16 A fool’s annoyance[a] is known at once,[b] but the prudent[c] conceals dishonor.[d]
Proverbs 12:16tnHeb “The fool, at once his vexation is known.” This rhetorically emphatic construction uses an independent nominative absolute, which is then followed by the formal subject with a suffix. The construction focuses attention on “the fool,” then states what is to be said about him.
Proverbs 12:16tnHeb “on the day” or “the same day.”sn The fool is impatient and unwise, and so flares up immediately when anything bothers him. W. McKane says that the fool’s reaction is “like an injured animal and so his opponent knows that he has been wounded” (Proverbs [OTL], 442).
Proverbs 12:16tn The range of meanings for the verb and the object suggest several possible interpretations of the last line. The verb כָּסָה (kasah) means “to cover” and may indicate hiding or ignoring something. The noun קָלוֹן (qalon) means “shame” and may refer to disgrace (something to be ashamed of) or to contempt or an insult given (shaming words). Several English translations view it as ignoring or overlooking an insult (NIV, ESV, NRSV). Others more ambiguously render it as covering or concealing dishonor or shame, where it is less clear whether the person conceals their own shame or someone else’s. And the LXX reads “a clever person conceals his own dishonor.” But these entail the three main possibilities: to ignore an insult given to you, to ignore something that could shame others, or to conceal something of your own that could be shameful. In a similar phrase in 12:23, the verb does not mean to ignore something.sn The contrast in this proverb could be that the prudent person overlooks the insult made by the fool in part one, bypasses the opportunity to expose something that would shame another (in contrast to the fool), or doesn’t give the opportunity for the fool to see what might be embarrassing. In contrast the fool cannot handle criticism well and/or announces dissatisfaction instinctively and quickly, without appropriate thought for others.
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