Friday, December 11, 2015

NET Bible Note on Proverbs 2:22

Heb “the guilty.” The term רְשָׁעִים (rÿsha’im, “the wicked”) is from the root רָשַׁע (rasha’, “to be guilty”) and refers to those who are (1) guilty of sin: moral reprobates or (2) guilty of crime: criminals deserving punishment (BDB 957 s.v. רָשָׁע). This is the person who is probably not a covenant member and manifests that in the way he lives, either by sinning against God or committing criminal acts. The noun sometimes refers to guilty criminals who deserve to die (Num 16:26; 35:31; 2 Sam 4:11). Here they will be “cut off” and “torn away” from the land.


Duncan said...

From Jeff again,

Better is a little that the righteous hath Than the abundance of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken; But Jehovah upholdeth the righteous. Psalm 37:16,17 (ASV)

These two words, righteous and wicked, are paralleled together as antonyms many times throughout the Biblical text. What is a righteous or wicked person? These two words are abstract in meaning and therefore we will need to find their original concrete meanings in order to uncover their true meaning in Hebraic thought. The Hebrew word רשע rasha [H:7563] is the word translated as "wicked" in the above verse. It comes from the verbal root רשע rasha [H:7561], which concretely means "to walk away from the path" and can be found in the following passage.

For I have guarded the path of Yahweh and I have not walked away (rasha) from my God. 2 Samuel 22:22

I recall a backpacking trip where I was following a trail many miles in the backcountry. While paying more attention to the scenery than the trail itself, I found myself lost from the trail. While this is a somewhat common occurrence among hikers and backpackers, there are occasions when people have lost their lives after becoming lost. The word "wicked" is a poor translation of rasha as the Hebraic meaning is simply someone who has walked away from the path. There are two ways to leave a trail—by accident, which we may call an error, or on purpose, which we may call defiance. Both of these are rasha and have the same result.

So as I have already said - it,s the intent that has to be deduced.

Duncan said...

Proverbs 4:26,27. Turning to any other path in any direction is disfunctional.

Duncan said...

Genesis 6:5 machshevot. Intent.

Edgar Foster said...

Duncan, I'm not trying to denigrate Jeff, but the method used here has been challenged. Why should we assume that Hebrew or Hebraic thought is inherently concrete? All humans (generally speaking) have the potential to think abstractly and use abstract terms when communicating. Hebrew is no different.

As for 2 Sam 22:22, NWT 2013 has "For I have kept the ways of Jehovah, And I have not wickedly abandoned my God."

"For I have kept the ways of the LORD and have not wickedly departed from my God" (ESV).

"Because, I kept the ways of the Lord, and did not wickedly depart from my God" (Septuagint)

There's probably a scholar or exegete somewhere, who doesn't like "wicked" for rasha, but I've found numerous sources that favor this rendering--both Jewish and non-Jewish works.

Edgar Foster said...

It is late here now, but I will just repeat that wicked does not always connote intent. Immoral or depraved actions may be wicked, regardless of intent.

Do you mean any other path but God's path?

Edgar Foster said...

Dysfunction and wickedness may be related, but are not the same thing.

Duncan said...

There is a problem with the septaguint translation - Because, I kept the ways of the Lord, and did not wickedly depart from my God" (Septuagint)

ότι G3754 For εφύλαξα G5442 I guarded οδούς G3598 the ways κυρίου G2962 of the LORD, και G2532 and ουκ G3756 was not ησέβησα G764 impious από G575 before του G3588 θεού μου G2316 G1473

It seems that the MT & Lxx are being merged when they really should not. There is no depart in the lxx and no wicked in the Mt.

Sorry I thought you already realised my intent the one narrow path is that given by Jehovah, all others - proverbs 4:12.

Duncan said...

As far as abstraction and the concrete it is largely environmental in that civis and the merging of languages and cultures tends to lead to abstraction. There were many examples of what were concrete languages that are rapidly disappearing due to globalisation of western culture.

Edgar Foster said...

The "do wickedly" from the Hebrew is 7561 in the Hebrew text. Here are Lange's comments on 2 Sam 22:22:

2 Samuel 22:22. He proved his righteousness by the affirmation: I have kept the ways of the Lord. “Have observed, held to,” so Job 22:15. “The ways of the Lord” are the rules of human conduct given in His law, which David’s enemies had wickedly transgressed.—And have not wickedly departed from my God, as he has kept God’s ways, so he has not sinned himself away from God Himself. The phrase is literally: “to be wicked from God,” that is, to fall away from God by wickedness. Not (as Grotius): “to be wicked against (מִן) God,” nor is it a designation of judgment or decision proceeding from God, as if the sense were: “I have not sinned according to God’s decision, according to His judgment I am guiltless” (Hupf.); comp. Job 4:17; Jer. 51:5. Against this is both the “keeping the Lord’s ways” in the first member, to which corresponds “not departing from” the Lord, and the following reference [2 Samuel 22:23] to his abiding in God’s statutes and judgments.

The underlying Hebrew likely explains the LXX treatment of the verse.

I thought you were referring to the path of righteousness or the divine path, but just wanted to make sure we're on the same page.

We're also talked about how that Barr seems to have seriously challenged the notion that Hebrew is concrete and Greek is abstract. Not going to rehearse that discussion again; however, Hebrew seems to facilitate abstraction just fine.

Edgar Foster said...

2 Sam 22:22 in NET Bible: "For I have obeyed the Lord's commands; I have not rebelled against my God."

Note number 59: tn Heb "I have not acted wickedly from my God." The statement is elliptical, the idea being, 'I have not acted wickedly and, in so doing, departed from my God.'"

NETS Septuagint Translation: "For I kept ways of the Lord and did not impiously depart from my God."

Edgar Foster said...

The departing in Hebrew and GGreek is apparently elliptical.

Duncan said...

These are not satisfactory arguments.

These language types do have a limited amount of abstraction but unless you have been educated from birth within a particular framework grasping an equivalent understanding is near impossible. Hebrew scholars for the most part live within a Hebrew that is just as abstract as English. IMHO abstraction is of no real benefit and its results on this planet have been far in the majority, detrimental.

You can argue that wicked does not have to imply intent but most of those in the English speaking world in vernacular would apply intent to it. Your latest quotes are claiming intent from the surrounding text and I see nothing wrong with that.

The information regarding Jeremiah 51:5 only serves to reinforce the point of staying on the way/ implied path or leaving it.

Duncan said...

The evidence against the ideas of Chomsky is fading but does not mean it was never there. As per the current situation with the pitahaya.

We are poles apart on this and to repeat the same argument is pointless so I endever to find new directions.

As for my claimed about abstraction see the working data - the end results.

Edgar Foster said...


I respect your hypotheses or control beliefs, but I guess our presuppositions are quite different. I'm not enslaved to biblical or lexical scholars, but I trust them more than non-scholars when it comes to word meanings or grammar. Secondly, my work revolves around abstract thinking. I see great value in it.

My view of wicked and intent is determined by English dictionaries, and what pasha originally meant. I see no need to read intent into all uses of the adjective "wicked."

I'm also trying to show that pasha has a moral aspect, and involves a categorization of some value.

I'm not sure why you mention Chomsky since my criticism was directed elsewhere.

Edgar Foster said...

Should be rasha, not pasha

Duncan said...

Big questions are important and I do not intend to belittle your endevours. We have to ask them but the thrust of my point is covered here.

Abstraction is not only learned but is inherent to a language using terms like glory as opposed to weight of authority.

This discusses some of the points I have been trying to covey regarding other languages, requiring many of our abstracts to be converted into something concrete to be understood.

Duncan said...

PG 562 final paragraph.

2 Kings 2:19 is a case in point:-

LXX And [said the men of the city] to Elisha,Behold now, the site of the city is good, as you, O master, see; but the waters are bad,G4190 and the ground being barren.G815.1

Are the waters bad (contaminated) or are they non existent due to leaving there path?

Why is nothing springing forth from the ground?

Cultural biases in translation:-

(BBE) Now the men of the town said to Elisha, You see that the position of this town is good; but the water is bad, causing the young of the cattle to come to birth dead.


(ISV) The men who lived in the city addressed Elisha. "Look now," they said, "our city's location is good, as you have been observing, but the water springs here are bad and the land isn't sustaining crops."

Duncan said...

"meaning dubious" ?

Edgar Foster said...

That's quite possible. I also found

We also use the words "bad" and "good" in equivocal ways, wherein context becomes increasingly essential for determining what each adjective means.A good meal is related, but not exactly the same, as a good person. Aristotle calls such use of language, hen equivocity.

Duncan said...


I have come across a more current work that may be relevant to this discussion:-