Proverbs 23:7

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Michael W Abernathy
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Proverbs 23:7

Postby Michael W Abernathy » Sat Aug 16, 2014 11:08 pm

I was intrigued by the different translations proposed for Proverb 23:7
כִּ֤י׀ כְּמֹו־שָׁעַ֥ר בְּנַפְשֹׁ֗ו כֶּ֫ן־ה֥וּא אֱכֹ֣ל וּ֭שְׁתֵה יֹ֣אמַר לָ֑ךְ וְ֝לִבֹּ֗ו בַּל־עִמָּֽךְ׃
I have some fondness for some of the older translations that render it something like, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” It sound profound but it doesn’t fit the context at all.
Many of the translations seem wildly different. Some of the differences are obviously due to different interpretations of an unpointed text such as the Septuagint reading
ὃν τρόπον γὰρ εἴ τις καταπίοι τρίχα, οὕτως ἐσθίει καὶ πίνει.
Like when someone swallows a hair, thus he eats and drinks
The translator obviously read שׁער as שֵׂעָר. It looks like he understood נֶפֶשׁ to mean throat and interpreted it as the reason he gags and vomits. I think his translation is internally consistent but it seems to me that it is a stretch. I believe the Peshitta has a similar rendering.
Leeser translated this
For as though there were a division in his soul, so doth he act: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.

He obviously took שָׁעַר to mean division. I’m not sure where he got the word “act.”

The New JPS translation fits the context and makes perfect sense.
He is like one keeping accounts; “Eat and drink,” he says to you, But he does not really mean it.
I’m a bit unsure of the translation suggested by a footnote in the NIV translation
For as he puts on a feast within himself, so he is.
I understand that this interpretation comes from an apparent correspondence with an Ugaritic word which can be translated “to arrange, or to serve food.” I don’t quite understand how this fits into the context but I found שָׁעַר defined as “distribute” in Marcus Jastrow’s dictionary of Targumim. Is there any reason to believe that this is a viable translation?
Sincerely,
Michael Abernathy

kwrandolph
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Re: Proverbs 23:7

Postby kwrandolph » Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:53 am

Michael:

This is what I like about this group—we can let down our hair, admit when we don’t understand something and ask questions like this, though too often even in this group we get no answers.

Michael W Abernathy wrote:I was intrigued by the different translations proposed for Proverb 23:7
כִּ֤י׀ כְּמֹו־שָׁעַ֥ר בְּנַפְשֹׁ֗ו כֶּ֫ן־ה֥וּא אֱכֹ֣ל וּ֭שְׁתֵה יֹ֣אמַר לָ֑ךְ וְ֝לִבֹּ֗ו בַּל־עִמָּֽךְ׃


Let’s get rid of those pesky points, because like the other readers, the Masoretes were puzzled just as we are, which gives us the reading:
כי כמו שער בנפשו כן-הוא אכול ושתה יאמר לך ולבו בל-עמך

Michael W Abernathy wrote:I have some fondness for some of the older translations that render it something like, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” It sound profound but it doesn’t fit the context at all.


That’s wise of you to consider the context, for the context is about eating that which is provided by those who are not necessarily one’s friends.

Michael W Abernathy wrote:Many of the translations seem wildly different. Some of the differences are obviously due to different interpretations of an unpointed text such as the Septuagint reading
ὃν τρόπον γὰρ εἴ τις καταπίοι τρίχα, οὕτως ἐσθίει καὶ πίνει.
Like when someone swallows a hair, thus he eats and drinks
The translator obviously read שׁער as שֵׂעָר. It looks like he understood נֶפֶשׁ to mean throat and interpreted it as the reason he gags and vomits. I think his translation is internally consistent but it seems to me that it is a stretch. I believe the Peshitta has a similar rendering.


It looks as if the translators of the LXX had a defective manuscript, for they didn’t include the whole verse.

Michael W Abernathy wrote:Leeser translated this
For as though there were a division in his soul, so doth he act: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.

He obviously took שָׁעַר to mean division. I’m not sure where he got the word “act.”


I have no idea who is Leeser, but like you I question his addition to the text.

Michael W Abernathy wrote:The New JPS translation fits the context and makes perfect sense.
He is like one keeping accounts; “Eat and drink,” he says to you, But he does not really mean it.


This is really free, I prefer to be more literal.

Michael W Abernathy wrote:I’m a bit unsure of the translation suggested by a footnote in the NIV translation
For as he puts on a feast within himself, so he is.


This one makes no sense to me.

Michael W Abernathy wrote:I understand that this interpretation comes from an apparent correspondence with an Ugaritic word which can be translated “to arrange, or to serve food.” I don’t quite understand how this fits into the context but I found שָׁעַר defined as “distribute” in Marcus Jastrow’s dictionary of Targumim. Is there any reason to believe that this is a viable translation?


I don’t think so, unless there’s an alternate reading provided by DSS or other Hebrew MSS.

Michael W Abernathy wrote:Sincerely,
Michael Abernathy


Assuming there are no alternative readings from the DSS or other MSS, let’s analyze the verse.
כי כמו שער בנפשו כן-הוא אכול ושתה יאמר לך ולבו בל-עמך
The context is eating and drinking food provided by those who don’t necessarily have one’s best interests at heart.

The second part of the verse makes easy sense, כן-הוא אכול ושתה יאמר לך ולבו בל-עמך “eat and drink he should say to you, but his heart is not with you.”

The first part is what gives us the problem, כי כמו שער בנפשו, in particular the word שער, is this a verb or a noun? If a verb, we get a meaning: “to roil i.e. be wind blown, as in roiling clouds from the violence of the storm in them ⇒ let one’s hair fly in the wind (as one rides quickly against the enemy), to tousle (roil) one’s hair from shaking one’s head or putting one’s hands though it Ez 27:35 ⇒ to be hairy”. Well, that can refer to the psychological storming in such a person’s heart.

Or we can take it as a noun, making the first clause a verbless one. Then we have a choice, does the noun mean “hair” or a “gate”? I think “hair” can be ruled out because it doesn’t make sense. But “gate”? That would give a reading of “As it were a very gate in his life, so ‘eat and drink’ he should say to you, but without his heart being with you.” That one makes sense to me, does it to you?

That’s my 2¢, does anyone have other ideas?

Karl W. Randolph.

S_Walch
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Re: Proverbs 23:7

Postby S_Walch » Sun Aug 17, 2014 1:52 pm

kwrandolph wrote:It looks as if the translators of the LXX had a defective manuscript, for they didn’t include the whole verse.

Hi Karl,

I think this may be more of Michael not including the whole LXX verse, rather than the LXX having a defective manuscript :)

LXX (7-8): ὃν τρόπον γὰρ εἴ τις καταπίοι τρίχα, οὕτως ἐσθίει καὶ πίνει. μηδὲ πρὸς σὲ εἰσαγάγῃς αὐτὸν * καὶ φάγῃς τὸν ψωμόν σου μετʼ αὐτοῦ· ἐξεμέσει γὰρ αὐτὸν καὶ λυμανεῖται τοὺς λόγους σου τοὺς καλούς.
for as when someone swallows a hair, so he eats and drinks. Do not bring him toward you or eat your morsel with him, for he will vomit it and waste your fine words.

* - This is where the Hebrew verse 8 starts.

From the looks of things, the LXX translator may've had a defective manuscript around יאמר לך ולבו, or his Hebrew version was different to that we've received from the Masorites.

Unfortunately, only selections from Proverbs 2, 13, 14 and 15 are extant among the DSS, so a comparison here isn't able to be done, annoyingly.

I have no idea who is Leeser, but like you I question his addition to the text.

I believe this is Isaac Leeser - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Leeser

The first part is what gives us the problem, כי כמו שער בנפשו, in particular the word שער, is this a verb or a noun? If a verb, we get a meaning: “to roil i.e. be wind blown, as in roiling clouds from the violence of the storm in them ⇒ let one’s hair fly in the wind (as one rides quickly against the enemy), to tousle (roil) one’s hair from shaking one’s head or putting one’s hands though it Ez 27:35 ⇒ to be hairy”. Well, that can refer to the psychological storming in such a person’s heart.

Or we can take it as a noun, making the first clause a verbless one. Then we have a choice, does the noun mean “hair” or a “gate”? I think “hair” can be ruled out because it doesn’t make sense. But “gate”? That would give a reading of “As it were a very gate in his life, so ‘eat and drink’ he should say to you, but without his heart being with you.” That one makes sense to me, does it to you?

That’s my 2¢, does anyone have other ideas?

Karl W. Randolph.

I would prefer the idea of taking שער as referring to a "tempest/storm" in the man's life, with the idea that his heart truly isn't "with you" as it's literally being "blown about".
Ste Walch

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SteveMiller
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Re: Proverbs 23:7

Postby SteveMiller » Sun Aug 17, 2014 7:13 pm

Karl & Michael,
There's no DSS for the verse.

I'd go with "For as he calculated in his soul, so he is." for the 1st 1/2.

I don't think "gate" makes sense here. Also, I think כֶּ֫ן should go with כְּמוֹ as in Isa 26:17.

A weakness for this translation is that שָׁעַ֥ר never has this meaning elsewhere, but I don't see another that makes sense.
As a noun, it has the meaning of "measure" in Gen 26:12.
Sincerely yours,
Steve Miller
Detroit
http://www.voiceInWilderness.info
Honesty is the best policy. - George Washington (1732-99)

Isaac Fried
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Re: Proverbs 23:7

Postby Isaac Fried » Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:26 pm

The JPS "keeping accounts" comes from the שער of Deut. 32:17
יזבחו לשדים לא אלה אלהים לא ידעום חדשים מקרב באו לא שערום אבתיכם
and the שער $A'AR, 'measure, portion' of Gen. 26:12
ויזרע יצחק בארץ ההיא וימצא בשנה ההיא מאה שערים

The JPS choice of words is also influenced by the post-biblical שיעור $IYUR 'measure, portion, quota, allotment', as in the famous Mishnaic statement
אלו דברים שאין להם שיעור הפאה והביכורים והראיון וגמילות חסדים ותלמוד תורה
and לשער L-$A'ER 'to evaluate, to estimate, to reason, to think', and השערה HA-$'ARAH 'hypothesis'.

Marcus Jastrow’s "distribute" (apportion?) comes from סער SA'AR, 'stir, disperse', as in Hoshea 13:3
כמוץ יסוער מגורן וכעשן מארובה
NIV: "like chaff swirling from a threshing floor, like smoke escaping through a window."

Isaac Fried, Boston University

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Re: Proverbs 23:7

Postby Isaac Fried » Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:45 pm

Concerning שער $A'AR, 'gate', I think it refers to the distinctly shaped gap in the wall, not the fitting hinged flap closing it.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

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Re: Proverbs 23:7

Postby Isaac Fried » Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:51 pm

It further seems to me that the שערום of Deut. 32:17 is תארום 'figured'.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

kwrandolph
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Re: Proverbs 23:7

Postby kwrandolph » Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:57 pm

SteveMiller wrote:Karl & Michael,
There's no DSS for the verse.


Thank you, that makes the discussion simpler.

SteveMiller wrote:I'd go with "For as he calculated in his soul, so he is." for the 1st 1/2.


My first reaction was, how did you get “calculated” here? Then I see you got it as a happax legomenon from a dictionary. From where did the dictionary get that meaning?

I tend to distrust happax meanings when there is another meaning used more than once and already recognized.

SteveMiller wrote:I don't think "gate" makes sense here.


And why not?

Look at the action. What is the purpose of a gate, in particular the city gate of a fortified city? So look at the actions of this not so friendly person—he offers food and drink, but his heart is not with you. Is that action not like a gate, shut to keep you out even as he offers food and drink? Isn’t that action repeated in the closing phrase of the verse “without his heart being with you”?

SteveMiller wrote:Also, I think כֶּ֫ן should go with כְּמוֹ as in Isa 26:17.


It does. In both verses כֶּ֫ן introduces the next clause.

SteveMiller wrote:A weakness for this translation is that שָׁעַ֥ר never has this meaning elsewhere, but I don't see another that makes sense.
As a noun, it has the meaning of "measure" in Gen 26:12.


How do you get that שער “never has this meaning elsewhere”? I estimate around 300 other verses.

Oh, the Masoretic points. The reason I ignore those Masoretic points is because they are wrong all to often, especially in verses like this.

Is there a DSS reading for Gen. 26:12? Does it differ? Are there not other verses where the measurement is assumed when talking about grains? I seem to remember that there are verses like that, but I don’t remember where. I read this verse as 100 measures of barley.

Now you’ve brought in more verses, and made this question more complex. Thank you. The more complex makes it more interesting. Do a good enough job and maybe I’ll change my mind (I’ve changed it in earlier discussions). But a convincing argument will have to be on the basis of the unpointed text, as I don’t trust the Masoretic points.

Karl W. Randolph.

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Re: Proverbs 23:7

Postby Isaac Fried » Mon Aug 18, 2014 5:06 pm

The gate opened and the hair passed through and the retching spoiled the feast.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

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Re: Proverbs 23:7

Postby SteveMiller » Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:27 pm

S_Walch wrote:I would prefer the idea of taking שער as referring to a "tempest/storm" in the man's life, with the idea that his heart truly isn't "with you" as it's literally being "blown about".


S_Walch,
I would prefer the idea of a storm too, but I can't make a sentence out of it that makes sense. Can you?

Also, forum rules require that you sign your posts with your first and last name at least. Put it into your signature, and it will happen automatically.
Sincerely yours,
Steve Miller
Detroit
http://www.voiceInWilderness.info
Honesty is the best policy. - George Washington (1732-99)


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