Proverbs 31:2
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
What are you doing, my son? What are you doing, son of my womb? What are you doing, son of my vows?

King James Bible
What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows?

American Standard Version
What, my son? and what, O son of my womb? And what, O son of my vows?

Douay-Rheims Bible
What, O my beloved, what, O the beloved of my womb, what, O the beloved of my vows?

English Revised Version
What, my son? and what, O son of my womb, and what, O son of my vows?

Webster's Bible Translation
What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows?

Proverbs 31:2 Parallel
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

Another numerical proverb with the cipher 4 equals 3 + 1:

29 Three things are of stately walk,

     And four of stately going:

30 The lion, the hero among beasts,

     And that turneth back before nothing;

31 The swift-loined, also the goat;

     And a king with whom is the calling out of the host.

Regarding היטיב with inf. following (the segolated n. actionis צעד is of equal force with an inf.), vid., under Proverbs 15:2.

(Note: In 29a, after Norzi, מיטיבי, and in 29b, מיטבי, is to be written, and this is required by the little Masora to 1 Samuel 25:31, the great, to Ezekiel 33:33, and also the Erfurt little Masora to the passage before us.)

The relation of the members of the sentence in 30a is like that in 25a and 26a: subj. and apposit., which there, as here, is continued in a verbal clause which appears to us as relative. It deserves to be here remarked that לישׁ, as the name for a lion, occurs only here and at Job 4:11, and in the description of the Sinai wilderness, Isaiah 30:6; in Arab. it is layth, Aram. לית, and belongs to the Arameo-Arab. dialect of this language; the lxx and Syr. translate it "the young lion;" the Venet. excellently, by the epic λῖς. בּבּהמה has the article only to denote the genus, viz., of the beasts, and particularly the four-footed beasts. What is said in 30b (cf. with the expression, Job 39:22) is described in Isaiah 30:4. The two other beasts which distinguish themselves by their stately going are in 31a only briefly named. But we are not in the condition of the readers of this Book of Proverbs, who needed only to hear the designation זרזיר מתנים at once to know what beast was meant. Certainly זרזיר, as the name for a beast, is not altogether unknown in the post-bibl. Heb. "In the days of Rabbi Chija (the great teacher who came from Babylon to the Academy of Sepphoris), as is narrated in Bereschith rabba, sect. 65, a zarzir flew to the land of Israel, and it was brought to him with the question whether it were eatable. Go, said he, place it on the roof! Then came an Egyptian raven and lighted down beside it. See, said Chija, it is unclean, for it belongs to the genus of the ravens, which is unclean (Leviticus 11:15). From this circumstance there arose the proverb: The raven goes to the zarzir because it belongs to his own tribe."

(Note: This "like draws to like" in the form: "not in vain goes the raven to the zarzir, it belongs just to its own tribe," came to be often employed, Chullin 65a, Baba Kamma 92b. Plantavitius has it, Tendlau more at large, Sprichwrter, u.s.w., Nr. 577.)

Also the Jer. Rosch ha-schane, Halacha 3: "It is the manner of the world that one seeks to assist his zarzir, and another his zarzir, to obtain the victory;" and Midrash Echa v. 1, according to which it is the custom of the world, that one who has a large and a little zarzir in his house, is wont to treat the little one sparingly, so that in the case of the large one being killed, he might not need to buy another. According to this, the zarzir is a pugnacious animal, which also the proverb Bereschith rabba, c. 75, confirms: two zarzir do not sleep on one board; and one makes use of his for contests like cock-fights. According to this, the זרזיר is a bird, and that of the species of the raven; after Rashi, the tourneau, the starling, which is confirmed by the Arab. zurzur (vulgar Arab. zarzur), the common name of starlings (cf. Syr. zarzizo, under zrz of Castelli). But for the passage before us, we cannot regard this as important, for why is the starling fully named זרזיר מתנים? To this question Kimchi has already remarked that he knows no answer for it. Only, perhaps, the grave magpie (corvus pica), strutting with upraised tail, might be called succinctus lumbos, if מתנים can at all be used here of a bird. At the earliest, this might possibly be used of a cock, which the later Heb. named directly גּבר, because of its manly demeanour; most old translators so understand it. The lxx translates, omitting the loins, by ἀλέκτωρ ἐμπεριπατῶν θηλείαις εὔψυχος, according to which the Syr. and Targ.: like the cock which struts about proudly among the hens;

(Note: Regarding the Targum Text, vid., Levy under אבּכא and זרכּל. The expression דּמזדּרז (who is girded, and shows himself as such) is not unsuitable.)

Aquila and Theodotion: ἀλέκτωρ (ἀλεκτρυὼν) νώτου; The Quinta: ἀλέκτωρ ὀσφύος; Jezome: gallus succinctus lumbos. Ṣarṣar (not ṣirṣir, as Hitzig vocalizes) is in Arab. a name for a cock, from ṣarṣara, to crow, an onomatopoeia. But the Heb. זרזיר, as the name of a bird, signifies, as the Talmud proves on the ground of that history, not a cock, but a bird of the raven order, whether a starling, a crow, or a magpie. And if this name of a corvinus is formed from the onomatopoeia זרזר, the weaker form of that (Arab.) ṣarṣar, then מתנים, which, for זרזיר, requires the verbal root זרז, to girdle, is not wholly appropriate; and how strangely would the three animals be mingled together, if between לישׁ and תישׁ, the two four-footed animals, a bird were placed! If, as is to be expected, the "Lendenumgrtete" [the one girded about the loins equals זרזיר מתנים] be a four-footed animal, then it lies near, with C. B. Michaelis and Ziegler, after Ludolf's


Proverbs 31:2 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

the son of my womb

Isaiah 49:15 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yes, they may forget...

the son of my vows

1 Samuel 1:11,28 And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your handmaid, and remember me...

Cross References
1 Samuel 1:11
And she vowed a vow and said, "O LORD of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head."

Proverbs 31:1
The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him:

Isaiah 49:15
"Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.

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