ESV - 30 Whoever winks his eyes plans dishonest things; he who purses his lips brings evil to pass.
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When you read the Bible, you have to remember that you're dealing not only with a foreign language(s), but also with ancient languages. There are idioms- figures of speech and word-plays- in the ancient languages that we may still not be able to completely understand and that even the best translators struggle with. Idioms are still very common today. For instance, where I come from, if I say that my cow "kicked the bucket," I probably mean that the cow died. That's a common idiom; it's meaning isn't literal. Similarly, people in the past had their own ways of expressing things in non-literal ways. When you come upon a confusing passage such as this, consult many translations and the context around the verse. Other verses around this one talk of men devising evil schemes and trying to hurt their neighbors with gossip and violence. In general from what I found, the "wink" could be translated either as a wink-perhaps to another criminal or conspirator- or "shutting the eyes"- perhaps to dream up a scheme. Pursing the lips (compressing or puckering the lips) is apparently another idiom. In some translations it seems to mean concealing something- perhaps evil plans- or being deeply in thought devising evil. Proverbs is about how to live a wise lifestyle and avoid wrongdoing. To me, what we can basically gather from this is that it's wrong to make wicked plans and dream up evil schemes to hurt others.
The one who winks his eyes 1 devises perverse things, and 2 one who compresses his lips 3 brings about 4 evil. NET © Notes 1 sn The participle עֹצֶה (’otseh) describes one as shutting his eyes (cf. KJV, ASV). This could mean simply “closing the eyes,” or it could refer to “winking” (so many English versions). The proverb is saying that facial expressions often reveal if someone is plotting evil (e.g. Proverbs 6:13-14). He who winks עֹצֶ֣ה (‘ō·ṣeh) Verb - Qal - Participle - masculine singular Strong's Hebrew 6095: To fasten, to close his eye עֵ֭ינָיו (‘ê·nāw) Noun - cdc | third person masculine singular Strong's Hebrew 5869: An eye, a fountain 2 tn The conjunction “and” does not appear in the Hebrew but is implied by the synonymous parallelism. 3 tn The participle קֹרֵץ (qorets) indicates that the person involved is pinching, compressing, or biting his lips (cf. NIV “purses his lips”). he who purses קֹרֵ֥ץ (qō·rêṣ) Verb - Qal - Participle - masculine singular Strong's Hebrew 7169: To pinch, to bite the lips, blink the eyes, to squeeze off 4 tn The verb is a Piel perfect; it means “complete, finish, bring to an end.” The two colas may form the whole process: The first line has “to devise” evil, and the second has “he completes” evil. BDB, however, classifies this use of the Piel as “to accomplish in thought” meaning “to determine” something (BDB 478 s.v. כָּלָה 1f). he who purses קֹרֵ֥ץ (qō·rêṣ) Verb - Qal - Participle - masculine singular Strong's Hebrew 7169: To pinch, to bite the lips, blink the eyes, to squeeze off In that case, the 2 lines would have synonymous ideas, i.e., using facial expressions to plan evil actions. Charles Ryrie writes winking and “moving his lips” (KJV) “conveys an expression of malice without words. Much evil and perversity can be disseminated without a word being spoken.” Further “to make insinuations” could be the meaning of “winking with their eye” (NIV) – See also Prov. 6:13; 10:10. (NIV Study Bible). http://classic.net.bible.org/bible.php?book=Pro&chapter=16&tab=arts “He winks his eye to devise perverse things; He purses his lips and brings about evil.” (Proverbs 16:30) a. He winks his eye to devise perverse things: This is likely connected to the previous verse. The violent man of Proverbs 16:29 may entice his neighbor as he winks his eye, treating it as a light and clever thing to devise perverse things. Winks his eye…purses his lips: “Often people who are planning wicked things betray themselves with malicious expressions. Two expressions are depicted here: winking the eye and pursing the lips. Facial expressions often reveal whether someone is plotting something evil.”
The one who winks his eyes, 1) devises perverse things, and, 2) one who compresses his lips brings about evil. My understanding is that both of these are related. Winking your eyes is the same as “turning a blind eye.” A lot of the time when we turn a blind eye to someone else’s sin, it is for our own carnal gain. When we purse our lips, I imagine it’s talking about in the same manner as turning a blind eye. For example, choosing not to verbally correct a child for their sinful behaviour because you just don’t feel like putting the work in that moment. You’re both turning a blind eye to something that needs correcting, and you’re also making a conscious choice not to verbally address it. Both of these things bring about evil and perversion. Both for you, and the neighbor who you are not loving by acting in this manner.
Winking eyes, pursing lips, and pointing fingers are all literal actions. There's nothing figurative about it. The word is referring to perverse or evil body language. The intent is to mock a person or threaten a person or let a person know that they are enjoying a person's calamity. For example, let's say a person trips another. When the individual looks up, the person who tripped them winks their eye. Let's say someone commits violence to another and goes to jail. During trial, the person points at the witness who testifies against them to indicate retaliation "You're next". It's considered to be an unspoken threat. It's an action or body language that indicates a wicked heart.
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