12 There is a way that seems right to a person,[a] but its end is the way that leads to death.[b]
Proverbs 14:12tnHeb “which is straight before a man.”sn The proverb contrasts the roadway with the road’s destination. The pathway immediately ahead is straight and smooth, easy to travel. So it would seem like a good path to follow, except that it’s destination is destruction. One view of the proverb is that the straight road represents wickedness that is disguised or rationalized. Another is that the sage recognizes the ambiguities of life; even when good judgment is used with regard to what a person can see, things may may still turn out quite badly.
Proverbs 14:12tn Or “but after it are the ways of death.” The phrase “ways of death” features the result of these paths. Here death means ruin (cf. Prov 7:27). Possibly the proverb envisions that the initial path which seemed good leads to other paths whose outcomes are all ruinous. tc The LXX seems to take דַּרְכֵי (darkhe, “ways of”) as יַרְכְּתֵי (yarkete, “depths/recesses of”) and renders “the depths of Hades,” but the verse seems to be concerned with events of this life.
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