He Can See Right Through Him | Proverbs 28.11

He Can See Right Through Him | Proverbs 28.11

“Wise in his eyes is the man of wealth,
but an impoverished person who understands will search him out.”

Proverbs 28.11

חָכָ֣ם בְּ֭עֵינָיו אִ֣ישׁ עָשִׁ֑יר
וְדַ֖ל מֵבִ֣ין יַחְקְרֶֽנּוּ׃

The ancient Greek version of this passage is translated:

‘Wise in himself is a wealthy man;
but a perceptive poor man will condemn him.’

(Proverbs 28.11)

‘σοφὸς παρ᾿ ἑαυτῷ ἀνὴρ πλούσιος,
πένης δὲ νοήμων καταγνώσεται αὐτοῦ.’

“ . . . he searches him thoroughly . . .”

The idea is that the lowly or impoverished person (Hebrew dal, דל, Greek penēs, πένης) who has understanding or perceptive intelligence (Hebrew mēvı̂n, מבין, Greek noēmōn, νοημων) is able to search out completely or thoroughly-examine the the man of wealth (Hebrew îsh ʿashêr, איש עשיר, Greek anēr plousios, ἀνὴρ πλούσιος). In the Greek version, the idea is that the poor man (the Greek is a reference to a poor day laborer) becomes the rich man’s judge.

If I did a paraphrase of this verse from the Hebrew, it would be something like this:

“A rich man can do no wrong in his own eyes,
but he doesn’t pull the wool over the eyes of a poor man who pays attention:
he can see right through him.”

Several English translations use this “he can see right through him” approach, such as the Message and the Jewish Publication Society translation.

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About the author

I’m a husband, father, and one of those friends who has a terrible habit of not returning phone calls.  I’m really just trying to figure out what it means to follow Jesus, and I enjoy meeting great people along the way and maybe having a chance to spend time talking about things deep and trivial.

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