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Like an archer who wounds anyone,
so is the one who hires a fool or hires those who are just passing by. Bible

. This verse has been called the most obscure verse in Proverbs (C. D. Snell, Vetus Testamentum, 41 (1991), pp. 350-356), and the immense differences in the translations of it give evidence for that assessment.

YLT: Great is the Former of all, And He is rewarding a fool, And is rewarding transgressors.

Bullinger: A master [workman] formeth all things aright: but he that hireth a fool, hireth a transgressor [who will spoil the work].

NRSV: Like an archer who wounds everybody is one who hires a passing fool or drunkard.

NIV: Like an archer who wounds at random is he who hires a fool or any passer-by.

The newer research in Hebrew has pretty well shown that the first part of the verse refer to an archer who wounds people, in the same way that the first part of verse 9 refers to a drunk who hurts people. The second stanza of the verse is much less clear, however. Our translation, along with the ASV, NASB, and NIV, follows our understanding of the Hebrew text. The idea of a drunkard in some translations (ESV; NRSV, NJB), comes from the Targum and Syriac, not the Hebrew text. Although it is possible that those versions preserve the meaning of the text, given the immediate context of drunkards and their violent behavior, we felt it better to stick with the Hebrew text, since it made sense also.


Commentary for: Proverbs 26:10