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themselves wise (26:5), and their lips are a snare.21 Closer examination of the Mylysk reveals why they

are occasionally portrayed in enemy terms. They can be quite dangerous to other people. They bring forth all of their anger (29:11) and recklessly throw off all restraint (14:16). They flaunt their folly so disgustingly as to be reminiscent of dogs returning to their vomit (13:16; 26:11). They are dangerous characters because they exalt cursing (3:35), and their lips, being perverse (19:1), bring strife (18:6). Even to be a companion of one of these fellows is to be liable to injury (13:20) while to hire one renders the employer comparable to a wild archer (26:10). The mashal tradition urges quite understandably, therefore,

Let a man meet a she-bear robbed of her cubs, rather than a fool in his folly. Proverbs 17:12

Quite similar to the stupid fellow (lysk) is the

fool (lyvx). Although the lyvx appears less frequently

as the subject of potentially dangerous behavior, he is just as perverse as the lysk. These characters scoff at guilt

(Mwx 14:9).22 The Mwx in this case might be taken to

21 18:7; here, however, the enmity redounds to his own disadvantage: "his lips are a snare to himself (vwpn).

22 MT of 14:9a is admittedly troublesome: Mwx Cyly Mylyvx. To translate "guilt(-offering) scoffs

at fools" as must be done to obtain subject-verb agreement is nonsense. The least violent solution seems to be that of R. Scott, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes: Introduction,


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