Ellipses


An ellipses is when something is left out of a statement, leaving it to the reader to fill in the gap. This makes the reader actively involved in understanding the points being made. Thus, a comparison is made to something that is not said.


Proverbs 11:2

When pride comes, then comes dishonor,
But with the humble is wisdom.


Clearly the lines are antithetic, pride is the opposite of humility, but dishonor and wisdom are not opposites. The opposite of dishonor is glory and the opposite of wisdom is foolishness. If you add in the opposites, then you realize that with pride comes foolishness because the a proud person doesn’t think he needs to learn and that foolishness leads to dishonor. However with humility is a willingness to learn, which leads to wisdom and that in turn leads to glory.


Proverbs 11:28

He who trusts in his riches will fall,
But the righteous will flourish like foliage.


Again, we have what appears to be an antithetic, fall and flourish can be opposites, but “trusts in his riches” is not the opposite of “righteous.” Adding in the opposites tells us that the wicked trusts in his riches, and as a result will fall. The righteous do not trust in riches and as a result will flourish like foliage. Trees lose their leaves, but they put on new leaves. In the same way, the righteous will suffer set backs, but will come back.


Proverbs 24:16

For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again,
But the wicked shall fall by calamity.


Notice that the righteous and the wicked are opposites. “May fall” and “shall fall” are similar, though different, but there is no parallel to “rise again.” Extending the missing phrase, we realize that when the wicked fall, there is no rising again.


In Proverbs 11:1-13 we find a long series of contrasts between the wicked and the righteous, but in the middle of this series Proverbs 11:7 only speaks about the wicked:


When a wicked man dies, his expectation will perish,
And the hope of the unjust perishes.


The implication is that the opposite is true for the righteous. When a righteous man dies, his expectations are fulfilled and his hope lives on.