The words of a tale-bearer are as self-inflicted wounds, And they have gone down to the inner parts of the heart.
Proverbs 18:8 Additional TranslationsKeil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament
A pair of proverbs regarding the flatterer and the slothful:
8 The words of the flatter are as dainty morsels,
And they glide down into the innermost parts.
An "analogy, with an epexegesis in the second member" (Fl.), which is repeated in Proverbs 26:22. Ewald, Bertheau, Hitzig, and others, are constrained to interpret המו as introducing a contrast, and in this sense they give to מתלהמים all kinds of unwarrantable meanings. Ewald translates: a burning (להם, cogn. להב), and offers next: as whispering (להם, cogn. רעם, נהם); Ch. B. Michaelis, Bertheau, and others: as sporting (להם, cogn. להה); Hitzig: like soft airs (להם, cogn. Arab. hillam, flaccus, laxus). All these interpretations are without support. The word להם has none of all these significations; it means, as the Arab. lahima warrants, deglutire. But Bttcher's explanation also: "as swallowed down, because spoken with reserve," proceeds, like those others, from the supposed syntactically fine yet false supposition, that 8b is an antithetic "dennoch" [tamen]. In that case the poet would have written והם ירדים (cf. והוא, as the beginning of a conditional clause, Proverbs 3:29; Proverbs 23:3). But והוא, והם, with the finite following, introduces neither here nor at Deuteronomy 33:3; Judges 20:34; Psalm 95:10, cf. Genesis 43:23, a conditional clause. Thus 8b continues the clause 8a by one standing on the same line; and thus we do not need to invent a meaning for כמתלהמים, which forms a contrast to the penetrating into the innermost parts. The relation of the parts of the proverb is rightly given by Luther:
The words of the slanderer are stripes,
And they go through the heart of one.
He interprets להם as transposed from הלם (Rashi and others); but stripes cannot be called מתלהמים - they are called, 6b, מהלמות. This interpretation of the word has always more support than that of Symmachus: ὡς ἀκέραιοι; Jerome: quasi simplicia; Aquila, xxvi. 22: γοητικοί; which last, as also that of Capellus, Clericus, and Schultens: quasi numine quodam afflata, seems to support itself on the Arab. âhm iv. inspirare. But in reality âhm does not mean afflare; it means deglutire, and nothing else. The Jewish lexicographers offer nothing worth considering; Kimchi's חלקים, according to which the Venet. translates μαλθακιζόμενοι, is fanciful; for the Talm. הלם, striking equals hitting, suitable, standing well, furnishes no transition to "smooth" and "soft." Immanuel compares âhm equals בלע; and Schultens, who is followed by Gesenius and others, has already, with perfect correctness, explained: tanquam quae avidissime inglutiantur. Thus also Fleischer: things which offer themselves to be eagerly gulped down, or which let themselves be thus swallowed. But in this way can one be truly just to the Hithpa.? The Arab. âlthm (stronger form, âltkm, according to which van Dyk translates mthl uḳam ḥlwt, like sweet morsels) means to swallow into oneself, which is not here appropriate. The Hithpa. will thus have here a passive signification: things which are greedily swallowed. Regarding נרגּן from רגן, vid., at Proverbs 16:28. המו refers to the words of the flatterer, and is emphatic, equivalent to aeque illa, etiam illa, or illa ipsa. ירד is here connected with the obj. accus. (cf. Proverbs 1:12) instead of with אל, Proverbs 7:27. חדרי, penetralia, we had already at Proverbs 7:27; the root-word is (Arab.) khdr, to seclude, to conceal, different from ḥdr, demittere, and ḥkhr (cogn. חזר), to finish, circumire. בּטן is the inner part of the body with reference to the organs lying there, which mediate not only the life of the body, but also that of the mind - in general, the internal part of the personality. The lxx does not translate this proverb, but has in its stead Proverbs 19:15, in a different version, however, from that it gives there; the Syr. and the Targ. have thereby been drawn away from the Hebr. text.
Proverbs 18:8 Parallel CommentariesBelly Body Choice Dainty Delicious Evil Food Gossip Heart Inmost Inner Innermost Morsels Neighbour Parts Person's Self-Inflicted Sweet Talebearer Tale-Bearer Whisperer Words WoundsBelly Body Choice Dainty Delicious Evil Food Gossip Heart Inmost Inner Innermost Morsels Neighbour Parts Person's Self-Inflicted Sweet Talebearer Tale-Bearer Whisperer Words WoundsThe ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®) copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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