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The difference, of course, is that only here does the figure appear in the plural. It is possible that this saying is older than the development of the stock figure of the "strange women" found in Proverbs 1-9. The warning is against foreign women in general.87 The limitations of the simple two line mashal exclude any extended description.

The Friends and Kinfolk Group

Although the mashal literature generally shows a great sensitivity to the positive value of friends and kinfolk and offers guidelines for maintaining and enhancing such rela- tionships,88 it also notes the fact that there are times when friends and relatives may become enemies.

This is often the case with the poor.

All the brothers of a poor man hate him; how much more are his friends distant from him. Proverbs 19:789

87 88 So also McKane, p. 571. R. Cook, The Neighbor Concept in the Old Testament (Ph.D. Dissertation The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1980), pp. 143-147; cf. H. Wolff, Anthropology of the Old Testament, trans. by M. Kohl (rev. ed., Phila- delphia: Fortress Press, 1974), pp. 185-191.

89

The last line of this verse does not seem to make

sense as it is in MT: hmh-xl Myrmx Jdrm.

Literally translated, "Pursuing words not they" or reading the Qere, "Pursuing words to him they." Scott, p. 115, reads "hu’ meraddep, ‘omrehem lo hemah,"="When he follows them they speak angrily to him." B. Gemser, Spruche Salomos (Tubingen: Mohr, 1937), pp. 58, 59, reconstructs a Hebrew text of 4 lines based on the LXX; hardly a plausible

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