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The dread wrath (tmyx), of a king is like

the growling of a lion; he who provokes him to anger forfeits

(xFvH) his life. Proverbs 20:2

Nevertheless, the king can also provide a great deal of satisfaction. His displeasure certainly poses danger, but his "favor" (Nvcr) is "like dew upon the grass" (19:12),

This ambiguity surrounding him seems to be characteristic of the mashal literature. The king is unpredictable because his

. . . heart is a stream of water in the hand of Yahweh; he turns it wherever he will.

Proverbs 21:1 No one can ever know the direction Yahweh's guidance might take, for "it is the glory of God to conceal

(rtsh) something" (25:2a). Yet, in the face of this

royal ambiguity, or perhaps because of it, the wise experi- ence a certain fascination with kings. Indeed, "searching out their glory is glorious" (25:27b).12 The "glory of

12 This line is usually emended following the versions to something like, "so he sparing of complimentary words" Oesterley, pp. 229-230; Ringgren, pp. 101, 103; Toy, (RSV); cf. McKane, pp. 251, 587-589; Gemser, p. 72; pp. 470-471; Scott, p. 155. G. Bryce, The Legacy of Wisdom: The Egyptian Contribution to the Wisdom of Israel (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 1979), pp. 139-147, argues that 25:2-27 is a small "wisdom book" which is structured in two parts (vv. 6-15 dealing with the ruler and vv. 16-26 dealing with the wicked) with an introduction (vv. 2-5) which encapsulates the dual concerns of the "book." Vv. 2, 16 and 27 "clearly demarcate the beginning, middle, and end of the book" (p. 146) by forming a chiasmus:

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