Proverb 18:1

Status
Not open for further replies.

baron

Puritan Board Graduate
Does any one know the meaning of this verse?

Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom. KJV

What does the word intermeddleth mean in English? I could not find a meaning to this word.

What I find is two very diffrent comments on the same verse. Those who use the KJV say this man has devoted himself to find out all wisdom. This is also the reading of the Geneva Bible. The newer versions NKJV, ESV, NASB, seem to say the opposite of the KJV.

Thans for any help.
 

Hamalas

whippersnapper
Well we really need some Hebrew scholars at this point, but I'll feel free to give my uneducated and unsolicited advice anyway. :)

I'm looking at the ESV:
Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.
The all-knowing footnotes in my monolithic ESV Study Bible suggest that the word used here refers to someone who is reclusive or divisive. So I don't know that it's someone withdrawing himself to seek knowledge as much as it is someone withdrawing himself from knowledge. :2cents:
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
I think that ESV translation is a fair rendering (though I'm no scholar).

My old 1928 Webster's has intermeddle as meaning to "meddle impertinently and officiously and usually so as to interfere."

It comes from Ango-French "entremeller" which means to mix, so I thought maybe an old usage was to mix oneself into something, as in being fully absorbed.

But then I looked at the Hebrew and I see the negative connotation. The verb is גּלע or "gala" which means more along the lines of being an obstinate disputer, a breaker, or perhaps a meddler.

So, I think the KJV got it fairly right, but we are not familar with the word these days.
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
I should add that Matthew Henry calls it a difficult passage. He notes that it could either mean a man who isolates himself to his own desire becomes an obstinate meddler in the affairs of others, or, it could mean (acknowledging the AV translation) to be an exhortation to separate oneself for the all-consuming pursuit of wisdom.

So, take your pick:

1. Some take it as a rebuke to an affected singularity. When men take a pride in separating themselves from the sentiments and society of others, in contradicting all that has been said before them and advancing new notions of their own, which, though ever so absurd, they are wedded to, it is to gratify a desire or lust of vain-glory, and they are seekers and meddlers with that which does not belong to them. He seeks according to his desire, and intermeddles with every business, pretends to pass a judgment upon every man's matter. He is morose and supercilious. Those generally are so that are opinionative and conceited, and they thus make themselves ridiculous, and are vexatious to others. 2. Our translation seems to take it as an excitement to diligence in the pursuit of wisdom. If we would get knowledge or grace, we must desire it, as that which we need and which will be of great advantage to us, 1Co_12:31. We must separate ourselves from all those things which would divert us from or retard us in the pursuit, retire out of the noise of this world's vanities, and then seek and intermeddle with all the means and instructions of wisdom, be willing to take pains and try all the methods of improving ourselves, be acquainted with a variety of opinions, that we may prove all things and hold fast that which is good.
 

Solus Christus

Puritan Board Sophomore
It must be nice to be able to look up some of these older words. If anything to see how much the meanings have changed over time.

I did manage to find a search which came up with a book by Frederic Charles Cook called The Holy Bible, According to the Authorized Version (A.D. 1611) published in 1888.

It's rather hard to read so I'll quote what it says:

The text and the marginal reading of the A.V. indicate, though not very clearly, the two chief constructions of this somewhat difficult verse. "He that separateth himself seeketh according to his desire, and intermeddleth in every business." Other renderings are

(1) He who separateth himself from others seeks his own desire, and rushes forward against all wise counsel. So taken, the precept is, as we should say, a warning against self-will and the self-assertion which exults in differing from the received customs and opinions of mankind. So Rosenmüller and Bertheau.

(2) He who separates himself (sc. from the foolish, unlearned multitude) seeks his own desire (sc. that which is worthy to be desired), and mingleth himself with all wisdom. So Aben-Ezra and the Jewish commentators generally.

(3) The LXX. and Vulg. seem to have followed a different text, and render "A man who seeks occasions, wishing to separate himself from a friend, shall be always open to reproach."

If we have to decide between the two interpretations, one blaming and the other commending the life of isolation, the answer must be that the former is most in harmony with the broad, genial temper of the book of Proverbs; but it is not strange that Pharisaism, in its very name, separating and self-exalting, should have adopted the latter.

Cook seems to be bringing up a similar point to Matthew Henry. While it would be foolish to isolate oneself since it would deprive one of wise counsel, perhaps directing it to those who acted like the Pharisees, it would certainly benefit those people by removing themselves from the council of their peers. In other words, isolating yourself from their kind of "wise" council would be the right thing to do.
 

CharlieJ

Puritan Board Junior
The only questionable thing about the KJV rendering is construing the verb "seek" as coordinate with "intermeddleth" and thereby relating it directly to "wisdom." It seems much better to construe it with "desire" as an object.

The Masoretic text has an atnah marking under nifrad to show the thought break in the verse. An atnah doesn't always mean a complete grammatical break, but in poetic books (and especially Proverbs) it is common for a verse to balance two halves of an idea with the atnah at the pivot point. The semicolon in the modern versions reflects this. The KJV rendering has the object of the verb on the other side of the atnah, a bit of a stretch.
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
18:1 A man who wishes to separate from friends seeks excuses; but at all times he will be liable to reproach.

One of the nice things about the Septuagint is that we know what Hebrew speakers before the Christian era thought certain words meant.
 

Hebrew Student

Puritan Board Freshman
Hey Everyone!

Ya, this is a tough one. Proverbs can be frustrating this way. The real difficult issue here what the phrase bekol tuchiyah yitgala' means. These are somewhat odd used together. The normal usage of tuchiyah is "sound wisdom." This would still make sense in a context with a bad connotation, since the be preposition can be used as an adversative. However, the problem then becomes the meaning of the verb gala'. How would we translate this verb to fit with the idea of "against every sound wisdom/advice?" Normally, the Hebrew term gala' means "to break out," so, its usage in this context would be rather odd. The Hebrew Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament suggests "quarrel" as a gloss for this text. It cites a word in Arabic, jali'a which has a gloss which it says has the connotation of competing in some kind of game. Hence, HALOT seems to be suggesting an interpretation of something like "He quarrels against every sound wisdom." Hence, the idea would be, "The one who separates seeks [his own] desire. He argues against every sound wisdom."

I do not have the second volume of Waltke's commentary on Proverbs, but the library does. I will be interested to see what he says. However, this is a difficult verse.

God Bless,
Adam
 

Jesus is my friend

Puritan Board Junior
I remember reading the NLT Paraphrase said something like:

"A recluse is self indulgent snarling at every sound principle of conduct"

I had wondered too as I read my loved KJV
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
Adam (Hebrew Student),

Waltke renders it, "The one who separates himself seeks self-gratification; against all sound judgment he starts a quarrel."
 

Hebrew Student

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks Prufrock!

That is interesting. He is clearly taking the niphal of parad as a reflexive. However, I am trying to figure out where where he is getting the "starts" from the simple hithpael imperfect of gala'. I looked in his grammar under both the hithpael, and the imperfect, and could find nothing. He notes an ingressive force for the hiphil when used with stative verbs, but he doesn't mention anything for the D stem verbs. I will check the grammar again later, and see if he has anything in his commentary [then again, if someone has it and wants to post his reasoning, that would be fine too :)].

God Bless,
Adam
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
Adam,

I obviously can't say for sure his motives for that translation, but I think it probably does not lie in the stem, but in a meaning of the word itself: he appears to be adopting the meaning "gnashes or bares his teeth," which, idiomatically, could be rendered as starts a quarrel. I believe this was the interpretation Delitzsch offered as well.
 

Hebrew Student

Puritan Board Freshman
Prufrock,

Wow, don't you just love Proverbs studies! Ya, I saw that meaning in HALOT too, but I am/was wondering how one could get from "gnashes or bares his teeth" to "starts an argument." The only thing I can figure is that you are getting a picture of a dog baring its teeth before it attacks.

This seems to be the main exegetical issue, that is, how gala' and tuchiyah are being used together. Either way, I think we can draw some conclusions. First of all, the text is talking about someone who withdraws himself away, and seeks his own desires. Such a person will argue/start an argument against every sound and wise advice.

I would consider it very similar to a person who leaves the church, and starts living a hedonistic lifestyle. He will do all kinds of silly things, even denying some of the advice of his unbelieving friends. That is the danger of becoming self-centered.

God Bless,
Adam
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top