[b-hebrew] Proverbs 1:6 & 3:13-18

Gerry Folbre gfolbreiii at gmail.com
Sun Oct 11 21:41:17 EDT 2009


According to the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) Numbers 12:6-8
describes the Hebrew Deity saying:

Nu. 12:6-8 “Hear my words: “When there are prophets among you, I the LORD
make myself known to them in visions; I speak to them in dreams. 7. Not so
with my servant Moses; he is entrusted with all my house.  8. With him I
speak face to face—clearly, not in riddles {חידת} ...”

The NRSV renders Psalm 49:3 & 4: “My mouth shall speak wisdom; the
meditation of my heart shall be understanding.  4. I will incline my ear to
a proverb {BHS 49:5 משׁל}; I will solve my riddle[s] {BHS 49:5 חידתי} to the
music of the harp.”

The NRSV renders Psalm 78:2 “I will open my mouth in a parable {משׁל}; I will
utter dark sayings [i.e. riddles] {חידות} of old.”

According to Nu. 12:6-8 “visions” and “dreams” are synonymous with “riddles”
and are opposite to “clearly” spoken words.

According to BHS Ps. 49:5 “riddles” and a “proverb” are intertwined.  The
same is true with Ps. 78:2, “a parable” [i.e. proverb] and “dark sayings”
[i.e. riddles] “of old” go together with one another.

I was hoping that Ps. 78 would reveal an example of an old parable and dark
saying, but (unless I missed something) I found none.

In Proverbs 3: 13-18 the author speaks of wisdom and understanding, and in
Pr. 3:18 he writes: “She [wisdom & understanding] is a tree of life to those
who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called happy” (NRSV).

Questions:  Why “she” {3rd person feminine)?  What is this “tree of life”?

To me Pr. 3:13-18 is a “proverb” with “metaphors” and “riddles” going
together with the “words of the wise”; referring back to Pr. 1:6.

Gerry Folbre

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