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The king’s rage is like the growl of a lion,
but his favor is like the dew upon the grass. Bible

“grass.” The Hebrew word eseb (#06212 עֵשֶׂב), translated “grass” is hard to bring into English. It was the general word for the weeds that naturally grew in any field. The biblical world did not have “grass” as we know it today, that is, large areas of lawn with grass like fescue or Kentucky bluegrass. It just had areas of weeds. Sometimes those weeds were long and thick, like a weedy field today. In other places people’s grazing animals, i.e., their sheep, goats, and cows, kept the weeds eaten down, but they were still just weeds. But translating the verse into English as “the dew upon the weeds” gives the wrong impression. To the modern English reader a “weed” is a bad thing, and that is certainly not the intended meaning of the verse. The weeds of the field were a blessing because they were the natural food that sustained the grazing animals, as well as providing some things, like mustard seed, that people could use. So even though “grass” may give the reader the wrong impression, it still seems to be the best choice for an English translation, which is why almost all English versions read “grass.” In most places the Greek word chortos (#5528 χόρτος cp. Mark 6:39) means the same thing.


Commentary for: Proverbs 19:12