Proverbs 31:1
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him:

King James Bible
The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.

American Standard Version
The words of king Lemuel; the oracle which his mother taught him.

Douay-Rheims Bible
The words of king Lamuel. The vision wherewith his mother instructed him.

English Revised Version
The words of king Lemuel; the oracle which his mother taught him.

Webster's Bible Translation
The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.

Proverbs 31:1 Parallel
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

In this verse the expression wavers in a way that is with difficulty determinable between שׂממית and שׁממית. The Edd. of Opitz Jablonski and Van der Hooght have 'שׂם, but the most, from the Venetian 1521 to Nissel, have 'שׁם (vid., Mhlau, p. 69). The Codd. also differ as to the reading of the word; thus the Codd. Erfurt 2 and 3 have 'שׂם, but Cod. 1294 has 'שׁם. Isaak Tschelebi and Moses Algazi, in their writings regarding words with שׁ and שׂ (Constant. 1723 and 1799), prefer 'שׂם, and so also do Mordecai Nathan in his Concordance (1563-4), David de Pomis (1587), and Norzi. An important evidence is the writing סממית, Schabbath 77b, but it is as little decisive as סריון [coat of mail], used by Jeremiah 44:4, is decisive against the older expression שׁריון. But what kind of a beast is meant here is a question. The swallow is at once to be set aside, as the Venet. translates (χελιδών) after Kimchi, who explains after Abulwald, but not without including himself, that the Heb. word for (Arab.) khuttaf (which is still the name given to the swallow from its quickness of motion), according to Haja's testimony, is much rather סנוּנית, a name for the swallow; which also the Arab. (Freytag, ii. p. 368) and the modern Syriac confirm; besides, in old Heb. it has the name of סוּס or סיס (from Arab. shash, to fly confusedly hither and thither). In like manner the ape (Aben Ezra, Meri, Immanuel) is to be set aside, for this is called קוף (Indian kapi, kap, kamp, to move inconstantly and quickly up and down),

(Note: Vid., A Weber's Indische Studien, i. pp. 217, 343.)

and appears here admissible only on the ground that from בידים תתפשׂ they read that the beast had a resemblance to man. There remains now only the lizard (lxx, Jerome) and the spider (Luther) to be considered. The Talmud, Schabbath 77b, reckons five instances in which fear of the weaker pursues the stronger: one of these instances is אימת סנוניתעל הנשׁר, another אימת סממית על העקרב. The swallow, thus Rashi explains, creeps under the wings of the eagle and hinders it from spreading them out in its flight; and the spider (araigne) creeps into the ear of the scorpion; or also: a bruised spider applied heals the scorpion's sting. A second time the word occurs, Sanhedrin 103b, where it is said of King Amon that he burnt the Tôra, and that over the altar came a שממית (here with ש), which Rashi explains of the spider (a spider's web). But Aruch testifies that in these two places of the Talmud the explanation is divided between ragnatelo (spider) and (Ital.) lucrta (lizard). For the latter, he refers to Leviticus 11:30, where לטאה (also explained by Rashi by lzard) in the Jerus. Targ. is rendered

(Note: The Samaritan has, Leviticus 11:30, שממית for אנקה, and the Syr. translates the latter word by אמקתא, which is used in the passage before us (cf. Geiger's Urschrift, p. 68f.) for שממית; omakto (Targ. akmetha) appears there to mean, not a spider, but a lizard.)

by שממיתא (the writing here also varies between שׁ and שׂ or ס). Accordingly, and after the lxx and Jerome, it may be regarded as a confirmed tradition that שממית means not the spider, for which the name עכּבישׁ is coined, but the lizard, and particularly the stellion (spotted lizard). Thus the later language used it as a word still living (plur. סממיּות, Sifre, under Deuteronomy 33:19). The Arab. also confirms this name as applicable to the lizard.

(Note: Perhaps also the modern Greek, σαμιάμινθος (σαμιάμιδος, σαμιαμίδιον), which Grotius compares.)

"To this day in Syria and in the Desert it is called samawiyyat, probably not from poison, but from samawah equals שׁממה, the wilderness, because the beast is found only in the stony heaps of the Kharab" (Mhlau after Wetzstein). If this derivation is correct, then שׁממית is to be regarded as an original Heb. expression; but the lizard's name, samm, which, without doubt, designates the animal as poisonous (cf. סם, samam, samm, vapour, poisonous breath, poison), favours Schultens' view: שממית equals (Arab.) samamyyat, afflatu interficiens, or generally venenosa. In the expression בּידים תּתפּשׂ, Schultens, Gesenius, Ewald, Hitzig, Geier, and others, understand ידים of the two fore-feet of the lizard: "the lizard feels (or: seizes) with its two hands;" but granting that ידים is used of the fifteen feet of the stellio, or of the climbing feet of any other animal (lxx καλαβώτης equals ἀσκαλαβώτης), yet it is opposed by this explanation, that in line first of this fourth distich an expression regarding the smallness of the weakness of the beast is to be expected, as at 25a, 26a, and 27a. And since, besides, תפשׂ with ביד or בכף always means "to catch" or "seize" (Ezekiel 21:16; Ezekiel 29:7; Jeremiah 38:23), so the sense according to that explanation is: the lizard thou canst catch with the hand, and yet it is in kings' palaces, i.e., it is a little beast, which one can grasp with his hand, and yet it knows how to gain an entrance into palaces, by which in its nimbleness and cunning this is to be thought of, that it can scale the walls even to the summit (Aristoph. Nubes 170). To read תּתּפשׂ with Mhlau, after Bttcher, recommends itself by this, that in תּהפּשׂ one misses the suff. pointing back (תּתפּשׂנּה); also why the intensive of תפשׂ is used, is not rightly comprehended. Besides, the address makes the expression more animated; cf. Isaiah 7:25, תבוא. In the lxx as it lies before us, the two explanations spoken of are mingled together: καὶ καλαβώτης ( equals ἀσκαλαβώτης) χερσὶν ἐπειδόμενος καὶ εὐάλωτος ὢν... This εὐάλωτος ὢν (Symmachus, χερσὶν ἐλλαμβανόμενος) hits the sense of 28a. In היכלי מלך, מלך is not the genit. of possession, as at Psalm 45:9, but of description (Hitzig), as at Amos 7:13.

Proverbs 31:1 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


Proverbs 30:1 The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy: the man spoke to Ithiel, even to Ithiel and Ucal,


Proverbs 1:8 My son, hear the instruction of your father, and forsake not the law of your mother:

Proverbs 6:20 My son, keep your father's commandment, and forsake not the law of your mother:

2 Timothy 1:5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in you, which dwelled first in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice...

2 Timothy 3:15 And that from a child you have known the holy scriptures...

Cross References
Proverbs 30:33
For pressing milk produces curds, pressing the nose produces blood, and pressing anger produces strife.

Proverbs 31:2
What are you doing, my son? What are you doing, son of my womb? What are you doing, son of my vows?

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