Sunday, March 12, 2017

Proverbs 5

I always remember my affection for the first 8 chapters of Proverbs, but I did not understand them. Addressed to the son in traditional translations, and no doubt they were addressed to sons, yet they apply to all. I mentioned the image marriage yesterday, on my way to the Marriage of Figaro. (It was an outstanding student production.)  And we would miss the point of these chapters entirely if we did not remember the personifying of Wisdom as feminine and our role, whether male or female, for everyone is here as the first born son.

Listen, Bob, It's image, figurative, not literal. (But incarnate in us who read.) It is Literature, imaginative, and true. I must get over my inability to hear it as literature. I put myself, male or female, or any person (and here I use it personally) in the role of the one under instruction.

It is always a pleasure to come back to the three books of poetry. The prophets for all their parallelisms only rarely achieve the terseness of Hebrew poetry.

I find myself reeling with a new appreciation of this chapter. Reel is Psalm 7, a fast paced ambiguous dialogue. Those first psalms 3 to 7 show the same traps as are summarized here. Psalm 8, a pillar, then appears and give us pause for the responsibility we are tasked with. Psalms 9-10 celebrate it (somewhat unwillingly).

Note the link in verse 1 below to the previous chapter (opening note not 'e'). There is a stranger who would take Wisdom's place, and she is feminine also.

Believe me, I know something of disquiet, for I was not able to hold onto Wisdom always. It's rather stunning, actually, how accurate this poem is.

Proverbs 5 Fn Min Max Syll
בְּ֭נִי לְחָכְמָתִ֣י הַקְשִׁ֑יבָה
לִ֝תְבוּנָתִ֗י הַט־אָזְנֶֽךָ
1 g My child, to my wisdom, attend,
to my discernment, bend your ear,
3e 4B 9
לִשְׁמֹ֥ר מְזִמּ֑וֹת
וְ֝דַ֗עַת שְׂפָתֶ֥יךָ יִנְצֹֽרוּ
2 to watch intentions,
and the knowledge of your lips, preserve.
3e 4A 5
כִּ֤י נֹ֣פֶת תִּ֭טֹּפְנָה שִׂפְתֵ֣י זָרָ֑ה
וְחָלָ֖ק מִשֶּׁ֣מֶן חִכָּֽהּ
3 C For the lips of a stranger drop honeycomb,
and smoother than oil is her palate.
3e 4C 10
וְֽ֭אַחֲרִיתָהּ מָרָ֣ה כַֽלַּעֲנָ֑ה
חַ֝דָּ֗ה כְּחֶ֣רֶב פִּיּֽוֹת
4 But her aftermath is bitter as wormwood,
keen as a multi-edged sword.
3e 4B 11
רַ֭גְלֶיהָ יֹרְד֣וֹת מָ֑וֶת
שְׁ֝א֗וֹל צְעָדֶ֥יהָ יִתְמֹֽכוּ
5 g Her feet descend to death.
Sheol, her paces maintain.
3e 4B 7
אֹ֣רַח חַ֭יִּים פֶּן־תְּפַלֵּ֑ס
נָע֥וּ מַ֝עְגְּלֹתֶ֗יהָ לֹ֣א תֵדָֽע פ
6 B Lest you should level a path of life,
wavering to and fro are her tracks. You do not know.
3e 4B 8
וְעַתָּ֣ה בָ֭נִים שִׁמְעוּ־לִ֑י
וְאַל־תָּ֝ס֗וּרוּ מֵאִמְרֵי־פִֽי
7 So now children, hear of what is mine,
and do not turn aside from the promises of my mouth.
3e 4B 8
הַרְחֵ֣ק מֵעָלֶ֣יהָ דַרְכֶּ֑ךָ
וְאַל־תִּ֝קְרַ֗ב אֶל־פֶּ֥תַח בֵּיתָֽהּ
8 Put at a distance from her, your way,
and do not approach to the door of her house.
3e 4B 9
פֶּן־תִּתֵּ֣ן לַאֲחֵרִ֣ים הוֹדֶ֑ךָ
וּ֝שְׁנֹתֶ֗יךָ לְאַכְזָרִֽי
9 Lest you give to others your splendour,
and your years to the vicious.
3e 4B 10
פֶּֽן־יִשְׂבְּע֣וּ זָרִ֣ים כֹּחֶ֑ךָ
וַ֝עֲצָבֶ֗יךָ בְּבֵ֣ית נָכְרִֽי
10 Lest be sated with strangers, your power,
and your hardship, in the house of a foreigner.
3e 4B 9
וְנָהַמְתָּ֥ בְאַחֲרִיתֶ֑ךָ
בִּכְל֥וֹת בְּ֝שָׂרְךָ֗ וּשְׁאֵרֶֽךָ
11 And you have disquiet in your later time,
in the consuming of your flesh and your physical power.
3e 4A 10
וְֽאָמַרְתָּ֗ אֵ֭יךְ שָׂנֵ֣אתִי מוּסָ֑ר
וְ֝תוֹכַ֗חַת נָאַ֥ץ לִבִּֽי
12 And you say, How I have hated chastening,
and correction, my heart has spurned.
3e 4B 10
וְֽלֹא־שָׁ֭מַעְתִּי בְּק֣וֹל מוֹרָ֑י
וְ֝לִֽמְלַמְּדַ֗י לֹא־הִטִּ֥יתִי אָזְנִֽי
13 And I have failed to hear with the voice of my instructor,
and to those who taught me, I did not bend my ear.
3e 4B 8
כִּ֭מְעַט הָיִ֣יתִי בְכָל־רָ֑ע
בְּת֖וֹךְ קָהָ֣ל וְעֵדָֽה
14 g Briefly I was in all evil,
in the midst of congregation and assembly.
3e 4B 8
שְׁתֵה־מַ֥יִם מִבּוֹרֶ֑ךָ
וְ֝נֹזְלִ֗ים מִתּ֥וֹךְ בְּאֵרֶֽךָ
15 Imbibe water from your cistern,
and flowing from the midst of your well.
3e 4A 7
יָפ֣וּצוּ מַעְיְנֹתֶ֣יךָ ח֑וּצָה
בָּ֝רְחֹב֗וֹת פַּלְגֵי־מָֽיִם
16 B Let your springs be dispersed outside,
in the plazas, streams of water.
3e 4B 10
יִֽהְיוּ־לְךָ֥ לְבַדֶּ֑ךָ
וְאֵ֖ין לְזָרִ֣ים אִתָּֽךְ
17 Let them be yours, yours only,
and none for strangers with you.
3e 4B 8
יְהִֽי־מְקוֹרְךָ֥ בָר֑וּךְ
וּ֝שְׂמַ֗ח מֵאֵ֥שֶׁת נְעוּרֶֽךָ
18 Let your fountain be blessed,
and be glad from the wife of your youth.
3e 4A 7
אַיֶּ֥לֶת אֲהָבִ֗ים וְֽיַעֲלַ֫ת־חֵ֥ן
דַּ֭דֶּיהָ יְרַוֻּ֣ךָ בְכָל־עֵ֑ת
בְּ֝אַהֲבָתָ֗הּ תִּשְׁגֶּ֥ה תָמִֽיד
19 The hart of loves and the mountain goat of grace,
let her infatuations saturate you for all time.
With her love, reel continually.
3e 4B 11
וְלָ֤מָּה תִשְׁגֶּ֣ה בְנִ֣י בְזָרָ֑ה
וּ֝תְחַבֵּ֗ק חֵ֣ק נָכְרִיָּֽה
20 So why reel, my child, with a stranger,
and clasp the embrace of an alien?
3e 4C 10
כִּ֤י נֹ֨כַח ׀ עֵינֵ֣י יְ֭הוָה דַּרְכֵי־אִ֑ישׁ
וְֽכָל־מַעְגְּלֹתָ֥יו מְפַלֵּֽס
21 C Because opposite the eyes of Yahweh are the ways of each,
and all its tracks he levels.
3e 4C 10
עַֽווֹנוֹתָ֗יו יִלְכְּדֻנ֥וֹ אֶת־הָרָשָׁ֑ע
וּבְחַבְלֵ֥י חַ֝טָּאת֗וֹ יִתָּמֵֽךְ
22 Its iniquities catch it, the wicked,
and in the ropes of its sin, it is maintained.
3e 4A 12
ה֗וּא יָ֭מוּת בְּאֵ֣ין מוּסָ֑ר
וּבְרֹ֖ב אִוַּלְתּ֣וֹ יִשְׁגֶּֽה פ
23 ~ It will die without chastening,
and in abundant foolishness it reels.
3e 4B 7

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