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29:18 Hebrew OT: Westminster Leningrad Codex בְּאֵ֣ין חָ֭זֹון יִפָּ֣רַֽע עָ֑ם וְשֹׁמֵ֖ר תֹּורָ֣ה אַשְׁרֵֽהוּ׃

29:19 Hebrew OT: Westminster Leningrad Codex בִּ֭דְבָרִים לֹא־יִוָּ֣סֶר עָ֑בֶד כִּֽי־יָ֝בִ֗ין וְאֵ֣ין מַעֲנֶֽה׃

(Proverbs 29:18-19) NASB1995

Where there is no [a]vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law. 19 A slave will not be instructed by words alone; For though he understands, there will be no response.

Proverbs 29:18-19 English Standard Version

18 Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint,[a] but blessed is he who keeps the law. 19 By mere words a servant is not disciplined, for though he understands, he will not respond.

Proverbs 29:18-19

New King James Version

18 Where there is no [a]revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law.

19 A servant will not be corrected by mere words; For though he understands, he will not respond.

29:18 Hebrew OT: Westminster Leningrad Codex בְּאֵ֣ין חָ֭זֹון יִפָּ֣רַֽע עָ֑ם וְשֹׁמֵ֖ר תֹּורָ֣ה אַשְׁרֵֽהוּ׃

29:19 Hebrew OT: Westminster Leningrad Codex בִּ֭דְבָרִים לֹא־יִוָּ֣סֶר עָ֑בֶד כִּֽי־יָ֝בִ֗ין וְאֵ֣ין מַעֲנֶֽה׃

I might just be nitpicking unnecessarily, but could someone please check if the Old Testament bible Hebrew word/term for Proverbs 29:18's revelation/vision/prophetic vision can be even more broadly interpreted as meaning Godly Guidance, Godly Wisdom, a person's Godly walk, etc.?

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  • The main role of the prophets of Israel was to prove them about their wrong-doings, and bring them back to the righteous path. So when there are no prophets, and no prophetic vision, people will turn away from the law/Torah. The other verse does not seem related to the first one.
    – Kapandaria
    Oct 8, 2022 at 17:41

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The operative word in Prov 29:18 is חָזוֹן (chazon) whose BDB entry is listed in the appendix below. This word occurs 35 times in the OT Hebrew. According to Strong's lexicon, it has this meaning:

From chazah; a sight (mentally), i.e. A dream, revelation, or oracle -- vision.

More helpfully, "The Complete Word Study Dictionary OT" by Baker and Carpenter defines the word as follows:

... a revelation by means of a vision, oracle, a divine communication. The primary essence of this word is not so much the vision or dream itself as the message conveyed. It signifies, the direct, specific communication between God and people through the prophetic office (1 Sam 3;1, 1 Chron 17:15, Ps 89:19) or the collection of such messages (2 Chron 32:32, Isa 1:1, Obad 1:1, Nah 1:1, Hab 2:2, 3). Also, the word is used of the messages of false prophets (Jer 14:14, 23:16); a guiding communication from the Lord, often restricted when people are under judgement (Lam 2:9, Eze 7:26, Mic 3:6); and the revelation of future events on a grand scale (Dan 9:24, 10:14). People who disregard this divine communication face certain doom (Prov 29:18).

That is, the word does not mean simply "vision", but communication from God. Thus, I believe the most helpful translation of Prov 29:18 is given by the following versions:

  • NIV: Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.
  • NKJV: Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law.
  • CSB: Without revelation people run wild, but one who follows divine instruction will be happy.
  • HCSB: Without revelation people run wild, but one who listens to instruction will be happy.
  • CEV: Without guidance from God law and order disappear, but God blesses everyone who obeys his Law.
  • NHEB: Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but he who keeps the law is blessed.
  • WEB: Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but one who keeps the law is blessed.
  • GNT: A nation without God's guidance is a nation without order. Happy are those who keep God's law!

For what it is worth, here is my personal translation:

Where no revelation, people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law/Torah.

APPENDIX - BDB entry for חָזוֹן (chazon)

חָזוֺן noun masculine Daniel 8:1 vision (on formation compare LgBN 204) — absolute ׳ח Hosea 12:11 25t.; construct חֲזוֺן Isaiah 1:1 8t.

  1. vision, as seen in the ecstatic state "" קסם Micah 3:6; "" מקסם Ezekiel 12:24; "" חלמות Daniel 1:17; "" נביא Daniel 9:24; ׳חזה ח Ezekiel 12:27; Ezekiel 13:16; ׳ראה ח Daniel 8:15; ׳ראה בח Daniel 8:2 (twice in verse); Daniel 9:21; ׳דבּר בח Psalm 89:20; חזון נראה אל Daniel 8:1 vision appeared unto; ׳מצא ח מיהוה Lamentations 2:9 find a vision from Yahweh; also Ezekiel 12:22,23; Daniel 8:13,17,26; Daniel 10:14; Daniel 11:14.

  2. vision, in the night חֲזוֺן לַיְלָה Isaiah 29:7.

  3. divine communication in a vision, oracle, prophecy ׳בקשׁ ח מנביא seek a vision (prophecy) from prophet Ezekiel 7:26; "" דבר (יםׅ 1 Samuel 3:1; 1 Chronicles 17:15; חֲזוֺן לִבָּם יְדַבֵּ֑רוּ Jeremiah 23:16 a prophecy of their own hearts (minds) they speak; חֲזוֺן שֶׁקֶר וְקֶסֶם אֱלִיל וְתַרְמִית לִבָּם הֵמָּה מִתְנַבְּאִים Jeremiah 14:14 FALSE vision and (see אֱלִיל) worthless divination & deceit of their own hearts they are prophesying; ׳כתב ח write the vision Habakkuk 2:2; also Hosea 12:11; Habakkuk 2:3; Proverbs 29:18; Ezekiel 7:13 (strike out Co).

  4. vision, as title of book of prophecy, ספר חזון נחוּם Nahum 1:1; ישׁעיהו ׳ח Isaiah 1:1; עבדיה ׳ח Obadiah; of other writings of prophets 2 Chronicles 32:32.

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