Bite-Sized Exegesis: Proverbs 10:1


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בֵּן חָכָם יְשַֹמַּח־אָב וּבֵן כְּסִיל תּוּגַת אִמּוֹ׃


bēn ḥākām yəśammaḥ-ʾāb ûbēn kəsîl tûḡat ʾimmô


A wise son makes a father glad, and a fool son is the grief of his mother.


* This verse formally begins the part of the book of Proverbs that contains the collections of short sayings. It is headed in the Hebrew by the title מׅשְׁלֵי שְׁלמֹׁה (mīšəlê šəlōmōh), or “The Proverbs of Solomon.” This title is lacking in Greek and Syriac versions and in some manuscripts of the Vulgate.

* The noun כְּסִיל (kəsîl) meaning “fool” occurs mostly in wisdom literature. The exact same spelling and vocalization also occurs in the Hebrew Bible three times in reference to the constellation Orion (Job 9:9; Isa 13:10; Amos 5:8), and once as a location within the tribe of Judah (Josh 15:30; this may be a corruption of בְּתוּל (bətûl) or בְּתוּאֵל (bətûʾēl); compare 1 Sam 19:4 and 1 Chr 4:30).

* תּוּגַה (tûḡat) only occurs four times in the Hebrew Bible, all of them in wisdom literature (Ps 119:28; Pr 10:1; 14:13; 17:21). Each occurrence is in a contrasting relationship either to the verb שָֹמַח (śāmaḥ) or the noun שִֹמְחָה (śimḥâ).

Full Parsing

בֵּן – Noun, masculine, singular, absolute of בֵּן. Translated “A son.”

חָכָם – Adjective, masculine, singular of חָכָם. In attributive relationship with בֵּן. Translated “wise.”

יְשַֹמַּח – Verb, D-stem, prefix (yiqattel), 3rd, masculine, singular of שָֹמַח or שָֹמֵחַ. Translated “he makes glad.”

אָב – Noun, masculine, singular, absolute of אָב. Translated “a father.”
וּבֵן – Noun, masculine, singular, absolute of בֵּן with prefixed conjunction ו. Translated “and a son.”

כְּסִיל – Noun, masculine, singular, absolute of כְּסִיל. Translated “a fool.”
תּוּגַת – Noun, feminine, singular, construct of תּוּגַה. Translated “the grief of.”

אִמּוֹ – Noun, feminine, singular, construct of אֵם with 3rd masculine, singular possessive suffix. Translated “his mother.”

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