Proverbs 30:10
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
Do not slander a servant to his master, lest he curse you, and you be held guilty.

King James Bible
Accuse not a servant unto his master, lest he curse thee, and thou be found guilty.

American Standard Version
Slander not a servant unto his master, Lest he curse thee, and thou be held guilty.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Accuse not a servant to his master, lest he curse thee, and thou fall.

English Revised Version
Slander not a servant unto his master, lest he curse thee, and thou be held guilty.

Webster's Bible Translation
Accuse not a servant to his master, lest he curse thee, and thou be found guilty.

Proverbs 30:10 Parallel
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

4 Who hath ascended to the heavens and descended?

   Who hath grasped the wind in his fists?

   Who hath bound up the waters in a garment?

   Who hath set right all the ends of the earth?

   What is his name, and what his son's name, if thou knowest?

The first question here, 'מי וגו, is limited by Pazer; עלה־שׁמים has Metheg in the third syllable before the tone. The second question is at least shut off by Pazer, but, contrary to the rule, that Pazer does not repeat itself in a verse; Cod. Erfurt. 2, and several older editions, have for בחפניו more correctly בחפניו with Rebia. So much for the interpunction. חפנים are properly not the two fists, for the fist - that is, the hand gathered into a ball, pugnus - is called אגרף; while, on the contrary, חפן (in all the three dialects) denotes the palm of the hand, vola (vid., Leviticus 16:12); yet here the hands are represented after they have seized the thing as shut, and thus certainly as fists. The dual points to the dualism of the streams of air produced by the disturbance of the equilibrium; he who rules this movement has, as it were, the north or east wind in one first, and the south or west wind in the other, to let it forth according to his pleasure from this prison (Isaiah 24:22). The third question is explained by Job 26:8; the שׂמלה (from שׂמל, comprehendere) is a figure of the clouds which contain the upper waters, as Job 38:37, the bottles of heaven. "All the ends of the earth" are as at five other places, e.g., Psalm 22:28, the most distant, most remote parts of the earth; the setting up of all these most remote boundaries (margines) of the earth is equivalent to the making fast and forming the limits to which the earth extends (Psalm 74:17), the determining of the compass of the earth and the form of its figures. כּי תדע is in symphony with Job 38:5, cf. Job 38:18. The question is here formed as it is there, when Jahve brings home to the consciousness of Job human weakness and ignorance. But there are here two possible significations of the fourfold question. Either it aims at the answer: No man, but a Being highly exalted above all creatures, so that the question מה־שּׁמו [what his name?] refers to the name of this Being. Or the question is primarily meant of men: What man has the ability? - if there is one, then name him! In both cases מי עלה is not meant, after Proverbs 24:28, in the modal sense, quis ascenderit, but as the following ויּרד requires, in the nearest indicative sense, quis ascendit. But the choice between these two possible interpretations is very difficult. The first question is historical: Who has gone to heaven and (as a consequence, then) come down from it again? It lies nearest thus to interpret it according to the consecutio temporum. By this interpretation, and this representation of the going up before the descending again, the interrogator does not appear to think of God, but in contrast to himself, to whom the divine is transcendent, of some other man of whom the contrary is true. Is there at all, he asks, a man who can comprehend and penetrate by his power and his knowledge the heavens and the earth, the air and the water, i.e., the nature and the inner condition of the visible and invisible world, the quantity and extent of the elements, and the like? Name to me this man, if thou knowest one, by his name, and designate him to me exactly by his family - I would turn to him to learn from him what I have hitherto striven in vain to find. But there is not such an one. Thus: as I fell myself limited in my knowledge, so there is not at all any man who can claim limitless knnen and kennen ability and knowledge. Thus casually Aben Ezra explains, and also Rashi, Arama, and others, but without holding fast to this in its purity; for in the interpretation of the question, "Who hath ascended?" the reference to Moses is mixed up with it, after the Midrash and Sohar (Parasha, ויקהל, to Exodus 35:1), to pass by other obscurities and difficulties introduced. Among the moderns, this explanation, according to which all aims at the answer, "there is no man to whom this appertains," has no exponent worth naming. And, indeed, as favourable as is the quis ascendit in coelos ac rursus descendit, so unfavourable is the quis constituit omnes terminos terrae, for this question appears not as implying that it asks after the man who has accomplished this; but the thought, according to all appearance, underlies it, that such an one must be a being without an equal, after whose name inquiry is made. One will then have to judge עלה and וירד after Genesis 28:12; the ascending and descending are compared to our German "auf und neider" up and down, for which we do not use the phrase "nieder und auf," and is the expression of free, expanded, unrestrained presence in both regions; perhaps, since וירד is historical, as Psalm 18:10, the speaker has the traditional origin of the creation in mind, according to which the earth arose into being earlier than the starry heavens above. Thus the four questions refer (as e.g., also Isaiah 40:12) to Him who has done and who does all that, to Him who is not Himself to be comprehended as His works are, and as He shows Himself in the greatness and wonderfulness of these, must be exalted above them all, and mysterious. If the inhabitant of the earth looks up to the blue heavens streaming in the golden sunlight, or sown with the stars of night; if he considers the interchange of the seasons, and feels the sudden rising of the wind; if he sees the upper waters clothed in fleecy clouds, and yet held fast within them floating over him; if he lets his eye sweep the horizon all around him to the ends of the earth, built up upon nothing in the open world-space (Job 26:7): the conclusion comes to him that he has before him in the whole the work of an everywhere present Being, of an all-wise omnipotent Worker - it is the Being whom he has just named as אל, the absolute Power, and as the קדשׁים, exalted above all created beings, with their troubles and limitations; but this knowledge gained vi causalitatis, vi eminentiae, and vi negationis, does not satisfy yet his spirit, and does not bring him so near to this Being as is to him a personal necessity, so that if he can in some measure answer the fourfold מי, yet there always presses upon him the question מה־שׁמו, what is his name, i.e., the name which dissolves the secret of this Being above all beings, and unfolds the mystery of the wonder above all wonders. That this Being must be a person the fourfold מי presupposes; but the question, "What is his name?" expresses the longing to know the name of this supernatural personality, not any kind of name which is given to him by men, but the name which covers him, which is the appropriate personal immediate expression of his being. The further question, "And what the name of his son?" denotes, according to Hitzig, that the inquirer strives after an adequate knowledge, such as one may have of a human being. But he would not have ventured this question if he did not suppose that God was not a monas unity who was without manifoldness in Himself. The lxx translates: ἣ τί ὄνομα τοῖς τέκνοις αὐτοῦ (בּנו), perhaps not without the influence of the old synagogue reference testified to in the Midrash and Sohar of בנו to Israel, God's first-born; but this interpretation is opposed to the spirit of this חידה (intricate speech, enigma). Also in general the interrogator cannot seek to know what man stands in this relation of a son to the Creator of all things, for that would be an ethical question which does not accord with this metaphysical one. Geier has combined this ומה־שׁם־בנו with viii.; and that the interrogator, if he meant the חכמה, ought to have used the phrase ומה־שׁם־בּתּו, says nothing against this, for also in אמון, Proverbs 8:30, whether it means foster-child or artifex, workmaster, the feminine determination disappears. Not Ewald alone finds here the idea of the Logos, as the first-born Son of God, revealing itself, on which at a later time the Palestinian doctrine of מימרא דיהוה imprinted itself in Alexandria;

(Note: Vid., Apologetik (1869), p. 432ff.)

but also J. D. Michaelis felt himself constrained to recognise here the N.T. doctrine of the Son of God announcing itself from afar. And why might not this be possible? The Rig-Veda contains two similar questions, x. 81, 4: "Which was the primeval forest, or what the tree from which one framed the heavens and the earth? Surely, ye wise men, ye ought in your souls to make inquiry whereon he stood when he raised the wind!" And i. 164, 4: "Who has seen the first-born? Where was the life, the blood, the soul of the world? Who came thither to ask this from any one who knew it?"

(Note: Cited by Lyra in Beweis des Glaubens Jahrg. 1869, p. 230. The second of these passages is thus translated by Wilson (Rig-Veda-Sanhit, London, 1854, vol. ii. p. 127): "Who has seen the primeval (being) at the time of his being born? What is that endowed with substance which the unsubstantial sustains? From earth are the breath and blood, but where is the soul? Who may repair to the sage to ask this?")

Jewish interpreters also interpret בנו of the causa media of the creation of the world. Arama, in his work עקדת יצחק, sect. xvi., suggests that by בנו we are to understand the primordial element, as the Sankhya-philosophy understands by the first-born there in the Rig, the Prakṛiti, i.e., the primeval material. R. Levi b. Gerson (Ralbag) comes nearer to the truth when he explains בנו as meaning the cause caused by the supreme cause, in other words: the principium principaiatum of the creation of the world. We say: the inquirer meant the demiurgic might which went forth from God, and which waited on the Son of God as a servant in the creation of the world; the same might which in chap. 8 is called Wisdom, and is described as God's beloved Son. But with the name after which inquiry is made, the relation is as with the "more excellent name than the angels," Hebrews 1:4.

(Note: The Comm. there remarks: It is the heavenly whole name of the highly exalted One, the שׁם המפורשׁ, nomen explicitum, which here on this side has entered into no human heart, and can be uttered by no human tongue, the ὄνομα ὁ οὑδεὶς οῖδεν εἰ μὴ ὁ αὐτός, Revelation 19:12.)

It is manifestly not the name בן, since the inquiry is made after the name of the בן; but the same is the case also with the name חכמה, or, since this does not harmonize, according to its grammatical gender, with the form of the question, the name דבר (מימר); but it is the name which belongs to the first and only-begotten Son of God, not merely according to creative analogies, but according to His true being. The inquirer would know God, the creator of the world, and His Son, the mediator in the creation of the world, according to their natures. If thou knowest, says he, turning himself to man, his equal, what the essential names of both are, tell them to me! But who can name them! The nature of the Godhead is hidden, as from the inquirer, so from every one else. On this side of eternity it is beyond the reach of human knowledge.

The solemn confession introduced by נאם is now closed. Ewald sees herein the discourse of a sceptical mocker at religion; and Elster, the discourse of a meditating doubter; in Proverbs 30:5, and on, the answer ought then to follow, which is given to one thus speaking: his withdrawal from the standpoint of faith in the revelation of God, and the challenge to subordinate his own speculative thinking to the authority of the word of God. But this interpretation of the statement depends on the symbolical rendering of the supposed personal names איתיאל and אכל, and, besides, the dialogue is indicated by nothing; the beginning of the answer ought to have been marked, like the beginning of that to which it is a reply. The confession, 1b-4, is not that of a man who does not find himself in the right condition, but such as one who is thirsting after God must renounce: the thought of a man does not penetrate to the essence of God (Job 11:7-9); even the ways of God remain inscrutable to man (Sir. 18:3; Romans 11:33); the Godhead remains, for our thought, in immeasurable height and depth; and though a relative knowledge of God is possible, yet the dogmatic thesis, Deum quidem cognoscimus, sed non comprehendimus, i.e., non perfecte cognoscimus quia est infinitus,

(Note: Vid., Luthardt's Kimpendium der Dogmatik, 27.)


Proverbs 30:10 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

accuse not or hurt not with thy tongue

Proverbs 24:23 These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment.

Deuteronomy 23:15 You shall not deliver to his master the servant which is escaped from his master to you:

1 Samuel 22:9,10 Then answered Doeg the Edomite, which was set over the servants of Saul, and said, I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob...

1 Samuel 24:9 And David said to Saul, Why hear you men's words, saying, Behold, David seeks your hurt?

1 Samuel 26:19 Now therefore, I pray you, let my lord the king hear the words of his servant. If the LORD have stirred you up against me...

1 Samuel 30:15 And David said to him, Can you bring me down to this company? And he said, Swear to me by God, that you will neither kill me...

2 Samuel 16:1-4 And when David was a little past the top of the hill, behold, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him, with a couple of donkeys saddled...

2 Samuel 19:26,27 And he answered, My lord, O king, my servant deceived me: for your servant said, I will saddle me an donkey, that I may ride thereon...

Daniel 3:8 Why at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews.

Daniel 6:13,24 Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regards not you, O king...

Romans 14:4 Who are you that judge another man's servant? to his own master he stands or falls. Yes, he shall be held up...


Proverbs 11:26 He that withholds corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be on the head of him that sells it.

Proverbs 24:24 He that said to the wicked, You are righteous; him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him:

Proverbs 28:27 He that gives to the poor shall not lack: but he that hides his eyes shall have many a curse.

Deuteronomy 15:9 Beware that there be not a thought in your wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand...

2 Chronicles 24:22-24 Thus Joash the king remembered not the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but slew his son. And when he died, he said...

Cross References
Genesis 8:21
And when the LORD smelled the pleasing aroma, the LORD said in his heart, "I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done.

Ecclesiastes 7:21
Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you.

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