There are different kinds of parallelism in the book of Proverbs and I would like to know which one is in Proverbs 18:22 and how it is translated in terms of its original audience and present significance.

Proverbs 18:22 NIV

He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.

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    – Dottard
    Nov 2, 2023 at 20:51

3 Answers 3


Prov 18:22 consists of just seven Hebrew words and literally translates as follows:

finds wife finds good & obtains favor from YHWH

Thus, the BSB & ESV (most other are similar) translates the implied "extra" words to make an idiomatic English version:

He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.

Apart from the first two pairs of words, there is little parallelism here unless one sets it out thus:

finds wife

finds good

& obtains favor from Jehovah

Set out thus, Prov 18:22 quintessential Hebrew synthetic parallelism. However, one might more helpfully simply call this an aphorism or maxim, similar in scope to one of the common English maxims, eg, "Happy wife, happy life." That is, a classic proverb.

Indeed, most of the proverbs in Prov 18 are of this extremely terse form where "parallelism" is questionable. However, there are many other longer "proverbs" elsewhere in Proverbs that are written in unquestionably parallel style, here is one of them:

Proverbs 24:5, 6 -

A wise man is strong,

and a man of knowledge enhances his strength.

Only with sound guidance should you wage war,

and victory lies in a multitude of counselors.

  • Who are the original recipients for whom the author intended the message .. Can we say any person who finds a wife or is it strictly limited to Israelites?
    – user60313
    Nov 2, 2023 at 20:56
  • @user60313 - the original proverb was written for the Hebrews. However, we are all aware that some marriages are unhappy and that some people should never marry. That is the subject of another question. This proverb is clearly intended for the "ideal" marriage.
    – Dottard
    Nov 2, 2023 at 21:02
  • @user60313 Unlike the most of the Biblical commandments which were intended for the Hebrews, the proverbs are general good advice that applies to anyone.
    – diyImma
    Apr 3 at 6:56

You can look up these verses.

findeth a wife

Prov 5:15-23; Prov 12:4; Prov 19:14; Prov 31:10-31; Gen 24:67; Gen 29:20; Gen 29:21; Gen 29:28; Eccl 9:9 Hos 12:12; 1Cor 7:2


Prov 3:4; Prov 8:35

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    – Community Bot
    Nov 3, 2023 at 13:52

Here is a sampling of the classic Hebrew commentators on this verse:

Metzudat David: A good wife will protect him from sinning, and therefore he will find God's favor.

Malbim reads the verse differently.

מצא אשה מצא טוב ויפק רצון

If he finds a good wife and also attains her favor, so they both see the good in each other


This is by the grace of God, and from Him.

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