proverb either as 'the person'
> >who is the recipient of the 'gift/bribe' or the 'it' ie the gift/bribe
> >itself.
> >
> >Personally speaking I favour 'gift' even though this word is often
> >translated as bribe elswhere, this is very much linked to the somewhat
> >esthetical sense of the word 'stone of grace' and its position in the
> >sentence?. Anyway please elucidate me with your grammatical intuitions.
> >I learn good things from these heated debates.
> HH: "Stone of grace" probably implies a jewel (NASB: "precious
> stone") or charm (NRSV: "magic stone"). The verses on either side of
> Prov 17:8, which may not be related to it, concern evil. The Hebrew
> word here, $+D ("gift/bribe"). almost always refers to something
> evil. There's not a completely unambiguous example of a positive
> meaning for the word in the OT, it seems to me. Also, the verse
> suggests a somewhat negative meaning for $+D because it apparently
> aims to bring success to the one who possesses it. A true gift is
> given for the joy that it will bring to the recipient, not for the
> success it will bring to the giver. So I would lean towards the bribe
> interpretation.
> Yours,
> Harold Holmyard
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