Of man are arrangements of the heart, And from Jehovah an answer of the tongue.
Proverbs 16:1 Additional TranslationsClarke's Commentary on the Bible
The preparations of the heart in man - The Hebrew is לאדם מערכי לב leadam maarchey leb, which is, literally, "To man are the dispositions of the heart; but from the Lord is the answer of the tongue." Man proposes his wishes; but God answers as he thinks proper. The former is the free offspring of the heart of man; the latter, the free volition of God. Man may think as he pleases, and ask as he lists; but God will give, or not give, as he thinks proper. This I believe to be the meaning of this shamefully tortured passage, so often vexed by critics, their doubts, and indecisions. God help them! for they seldom have the faculty of making any subject plainer! The text does not say that the "preparations," rather dispositions or arrangements, מערכי maarchey "of the heart," as well as "the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord;" though it is generally understood so; but it states that the dispositions or schemes of the heart (are) man's; but the answer of the tongue (is) the Lord's. And so the principal versions have understood it.
Hominis est animam preparare; et Domini gubernare linguam - Vulgate. "It is the part of man to prepare his soul: it is the prerogative of the Lord to govern the tongue."
מן בר נש תרעיתא דלבא ומן יי ממללא דלישנא min bar nash taritha delibba; umin yeya mamlala delishana - Chaldee. "From the son of man is the counsel of the heart; and from the Lord is the word of the tongue."
The Syriac is the same. καρδια ανδρος λογζεσθω δικαια, Ἱνα ὑπο του θεου διορθωθῃ τα διαβηματα αυτῃ - Septuagint. "The heart of man deviseth righteous things, that its goings may be directed by God."
The Arabic takes great latitude: "All the works of an humble man are clean before the Lord; and the wicked shall perish in an evil day." Of a man fit to maken redy the inwitt: and of the Lorde to governe the tunge. - Old MS. Bible.
"A man maye well purpose a thinge in his harte: but the answere of the tonge cometh of the Lorde. - Coverdale.
Matthew's Bible, 1549, and Becke's Bible of the same date, and Cardmarden's of 1566, follow Coverdale. The Bible printed by R. Barker, at Cambridge, 4th., 1615, commonly called the Breeches Bible, reads the text thus: - "The preparations of the hart are in man; but the answere of the tongue is of the Lord." So that it appears that our first, and all our ancient versions, understood the text in the same way; and this, independently of critical torture, is the genuine meaning of the Hebrew text. That very valuable version published in Italian, at Geneva, fol. 1562, translates thus: Le dispositioni del cuore sono de l'huomo, ma la risposta del la lingua e dal Signore. "The dispositions of the heart are of man; but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord."
The modern European versions, as far as I have seen, are the same. And when the word dispositions, arrangements, schemes, is understood to be the proper meaning of the Hebrew term, as shown above, the sense is perfectly sound; for there may be a thousand schemes and arrangements made in the heart of man which he may earnestly wish God to bring to full effect, that are neither for his good nor God's glory; and therefore it is his interest that God has the answer in his own power. At the same time, there is no intimation here that man can prepare his own heart to wait upon, or pray unto the Lord; or that from the human heart any thing good can come, without Divine influence; but simply that he may have many schemes and projects which he may beg God to accomplish, that are not of God, but from himself. Hence our own proverb: "Man proposes, but God disposes." I have entered the more particularly into the consideration of this text, because some are very strenuous in the support of our vicious reading, from a supposition that the other defends the heterodox opinion of man's sufficiency to think any thing as of himself. But while they deserve due credit for their orthodox caution, they will see that no such imputation can fairly lie against the plain grammatical translation of the Hebrew text.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
Exodus 4:11,12,15 And the LORD said to him, Who has made man's mouth? or who makes the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD...
Jeremiah 1:7-9 But the LORD said to me, Say not, I am a child: for you shall go to all that I shall send you...
Matthew 10:19,20 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what you shall speak...
Luke 12:11,12 And when they bring you to the synagogues, and to magistrates, and powers, take you no thought how or what thing you shall answer...
Luke 21:14,15 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what you shall answer...
Proverbs 16:1 Parallel CommentariesArrangements Belong Designs Heart Mind Plans Preparations Purposes TongueArrangements Belong Designs Heart Mind Plans Preparations Purposes TongueTHE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica®.
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