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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Mishlei - Proverbs - Chapter 14

Mishlei - Proverbs - Chapter 14

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Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 14

1. The wisest of women-each one built her house, but a foolish one tears it down with her hands.   א. חַכְמוֹת נָשִׁים בָּנְתָה בֵיתָהּ וְאִוֶּלֶת בְּיָדֶיהָ תֶהֶרְסֶנּוּ:
The wisest of women: Heb. חכמות, vowelized with a “patach,” is not a noun, but [it means that] the wisest of women build their houses, for they are preserved by them, like the wife of On the son of Peleth, as is explained in the chapter entitled “Chelek.”  
but a foolish one: Heb. ואולת. But a foolish woman.  
tears it down with her hands: She tears down her house. This is Korah’s wife.]  
2. He who fears the Lord goes in his uprightness, but he whose ways are perverse despises Him.   ב. הוֹלֵךְ בְּיָשְׁרוֹ יְרֵא יְהוָה וּנְלוֹז דְּרָכָיו בּוֹזֵהוּ:
He who fears the Lord goes in his uprightness: Heb. ירא ה׳, he who fears the Lord, and he who is crooked in his ways…  
despises Him: The Holy One, blessed be He.  
3. In a fool's mouth is a staff of haughtiness but the lips of the wise guard them.   ג. בְּפִי אֱוִיל חֹטֶר גַּאֲוָה וְשִׂפְתֵי חֲכָמִים תִּשְׁמוּרֵם:
In a fool’s mouth is a staff of haughtiness: A stick of haughtiness, like Pharaoh, who said (Ex. 5: 2): “Who is the Lord that I should hearken to His voice?”  
but the lips of the wise guard them: Heb. תשמורם, like תשמרם. They guard the wise.  
4. Without oxen the manger is empty, but an abundance comes by the strength of an ox.   ד. בְּאֵין אֲלָפִים אֵבוּס בָּר וְרָב תְּבוּאוֹת בְּכֹחַ שׁוֹר:
Without oxen the manger is empty: Without oxen, the manger is empty, for not even straw is found in the house.  
empty: Heb. בר, clean and empty. This means that without Torah scholars, there is no proper instruction.  
5. A faithful witness does not lie, but he who speaks lies is a false witness.   ה. עֵד אֱמוּנִים לֹא יְכַזֵּב וְיָפִיחַ כְּזָבִים עֵד שָׁקֶר:
but he who speaks lies: and always speaks lies, is a false witness.  
6. The scorner sought wisdom, but it is not there; but knowledge for the understanding one is easy.   ו. בִּקֶּשׁ לֵץ חָכְמָה וָאָיִן וְדַעַת לְנָבוֹן נָקָל:
The scorner sought wisdom: When he needs wisdom, he does not find it in his heart.  
7. Go far away from a foolish man or you will not know lips of knowledge.   ז. לֵךְ מִנֶּגֶד לְאִישׁ כְּסִיל וּבַל יָדַעְתָּ שִׂפְתֵי דָעַת:
Go far away from a foolish wisdom.: Do not always associate with him.  
or you will know lips of knowledge: You will eventually not know wisdom.  
8. The wisdom of a cunning man is to understand his way, but the folly of the fools is deceit.   ח. חָכְמַת עָרוּם הָבִין דַּרְכּוֹ וְאִוֶּלֶת כְּסִילִים מִרְמָה:
The wisdom of a cunning man: Heb. ערום, he who is wise.  
is to understand his way: To weigh his paths.  
but the folly of the fools: That is the deceit in their hearts. It will ultimately bring them to foolishness.  
9. Amends for guilt plead for the fools, but there is good will among the upright.   ט. אֱוִלִים יָלִיץ אָשָׁם וּבֵין יְשָׁרִים רָצוֹן:
Amends for guilt plead for the fools: For they sin and have to give money to the one against whom they sinned. And their amends, which they bring him with their money, will plead for them, like the Philistines, as it is stated (I Sam. 6: 4f.): “five hemorrhoids of gold, etc. and you shall give honor to the God of Israel. Perhaps He will lighten His hand from upon you.” אשם (amende in French, geldstrafe in German) a fine.  
but there is good will among the upright: apaisement in French (cf. above 11:27), appeasement. The Holy One, blessed be He, is pleased with them.  
10. One's heart knows the bitterness of his soul, and in his joy no stranger shall mingle.   י. לֵב יוֹדֵעַ מָרַת נַפְשׁוֹ וּבְשִׂמְחָתוֹ לֹא יִתְעָרַב זָר:
One’s heart knows the bitterness of his soul: His toil and labor that he toiled with the Torah. Therefore, in his joy a stranger shall not mingle. Another explanation:  
One’s heart knows the bitterness of his soul: Israel, who are of embittered spirit in exile, for they are killed for the sanctification of the Name-in their joy no stranger shall mingle in the future.  
11. The house of the wicked shall be destroyed, but the tent of the righteous shall flourish.   יא. בֵּית רְשָׁעִים יִשָּׁמֵד וְאֹהֶל יְשָׁרִים יַפְרִיחַ:
12. There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is ways of death.   יב. יֵשׁ דֶּרֶךְ יָשָׁר לִפְנֵי אִישׁ וְאַחֲרִיתָהּ דַּרְכֵי מָוֶת:
There is a way that seems right to a man: He commits a transgression and says, “There is no transgression in it.” Another explanation:  
There is a way that seems right to a man: The way of laziness seemed right to Esau, who was a man of the field, “but its end etc.”  
13. Even with laughter, the heart aches, and its end is that joy turns to sorrow.   יג. גַּם בִּשְׂחוֹק יִכְאַב לֵב וְאַחֲרִיתָהּ שִׂמְחָה תוּגָה:
Even with laughter: that the Holy One, blessed be He, laughs with the heathens in this world. Their heart will ache in the future, and so Scripture says (Isa. 65:14): “And you shall cry out from sorrow of heart.”  
14. The one with an impure heart shall have his fill from his ways, and above him is a good man.   יד. מִדְּרָכָיו יִשְׂבַּע סוּג לֵב וּמֵעָלָיו אִישׁ טוֹב:
The one with an impure heart shall have his fill from his ways: Esau.  
and above him is a good man: Jacob.  
15. A fool believes everything, but a cunning man understands his steps.   טו. פֶּתִי יַאֲמִין לְכָל דָּבָר וְעָרוּם יָבִין לַאֲשֻׁרוֹ:
A fool believes: their words and is enticed after them. Another explanation:  
with laughter the heart aches: It is sport for a fool to carry out a sinful plot (above 10:23), and ultimately, his heart will ache. The one with an impure heart is a wicked man, as in (below 26:23) “Impure (סיגים) silver.” סיג is the name of the dross. סוג is the silver mixed with the dross.  
and above him is a good man: And above the wicked man will be the righteous man.  
A fool believes: talebearers,  
but a cunning man understands his steps: Heb. לאשרו, his steps. He waits to quarrel until he knows the matter correctly.  
16. A wise man fears and turns away from evil, but a fool passes vigorously and slips.   טז. חָכָם יָרֵא וְסָר מֵרָע וּכְסִיל מִתְעַבֵּר וּבוֹטֵחַ:
A wise man fears: retribution.  
and turns away from evil: From the evil.  
but a fool passes vigorously: He strengthens himself to pass vigorously.  
and slips: Heb. ובוטח, and slips and falls to the ground, as in (Jer. 12:5): “and in the peaceful you slip (בוטח),” and Jonathan renders: את מתבטח ונפיל, meaning “you slip and fall.” Others explain this as confidence. In his palace, he is confident, saying, “The evil will not befall me.”  
17. A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, and a man of sinful plots is hated.   יז. קְצַר אַפַּיִם יַעֲשֶֹה אִוֶּלֶת וְאִישׁ מְזִמּוֹת יִשָּׂנֵא:
A quick tempered man: who hastens to avenge his anger.  
and a man of sinful plots: Thoughts of counsels of evil.  
18. Fools inherit folly, but the cunning make knowledge a crown.   יח. נָחֲלוּ פְתָאיִם אִוֶּלֶת וַעֲרוּמִים יַכְתִּרוּ דָעַת:
make knowledge a crown: Heb. יכתרו, they make it a crown for their head, and ultimately…  
19. The evil bend down before the good, and the wicked on the gates of a righteous man.   יט. שַׁחוּ רָעִים לִפְנֵי טוֹבִים וּרְשָׁעִים עַל שַׁעֲרֵי צַדִּיק:
The evil bend down before the good: in the future.  
20. The poor man is hated even by his friend, but the friends of the rich are many.   כ. גַּם לְרֵעֵהוּ יִשָּׂנֵא רָשׁ וְאֹהֲבֵי עָשִׁיר רַבִּים:
The poor man is hated even by his friend: Even by his friends who accompany him to his wedding and by his close friends.  
even: Heb. גם, an expression meaning even.  
The poor man is hated: The ignoramus, who does not know how to behave properly.  
21. He who despises his friend is a sinner, but he who favors the humble-fortunate is he.   כא. בָּז לְרֵעֵהוּ חוֹטֵא וּמְחוֹנֵן עֲנָיִים עֲנָוִים אַשְׁרָיו:
22. Will they who plan evil not go astray? But kindness and truth come to those who plan good.   כב. הֲלוֹא יִתְעוּ חֹרְשֵׁי רָע וְחֶסֶד וֶאֱמֶת חֹרְשֵׁי טוֹב:
23. In every toil there will be gain, but a word of the lips is only for loss.   כג. בְּכָל עֶצֶב יִהְיֶה מוֹתָר וּדְבַר שְׂפָתַיִם אַךְ לְמַחְסוֹר:
In every toil: In every toil of work, there is a gain, but in words of vanity, there is only loss.  
24. The crown of the wise is their wealth; the folly of the foolish is folly.   כד. עֲטֶרֶת חֲכָמִים עָשְׁרָם אִוֶּלֶת כְּסִילִים אִוֶּלֶת:
The crown of the wise is their wealth: that they are rich in Torah.  
the folly of the foolish is folly: The ruin of the fools is the folly that they neglected to learn wisdom.  
25. A true witness saves lives, but he who speaks lies is [a man of] deceit.   כה. מַצִּיל נְפָשׁוֹת עֵד אֱמֶת וְיָפִחַ כְּזָבִים מִרְמָה:
26. In the fear of the Lord is a strong promise, and he will be a shelter for his sons.   כו. בְּיִרְאַת יְהוָה מִבְטַח עֹז וּלְבָנָיו יִהְיֶה מַחְסֶה:
In the fear of the Lord is a strong promise: It is stated concerning Abraham (Gen. 22:12): “Now I know that you are a God-fearing man,” and He promised him: “For I will bless, you, etc.”  
and he will be… for his sons: He.  
a shelter: For they will take shelter and hide in the shadow of his merit.  
27. The fear of the Lord is a spring of life, to turn away from the snares of death.   כז. יִרְאַת יְהוָה מְקוֹר חַיִּים לָסוּר מִמֹּקְשֵׁי מָוֶת:
28. The King's glory is in a multitude of people, but the ruin of His Princedom is in lack of people.   כח. בְּרָב עָם הַדְרַת מֶלֶךְ וּבְאֶפֶס לְאֹם מְחִתַּת רָזוֹן:
in a multitude of people: that the people are righteous is the glory of the Holy One, blessed be He.  
but… in lack of people: When they do not cleave to Him.  
the ruin of His Princedom: It is the absence of His Princedom. So to speak, He gives of His honor to others.  
29. He who is slow to anger is of great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered selects folly.   כט. אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם רַב תְּבוּנָה וּקְצַר רוּחַ מֵרִים אִוֶּלֶת:
selects folly: Heb. מרים, he separates it for his share.  
30. A healing heart is the life of the flesh, but anger is the rot of the bones.   ל. חַיֵּי בְשָׂרִים לֵב מַרְפֵּא וּרְקַב עֲצָמוֹת קִנְאָה:
A healing heart is the life of the flesh: A heart of flesh, which heals the evil and passes over his retaliations, is the life of the creatures of the Holy One, blessed be He, who are flesh and blood.  
but anger is the rot of the bones: A man who is often angry is the rot of everyone’s bones.  
31. He who oppresses a poor man blasphemes his Maker, but he who favors a poor man honors Him.   לא. עשֵׁק דָּל חֵרֵף עֹשֵֹהוּ וּמְכַבְּדוֹ חֹנֵן אֶבְיוֹן:
32. A wicked man is thrust down with his evil, but a righteous man is confident in his death.   לב. בְּרָעָתוֹ יִדָּחֶה רָשָׁע וְחֹסֶה בְמוֹתוֹ צַדִּיק:
but a righteous man is confident in his death: When he dies, he is confident that he will come to Paradise.  
33. Wisdom rests in the heart of an understanding man, but in the midst of the fools it is known.   לג. בְּלֵב נָבוֹן תָּנוּחַ חָכְמָה וּבְקֶרֶב כְּסִילִים תִּוָּדֵעַ:
Wisdom rests in the heart of an understanding man: Heb. תנוח, it dwells and rests tranquilly; an expression of rest and tranquility.  
but in the midst of the fools it is known: The little wisdom that is in his heart calls out. This parallels the Talmudic maxim (Baba Mezia 85b): “A coin in a bottle makes a sound of kish kish.”  
34. Charity will elevate a nation, but the kindness of the kingdoms is sin.   לד. צְדָקָה תְרוֹמֵם גּוֹי וְחֶסֶד לְאֻמִּים חַטָּאת:
Charity will elevate a nation: Israel.  
but the kindness of the kingdoms is sin: They are the heathens, who rob one to give another.  
35. The king's good will is to an intelligent servant, but his wrath will be upon a shameful one.   לה. רְצוֹן מֶלֶךְ לְעֶבֶד מַשְׂכִּיל וְעֶבְרָתוֹ תִּהְיֶה מֵבִישׁ:
but his wrath will be: upon a shameful servant.  
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