Proverbs 27:23
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds,

King James Bible
Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.

American Standard Version
Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, And look well to thy herds:

Douay-Rheims Bible
Be diligent to know the countenance of thy cattle, and consider thy own flocks :

English Revised Version
Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds:

Webster's Bible Translation
Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.

Proverbs 27:23 Parallel
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

This proverb expresses the influence arising from the intercourse of man with man:

Iron is sharpened by iron,

And a man may sharpen the appearance of another.

When the Masora reads יחד, Ewald remarks, it interprets the word as denoting "at the same time," and the further meaning of the proverb must then accord therewith. Accordingly he translates: "iron together with iron! and one together with the face of another!" But then the prep. ב or עם is wanting after the second יחד - for יחד is, in spite of Ewald, 217h, never a prep. - and the "face," 17b, would be a perplexing superfluity. Hitzig already replies, but without doing homage to the traditional text-punctuation, that such a violence to the use of language, and such a darkening of the thought, is not at all to be accepted. He suggests four ways of interpreting יחד: (1) the adverb יחד, united, properly (taken accusat.) union; (2) יחד, Psalm 86:11, imper. of the Piel יחד, unite; (3) יחדּ, Job 3:6, jussive of the Kal חדה, gaudeat; and (4) as Kimchi, in Michlol 126a, jussive of the Kal חדה ( equals חדד) acuere, after the form תחז, Micah 4:11. ויּחץ, Genesis 32:8, etc. in p. יחד, after the form אחז, Job 23:9. ויּחל, 2 Kings 1:2 ( equals ויּחלא, 2 Chronicles 16:12). If we take יחד with בּרזל, then it is priori to be supposed that in יחד the idea of sharpening lies; in the Arab. iron is simply called hadyda equals חדוּד, that which is sharpened, sharp; and a current Arab. proverb says: alḥadyd balḥadyd yuflah equals ferrum ferro diffinditur (vid., Freytag under the word falah). But is the traditional text-punctuation thus understood to be rightly maintained? It may be easily changed in conformity with the meaning, but not so that with Bttcher we read יחד and יחד, the fut. Kal of חדד: "iron sharpeneth itself on iron, and a man sharpeneth himself over against his neighbour" - for פני after a verb to be understood actively, has to be regarded as the object - but since יחד is changed into יחד (fut. Hiph. of חדד), and יחד into יחד or יחד (fut. Hiph. of חדד, after the form אחל, incipiam, Deuteronomy 2:25, or אחל, profanabo, Ezekiel 39:7; Numbers 30:3). The passive rendering of the idea 17a and the active of 17b thus more distinctly appear, and the unsuitable jussive forms are set aside: ferrum ferro exacuitur, et homo exacuit faciem amici sui (Jerome, Targ., the Venet.). But that is not necessary. As ויּעל may be the fut. of the Hiph. (he brought up) as well as of the Kal (he went up), so יחד may be regarded as fut. Kal, and יחד as fut. Hiph. Fleischer prefers to render יחד also as Hiph.: aciem exhibet, like יעשׁיר, divitias acquirit, and the like; but the jussive is not favourable to this supposition of an intransitive (inwardly transitive) Hiph. It may indeed be said that the two jussives appear to be used, according to poetic licence, with the force of indicatives (cf. under Proverbs 12:26), but the repetition opposes it. Thus we explain: iron is sharpened [gewetzt, Luther uses this appropriate word] by iron (ב of the means, not of the object, which was rather to be expected in 17b after Proverbs 20:30), and a man whets פני, the appearance, the deportment, the nature, and manner of the conduct of his neighbour. The proverb requires that the intercourse of man with man operate in the way of sharpening the manner and forming the habits and character; that one help another to culture and polish of manner, rub off his ruggedness, round his corners, as one has to make use of iron when he sharpens iron and seeks to make it bright. The jussive form is the oratorical form of the expression of that which is done, but also of that which is to be done.

Proverbs 27:23 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


Genesis 31:38-40 This twenty years have I been with you; your ewes and your she goats have not cast their young...

Genesis 33:13 And he said to him, My lord knows that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me...

1 Samuel 17:28 And Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab's anger was kindled against David, and he said...

1 Chronicles 27:29-31 And over the herds that fed in Sharon was Shitrai the Sharonite...

2 Chronicles 26:10 Also he built towers in the desert, and dig many wells: for he had much cattle, both in the low country, and in the plains...

Ezekiel 34:22-24,31 Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle...

John 21:15-17 So when they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, love you me more than these? He said to him, Yes...

1 Peter 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre...

look well or set thy heart

Proverbs 24:32 Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked on it, and received instruction.

Exodus 7:23 And Pharaoh turned and went into his house, neither did he set his heart to this also.

Deuteronomy 32:46 And he said to them, Set your hearts to all the words which I testify among you this day...

Cross References
John 10:3
To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

Proverbs 24:27
Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house.

Jeremiah 31:10
"Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, and declare it in the coastlands far away; say, 'He who scattered Israel will gather him, and will keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.'

Ezekiel 34:12
As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.

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