Proverbs 30:23
For an odious woman when she is married; and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(23) For an odious woman when she is married.—She pays off, with interest, the slights which she had formerly to endure from her married friends.

An handmaid that is heir to her mistress, and who is nervously anxious to preserve her newly-acquired dignity.

30:10 Slander not a servant to his master, accuse him not in small matters, to make mischief. 11-14. In every age there are monsters of ingratitude who ill-treat their parents. Many persuade themselves they are holy persons, whose hearts are full of sin, and who practise secret wickedness. There are others whose lofty pride is manifest. There have also been cruel monsters in every age. 15-17. Cruelty and covetousness are two daughters of the horseleech, that still cry, Give, give, and they are continually uneasy to themselves. Four things never are satisfied, to which these devourers are compared. Those are never rich that are always coveting. And many who have come to a bad end, have owned that their wicked courses began by despising their parents' authority. 18-20. Four things cannot be fully known. The kingdom of nature is full of marvels. The fourth is a mystery of iniquity; the cursed arts by which a vile seducer gains the affections of a female; and the arts which a vile woman uses to conceal her wickedness. 21-23 Four sorts of persons are very troublesome. Men of low origin and base spirit, who, getting authority, become tyrants. Foolish and violent men indulging in excesses. A woman of a contentious spirit and vicious habits. A servant who has obtained undue influence. Let those whom Providence has advanced from low beginnings, carefully watch against that sin which most easily besets them.Odious woman - One in whom there is nothing loveable. Marriage, which to most women is the state in which they find scope for their highest qualities, becomes to her only a sphere in which to make herself and others miserable. 23. heir … mistress—that is, takes her place as a wife (Ge 16:4). Odious; proud, and perverse, and full of hateful and offensive qualities.

When she is married; for then she displayeth and exerciseth all those ill humours, which before for her own ends she concealed; then she is puffed up, and imperious, and becomes intolerable to her own family, and to her relations and neighbours.

That is heir to her mistress; that possesseth her estate, either by the gift of her mistress, into whose favour she had insinuated herself by her cunning and officious carriage; or rather by the marriage of her master, which great and sudden change transports her beside herself, and makes her insufferably proud, and scornful, and injurious to all that converse with her. For an odious woman, when she is married,.... Odious for her person, her ugliness, and the deformity of her body; or rather for the ill qualities of her mind, which, while single, she endeavours to conceal, but, being married, hides them no longer; but becomes imperious, proud, scornful, and malicious, and behaves in an ill natured way to her husband and all about her, to such a degree, that there is no bearing the place where she is;

and an handmaid, that is heir to her mistress; that has got so much into her affections that she leaves all she has to her when she dies, which makes her insufferably proud and vain; or she marries her master after the death of her mistress, and so coming into her place enjoys all she had, but only her wisdom and humility; which being wanting, she behaves in such a manner as to make the whole family uneasy. This might be exemplified in the case of Hagar, the bondmaid of Sarah, a type of those that are under the law of works, and seek the inheritance by it; and who trust in themselves that they are righteous, and despise others, Genesis 16:4.

For an odious woman when she is married; and an handmaid that is {m} heir to her mistress.

(m) Who is married to her master after the death of her mistress.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
23. odious] Lit. hated, as in Deuteronomy 21:15; Isaiah 60:15. Her disposition is such as always to secure for her aversion and dislike.

when she is married] and so has both power and opportunity, which she lacked before, to display her true character, and cause misery. See Proverbs 21:9; Proverbs 21:19, Proverbs 27:15.Verse 23. - For an odious woman when she is married; or, under an unloved woman when she is married. The sentence does not refer to an unbeloved wife, a Leah, becoming the favourite, a Rachel; the expression, "when she is married," can hardly have this sense; but the gnome speaks of a woman who has passed much of her life without love, having nothing about her attractive either in looks, attainments, or manner, and is consequently soured and ill-tempered. If such a one does at last win a husband, she uses her new position to vex those who formerly depreciated her, and to make them as miserable as she cam And a handmaid that is heir to her mistress. The maidservant that obtains her mistress's property, either by supplanting her or by right of inheritance, is supposed to make a bad use of it, to become conceited, arrogant, and odious to all around her. The LXX. transposes the last two members of the comparison, placing the unloved woman in the fourth place as the most intolerable of all: "And if a maidservant should cast out (ἐκβάλη, Genesis 21:10) her own mistress, and a hateful woman should obtain a good husband." The proverb of the ‛Alûka is the first of the proverbs founded on the figure of an animal among the "words" of Agur. It is now followed by another of a similar character:

17 An eye that mocketh at his father,

     And despiseth obedience to his mother:

     The ravens of the brook shall pluck it out,

     And the young eagles shall eat it.

If "an eye," and not "eyes," are spoken of here, this is accounted for by the consideration that the duality of the organ falls back against the unity of the mental activity and mental expression which it serves (cf. Psychol. p. 234). As haughtiness reveals itself (Proverbs 30:13) in the action of the eyes, so is the eye also the mirror of humble subordination, and also of malicious scorn which refuses reverence and subjection to father and mother. As in German the verbs [verspotten, spotten, hhnen, hohnsprechen signifying to mock at or scorn may be used with the accus., genit., or dat., so also לעג [to deride] and בּוּז [to despise] may be connected at pleasure with either an accusative object or a dative object. Ben-Chajim, Athias, van der Hooght, and others write תּלעג; Jablonski, Michaelis, Lwenstein, תּלעג, Mhlau, with Norzi, accurately, תּלעג, with Munach, like תּבחר, Psalm 65:5; the writing of Ben-Asher

(Note: The Gaja has its reason in the Zinnor that follows, and the Munach in the syllable beginning with a moveable Sheva; תּלעג with Scheva quiesc. must, according to rule, receive Mercha, vid., Thorath Emeth, p. 26.)

is תּלעג, with Gaja, Chateph, and Munach. The punctuation of ליקהת is more fluctuating. The word לקהת (e.g., Cod. Jaman.) may remain out of view, for the Dag. dirimens in ק stands here as firmly as at Genesis 49:10, cf. Psalm 45:10. But it is a question whether one has to write ליקּהת with Yod quiesc. (regarding this form of writing, preferred by Ben-Naphtali, the Psalmen-Comm. under Psalm 45:10, in both Edd.; Luzzatto's Gramm. 193; Baer's Genesis, p. 84, note 2; and Heidenheim's Pentateuch, with the text-crit. Comm. of Jekuthil ha-Nakdans, under Genesis 47:17; Genesis 49:10), as it is found in Kimchi, Michlol 45a, and under יקה, and as also Norzi requires, or ליקּהת (as e.g., Cod. Erfurt 1), which appears to be the form adopted by Ben-Asher, for it is attested

(Note: Kimchi is here no authority, for he contradicts himself regarding such word-forms. Thus, regarding ויללת, Jeremiah 25:36, in Michlol 87b, and under ילל. The form also wavers between כּיתרון and כּיתרון, Ecclesiastes 2:13. The Cod. Jaman. has here the Jod always quiesc.)

as such by Jekuthil under Genesis 49:10, and also expressly as such by an old Masora-Cod. of the Erfurt Library. Lwenstein translates, "the weakness of the mother." Thus after Rashi, who refers the word to קהה, to draw together, and explains it, Genesis 49:10, "collection;" but in the passage before us, understands it of the wrinkles on the countenance of the aged mother. Nachmani (Ramban) goes still further, giving to the word, at Genesis 49:10, everywhere the meaning of weakness and frailty. Aben Ezra also, and Gersuni (Ralbag), do not go beyond the meaning of a drawing together; and the lxx, with the Aram., who all translate the word by senectus, have also קהה in the sense of to become dull, infirm (certainly not the Aethiopic leheḳa, to become old, weak through old age). But Kimchi, whom the Venet. and Luther

(Note: Jerome translates, et qui despicit partum matris suae. To partus there separates itself to him here the signification expectatio, Genesis 49:10, resting on a false combination with קוה. To think of pareo, parui, paritum (Mhlau), was not yet granted to him.)

follow, is informed by Abulwald, skilled in the Arab., of a better: יקהה (or יקּהה, cf. נצּרה, Psalm 141:3) is the Arab. wakhat, obedience (vid., above יקה under 1a). If now it is said of such a haughty, insolent eye, that the ravens of the brook (cf. 1 Kings 17:4) will pluck it out, and the בני־נשׁר eat it, they, the eagle's children, the unchildlike human eye: it is only the description of the fate that is before such an one, to die a violent death, and to become a prey to the fowls of heaven (cf. e.g., Jeremiah 16:3., and Passow's Lex. under κόραξ); and if this threatening is not always thus literally fulfilled, yet one has not on that account to render the future optatively, with Hitzig; this is a false conclusion, from a too literal interpretation, for the threatening is only to be understood after its spirit, viz., that a fearful and a dishonourable end will come to such an one. Instead of יקּרוּה, as Mhlau reads from the Leipzig Cod., יקרוה, with Mercha (Athias and Nissel have it with Tarcha), is to be read, for a word between Olewejored and Athnach must always contain a conjunctive accent (Thorath Emeth, p. 51; Accentuationssystem, xviii. 9). ערבי־נחל is also irregular, and instead of it ערבי־נחל is to be written, for the reason given above under Proverbs 30:16 (מים).

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