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Mishlei 18-19 (Brotherhood)

Key Concepts of Mishlei 18-19 (Brotherhood)
People who are granted the privilege of sharing their youthful years with brothers or sisters don’t give much thought to the powerful forces that can affect such a relationship. Hidden beneath the surface of comradeship and instinctive goodwill there is the potential for intense love born of a shared identity. At the same time there is the surprising potential of intense and lasting hatred born of envy and resentment.
These powerful emotions are inherent in the circumstance of the sibling relationship. They are brought into actuality when the right conditions are present, such as when a brother or sister is in desperate need or when there is an inheritance to be shared.
To make us aware of the strange forces that can affect any sibling relationship, Mishlei has presented us with a unique proverb that is subject to conflicting interpretations. This awareness can help an individual understand why he is instinctively reacting as he does and enable him to more effectively exert self-control so that his actions are governed by his wisdom.
Exploring Mishlei
(יט) אָח נִפְשָׁע מִקִּרְיַת עֹז וּמִדְיָנִים כִּבְרִיחַ אַרְמוֹן:
(1) [Even] a wronged brother [is more reliable] than a fortified city; and though they quarrel, [their loyalty is strong] like the locking bolt of a palace .
(2) [The enmity of] a wronged brother [is more unyielding] than a fortified city; and when they quarrel, [their alienation is enduring] like the locking bolt of a palace .
The proverb draws our attention to a triggering event that has caused an individual to be tested by the conflicting forces of brotherhood. That event occurs when he perceives himself to have been wronged ( נִפְשָׁע ). When a brother feels wronged, the resentment can promote enmity or can lead him to draw on the reserves of love or duty that enable him to overcome resentment.
The effect of having been wronged is compared to a fortified city ( קִרְיַת עֹז ), whose walls have been strengthened to withstand external threats. If fraternal love or duty overcomes resentment (1) the bother’s devotion is more reliable than a fortified city. But if the brother’s enmity is spurred by his resentment (2) it is more unyielding than a fortified city.
If brothers get caught up in ongoing quarrels ( מִדְיָנִים ), the effect is compared to the locking bolt ( בְּרִיחַ ) in the front door of a palace ( אַרְמוֹן ). If the strength of their fraternal loyalty is as strong as a locking bolt (1) it can overcomes the quarrels and peace will resume. But if the brothers are unable to forgive each other, their enmity will continue to endure like the strength of the locking bolt (2).
Learning Mishlei
(יט) אָח נִפְשָׁע מִקִּרְיַת עֹז 
וּמִדְיָנִים כִּבְרִיחַ אַרְמוֹן:
(1) Even a wronged brother — אָח נִפְשָׁע is more reliable than a fortified city — מִקִּרְיַת עֹז ; and though they quarrel — וּמִדְיָנִים their loyalty is strong like the locking bolt of a palace  כִּבְרִיחַ אַרְמוֹן .
(2) The enmity of a wronged brother — אָח נִפְשָׁע is more unyielding than a fortified city קִרְיַת עֹז ; and when they quarrel  וּמִדְיָנִים their alienation is everlasting like the locking bolt of a palace  כִּבְרִיחַ אַרְמוֹן which separates those on the inside of the palace from those on the outside.
Additional Insights
A typical source of conflict between brothers occurs in a situation involving the distribution of an inheritance. The risks of misunderstanding and ill will are especially great because each party has such high expectations of the strength of his case, thinking of it like a fortified city. And yet the ruling in a court of law may bar him from what he thinks of as being rightfully his, just as a locking bolt keeps out intruders from a palace. For this reason, instead of relying on human judges, it is often advisable to let the matter be settled by the casting of a lot, as suggested in the previous proverb.( מלבים )