Pr 20:20b, NASB says "His lamp will go out in time of darkness." I am given a variant for 'time of darkness' as 'pupil,' and THAT makes no sense to me. I know in other places (cf Matthew 6:22-23; Luke 11:34 NASB), 'eye' and 'lamp' are linked.

I don't speak or read Hebrew. I have tiny, tiny fragments of Greek. Website Sefaria gives me this for Proverbs 20; there is no variant reading provided:

" מְ֭קַלֵּל אָבִ֣יו וְאִמּ֑וֹ יִֽדְעַ֥ךְ נֵ֝ר֗וֹ באישון [בֶּאֱשׁ֥וּן] חֹֽשֶׁךְ׃"

And the translation: "One who reviles his father or mother, Light will fail him when darkness comes."

Note: I understand the common sense meaning to be that an abusive/neglectful child will be in darkness/want in a time of need. What I DON'T understand is whether this variant of 'pupil' is valid for 'time of darkness.

Who has wisdom?

1 Answer 1


This verse hold two Hebrew idioms:

  1. ידעך נרו mean (flowery) to die (literally: his candle went out).
  2. אישון חושך or אישון לילה is an idiom that means "in the dead of night, in the middle of the night". The reason of using pupil is that on darkness the pupil become "not effective" meaning one cannot use them in order to see.

So that verse reflect the fifth from the Ten Commandments, that simply say: "Honour your father and mother in order to live longer". This verse is the same but negatively: "The one who curse his father and mother will die suddenly.

Hope it answers your question.

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