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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Song of a Valiant Woman: 8

The first text is from Dr. Waltke's Proverbs commentary and the second from the TNIV. I am posting them both so they can be compared.
    10 A valiant wife who can find?
    Her price is far above corals.

    11 The heart of her husband trusts in her;
    he does not lack "spoil".

    12 She does him good and not evil
    all the days of her life.

    13 She selects diligently wool and flax,
    and works with her glad palms.

    14 She becomes like trading vessels;
    she brings her food from afar;

    15 and she arises [like a lioness] while it is still night,
    and provides "prey" for her household,
    and the quota [of food] for her servant girls.

    16 She considers a field and purchases it;
    from the fruit of her palms she plants a vineyard.

    17 She girds her loins with strength;
    she strengthens her arms for the task.

    18 She perceives that her trading is good;
    her lamp [of prosperity] does not go out at night.

    19 Her hands she holds out to the doubling spindle;
    her palms grasp the spindle.

    20 Her palm she spreads out to the poor,
    and she holds out her hands to the needy.

    21 She is not afraid for her household on account of snow,
    for all her household is clothed with scarlet.

    22 Coverlets she makes for herself;
    her clothing is fine linen and [wool dyed with] purple.

    23 Her husband is respected at the city gate
    when he sits with the elders of the land.

    24 Garments she makes and sells [them];
    sashes she supplies to the merchants.

    25 Strength and majesty are her clothing,
    and so she laughs at the coming days.

    26 Her mouth she opens with wisdom,
    and loving teaching is on her tongue;

    27 one who watches over the affairs;
    the food of idleness she does not eat.

    28 Her sons arise and pronounce her blessed;
    her husband [rises] and praises her;

    29 "Many daughters do valiantly,
    but you surpass all of them."

    30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is fleeting;
    as for a woman who fears the Lord, she should be praised.

    31 Extol her for the fruit of her hands,
    and let her works praise her in the gates.
I am sure it is us women who should feel chagrined at reading this - such a paragon of virtue and strength is this woman. She sets quite a standard.

Dr. Waltke writes that he prefers "sons" in this passage, because elsewhere in the book banim means sons, (I detect an inconsitency with what he said in class). However, he adds in the note that "the poet may intend a play with 'daughters' in his pairing of this verse with v. 29." In the TNIV, "daughters" has been changed to "women" and "sons" to "children". I can see the two levels of translation at work here.

I quoted Dr. Waltke directly in saying that the teaching of the whole book is equally for daughters and there was no hint from Dr. Waltke of the male representation theory, certainly not if he supports "parents" and "ancestors". At the same time he seems to be saying that "sons" had at times in Proverbs a function in the discourse. I don't want to argue with that.

I actually think that he was completely in agreement with how the TNIV is translated but on a poetic level, he feels the words might interact in a certain way in Hebrew. I don't think this is a theological issue. I think we can just enjoy the poetry.

My main reason for posting this is so Dr. Waltke's commentary version, which was prepared for the Committe on Bible Translation, could be compared with the final product in the TNIV. There are some interesting differences.
    10 [b] A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.

    11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.

    12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.

    13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.

    14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.

    15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her women servants.

    16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

    17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.

    18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.

    19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

    20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.

    21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.

    22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

    23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

    24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.

    25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.

    26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

    27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.

    28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:

    29 "Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all."

    30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

    31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.



At Sun Jul 15, 02:24:00 PM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

It seems to me that the major difference is that Waltke's translation is somewhat more literal than appropriate for TNIV and also uses some words like "extol" considered too difficult for it. TNIV, on the other hand, has clearly been polished into much better natural English, at the cost of some literalness.


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