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Wednesday, June 19th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Proverbs 12

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Verse 1

Pro 12:1

Proverbs 12:1

"Whoso loveth correction loveth knowledge; But he that hateth reproof is brutish."

"The lover of knowledge will take pleasure in the Bible, in sermons, and in conversation with good people." No man is really wise who does not know and love the Bible. "He loveth correction who loveth knowledge, and he hateth instruction who is without reason."

Proverbs 12:1. This 12th chapter is another entire chapter with two statements per verse, usually contrasting statements and usually a contrast between the righteous and the wicked (as in Proverbs 12:2-3; Proverbs 12:5-7; Proverbs 12:10; Proverbs 12:12-13; Proverbs 12:17; Proverbs 12:20-22). This verse connects correction and knowledge, showing that we learn through correction. The new worker has everything explained at first; he remembers most of the instructions, but he makes a mistake; the foreman re-shows him the part he had forgotten, and he now knows how to do it. The major league hires batting coaches to help players with their batting (often through correcting something about their present stance, holding the bat, or swing). Yes, correction here means rebuke (see the last statement of the verse). On “brutish” Pulpit Commentary says: “Insensible to higher aspirations, to regret for the past and hope of amendment, as a brute beast.” A sad fact: more people hate reproof than love correction (John 3:19-21; 1 Kings 22:8; Amos 5:10).

Verses 1-28

Pro 12:1-28

Solomon continues to Contrast the Wise and Wicked

(Proverbs 12:1-28):

"Whoso loveth correction loveth knowledge; But he that hateth reproof is brutish" (Proverbs 12:1). Chapter 12 delivers 24 "but" contrast between the wise and foolish. Solomon had earlier written, "Reprove not a scoffer, lest he hate thee: Reprove a wise man, and he will love thee" (Proverbs 9:8). No scolding is very pleasant to take yet the wise know the value of such words from a loving brother (see Hebrews 12:11). The sloth, arrogant, and foolish cannot stand to be told that they are wrong or that something needs to be changed in their life. The foolish thereby react to scolding or exposing their error by violence, anger, and hate. The character of humility and a love of truth is to be instilled within the hearts of the young. The next chapter focuses on the training of a child and the consequence of a parent’s negligence.

"A good man shall obtain favor of Jehovah; But a man of wicked devices will he condemn. A man shall not be established by wickedness; But the root of the righteous shall not be moved" (Proverbs 12:2-3). We have seen who it is that God delights or favors in this study. The Lord delights in wisdom (Proverbs 8:30), the just man who deals fairly with others (Proverbs 11:1), the perfect (Proverbs 11:20), and latter in this chapter we will see that God delights in those who speak words of truth (Proverbs 12:22). Those who do things that cause the Lord grief or anger will be eternally condemned and never established in the earth.

"A worthy woman is the crown of her husband; But she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones" (Proverbs 12:4). We shall build the case of the "worthy woman" from this study. As we compile acceptable and unacceptable behavior in an approved woman of God we shall be better equipped to study Proverbs 31:10 ff. Solomon has previously said, "A gracious woman obtains honor..." (Proverbs 11:16). God’s approved woman is kind and courteous to all. The worthy woman will not be wily of heart nor clamorous with her mouth so that she would bring shame to herself and her husband (Proverbs 7:9-12). The worthy woman will be one of discretion rather than acting shameful (see Proverbs 11:22). We have seen that discretion belongs to the wise and the wise are not slothful (Proverbs 6:6-11) and neither would she be heard speaking words of gossip or perversion (Proverbs 6:12). This woman will be greatly concerned about the spiritual welfare of her children (Proverbs 10:1). The worthy woman is now likened unto a "crown of her husband." The husband may confidently be identified as this woman’s husband because his heart totally trust her. She does not do things that would bring the both of them shame such as flirt and commit adultery with other men (see Proverbs 7:17-20). The woman who lacks discretion, lacks kindness, and is flirtatious is an embarrassment and rottenness in the bones of her husband.

"The thoughts of the righteous are just; But the counsels of the wicked are deceit. The words of the wicked are of lying in wait for blood; But the mouth of the upright shall deliver them. The wicked are overthrown, and are not; But the house of the righteous shall stand" (Proverbs 12:5-7). More contrast between the righteous and wicked are given. The righteous are just (i.e., concerned about doing things lawfully, right, and fair) where as the wicked give not a second thought to unlawfulness, wronging others, and being unfair (see Ezekiel 18:5-9). Consider the great contrast between the just and wicked. The just do not even think wickedness whereas the wicked not only think evil but give foolish and sinful council to others. Not only are the thoughts of the wise just but also their words. The foolish wicked man is known for his lies and perversion. No one can trust the fool. Man commends the wise for their work and accomplishments but the perverted are despised by even the general public.

"A man shall be commended according to his wisdom; But he that is of a perverse heart shall be despised. Better is he that is lightly esteemed, and hath a servant, Than he that honoreth himself, and lacketh bread" (Proverbs 12:8-9). The idea of being "lightly esteemed" is that of people’s view toward you being unimportant or without much value. The wise will have no trouble with those of the world viewing him as unimportant or without much value. The wise man knows that his hard work and just ways will bring fruit in this life and the life to come. While the wicked may not think much of the wise the just man will make manifest his value by the servants he has. Another benefit of righteous living is "servants" (an obvious sign that the wise man is doing well financially). Solomon had earlier wrote, "The fear of Jehovah is to hate evil: Pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the perverse mouth, do I hate" (Proverbs 8:13). Again, he writes, "When pride comes then comes shame but with the lowly is wisdom" (Proverbs 11:2). Those filled with pride and arrogance love to talk about themselves and bring glory and honor to themselves with their swelling braggadocios words. Such are identified with the simple and shall one day lack bread due to busying themselves with everything but the necessities of life. The point being that if good and uplifting things are to be said about you let others say it. It is nauseating to hear one tell how great he is.

"A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast; But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel" (Proverbs 12:10). Another distinguishing factor that separates the wise from the wicked is how they treat animals. There is obviously something not right in the mind of one who would kick a friendly dog that comes up to lick the hand. I can remember, growing up, kids beating on animals as though it were funny. Their cruelty certainly pains the hearts of the upright.

"He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread; But he that followeth after vain persons is void of understanding. The wicked desireth the net of evil men; But the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit. In the transgression of the lips is a snare to the evil man; But the righteous shall come out of trouble. A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth; And the doings of a man’s hands shall be rendered unto him" (12:11-14). Once again the diligent worker is contrasted with the lazy sloth. Those who work shall have plenty but those who are lazy shall be in want of bread. Those "void of understanding" follow after worthless people (i.e., people who are sinful and speak with perverted lips (Proverbs 6:12), commit adultery (Proverbs 6:32), they are simple (Proverbs 7:7; Proverbs 9:4-6), despise their neighbors (Proverbs 11:12-13), and to them belong the rod upon the back (Proverbs 10:13). Wicked sinful men desire the lifestyles of evil men with lips filled with sinful things to say (they gravitate to each other). Not so with the just and righteous. The righteous stay out of trouble with their mouths but the wicked bring trouble to themselves. Whatever a man sows this will he also reap.

"The way of a fool is right in his own eyes; But he that is wise hearkeneth unto counsel. A fool’s vexation is presently known; But a prudent man concealeth shame. He that uttereth truth showeth forth righteousness; But a false witness, deceit. There is that speaketh rashly like the piercings of a sword; But the tongue of the wise is health. The lip of truth shall be established for ever; But a lying tongue is but for a moment" (Proverbs 12:15-19). The wise and fool are know by what governs them in life. The wise man gives heed to wise council yet the fool does whatever he deems to be right for his own self (that which governs him is his own will rather than the will of God). When the fool does shameful things he lets everyone know. Not so with the wise. A wise man who does a shameful thing would rather conceal it than announce it to the world as though it were some funny thing. The wise is ashamed of himself and quietly takes care of his sins with the Lord. The identity of the righteous is that they speak words of truth as opposed to the wicked who bear false testimony about. The man who throws caution to the wind and speaks rashly (recklessly or impetuously) with his mouth cut deep within the feelings of others (i.e., you may notice something embarrassing about someone and you just blurt it out). Such a man pierces or wounds others as though his mouth were a sword. The wise man; however, does nothing but encourage and cause others to be spiritually healthy.

"Deceit is in the heart of them that devise evil; But to the counsellors of peace is joy. There shall no mischief happen to the righteous; But the wicked shall be filled with evil" (Proverbs 12:20-21). Dishonesty and a cheating spirit governs the heart of the wicked. You cannot trust such a one as far as you could throw them. The upright shall experience peace and joy. The consequences of wise verses foolish choices is once again addressed. No mischief (trouble) comes to the lives of the wise; however, the wicked bring great trouble and evil to their lives and the lives of those connected to them.

"Lying lips are an abomination to Jehovah; But they that deal truly are his delight" (Proverbs 12:22). We have seen many things that are an abomination (things that God hates). Solomon reveals that a perverse heart (Proverbs 3:30-31; Proverbs 11:20), wickedness (Proverbs 8:7), a false balance (Proverbs 11:1), and the seven things of Proverbs 6:16-19). To this list we now add "lying lips" (Proverbs 12:22). We have also seen many things that are God’s delight (see notes above at Proverbs 12:2-3).

"A prudent man concealeth knowledge; But the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness" (Proverbs 12:23). The knowledge under consideration is likely the knowledge of private affairs of other people. The "prudent" (i.e., wise man of discretion and foreknowledge) doesn’t go telling everything he knows about a person. The fool has no problem proclaiming all that he knows whether it be truth or lies.

"The hand of the diligent shall bear rule; But the slothful shall be put under taskwork" (Proverbs 12:24). Those with a diligent work ethic will be the bosses, superintendents, supervisors, company presidents, vice presidents etc. Many of the slothful will be the servants who work under the diligent workers of prudence and discretion.

"Heaviness in the heart of a man maketh it stoop; But a good word maketh it glad. The righteous is a guide to his neighbor; But the way of the wicked causeth them to err" (Proverbs 12:25-26). There are times when we all get down about things. Our hearts stoop within us because of some bad news or bad events. The best medicine for someone whose heart is heavy is to say something good to them that will make them glad to be alive and happy for the blessings we have. The righteous speak words of truth and wise guidance to his neighbor; however, the wicked say things that make them go in the paths of error.

"The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting; But the precious substance of men is to the diligent" (Proverbs 12:27). There is nothing to roast because he brings nothing back from a hunting trip. He rolls on his bed like a door upon it hinges. This man will not get up and get busy. The wise and diligent man does do the necessary things to put food on the table and so his substance is precious.

"In the way of righteousness is life; And in the pathway thereof there is no death" (Peo 12:28). Those who are righteous, diligent in work, prudent, and exercise discretion in this life actually find true living. True living is not laziness and sinful living. The righteous, just, and wise will have more in this life than the sloth. They will enjoy life more because of their Godly approach. The wise man’s marriage will be happier because he trust his wife in all areas of life. The wise man’s heart will not be made heavy by foolish and sinful children. True living is being happy, having a great marriage, having food on the table because of diligence, living righteously, just, and fair. This pathway never brings one to death.

Verse 2

Pro 12:2

Proverbs 12:2

"A good man shall obtain favor of Jehovah; But a man of wicked devices will he condemn."

"He that is good shall draw grace from the Lord; but he that trusteth in his own devices doth wickedly." This is only another way of saying that God will reward righteousness and condemn wickedness. This is the basic assumption of holy religion.

Proverbs 12:2. A “good” man obtains God’s favor, so does a righteous man (Genesis 7:1), and so does a wise man (Proverbs 8:35). Romans 5:7 draws a distinction between a “good” man and a “righteous” man. Righteousness has to do with doing right rather than wrong; goodness has to do with whether one is good to others or not. A man of wicked devices is neither right nor good. The first goal of life should be to obtain God’s favor. Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Daniel, and a host of others did—and we can. Ahab, Jezebel, Judas Iscariot, Ananias and Sapphira didn’t—and many today don’t.

Verse 3

Pro 12:3

Proverbs 12:3

"A man shall not be established by wickedness; But the root of the righteousness shall not be moved."

"A man cannot make himself secure by wickedness, nor can the good man’s roots be disturbed." No project, nor any man, can be securely established upon anything other that righteousness. The great merchant princes of America have all been men of integrity. Wickedness does not work, not even in business.

Proverbs 12:3. Compare this verse with Proverbs 12:7 and Proverbs 10:25. A tree is something that is “established”; it is there from year to year. So are the righteous, but the wicked are often cut off (Psalms 37:1-2). Saul and his house lost out through disobedience (1 Samuel 15:23). David’s house was established through obedience (2 Samuel 7:12-16). Wickedness may prosper for the moment but not forever (consider Ananias and Sapphira of Acts 5:1-10 ad Haman of Esther 5:11-12; Esther 7:8).

Verse 4

Pro 12:4

Proverbs 12:4

"A worthy woman is the crown of her husband; But she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones."

"A good wife is her husband’s pride and joy; but a wife who brings shame on her husband is like a cancer in his bones." The Coverdale Bible translated this place, "A stedfast woman is a crowne unto her hussbonde, but she that behaveth herself unhonestly is a corruption in his bones."

Proverbs 12:4. “Pulpit Commentary:” “A virtuous woman—one whose portrait is beautifully traced in Proverbs 31. The term is applied to Ruth in Ruth 3:11...As a crown to her husband, she is an honor to him, adorns and beautifies his life.” But there are wives who make their husbands ashamed (maybe by over-spending, maybe their neglect of the house or the children, maybe by their excessive talking, maybe by their immoral conduct, etc.).

Verse 5

Pro 12:5

Proverbs 12:5

"The thoughts of the righteous are just; But the counsels of the wicked are deceit."

"Honest people will treat you fairly; the wicked only want to deceive you." "Good people are fair and honest in the things they plan to do. But don’t trust the things an evil person tells you." Some of the renditions are surprising.

Proverbs 12:5. Everyone has thoughts. The righteous person’s thoughts reflect righteous thinking (“just”), but wicked people’s thoughts (“counsels expressed in advice”) are “deceit” and not sincere.

Verse 6

Pro 12:6

Proverbs 12:6

"The words of the wicked are of lying in wait for blood; But the mouth of the upright shall deliver them."

The antithetical contrast here regards the purpose of words: "The words of the wicked are for an evil purpose. Those of the righteous are for the purpose of delivering men."

Proverbs 12:6. This verse seems to be related to the previous verse. The “Thoughts” of people are put into “words” in which the wicked are out to overthrow, but the righteous are out to deliver. Jezebel used “deceit” and “words” to overthrow Naboth (1 Kings 21:7-14). See Proverbs 1:10-13 also.

Verse 7

Pro 12:7

Proverbs 12:7

"The wicked are overthrown, and are not; But the house of the righteous shall stand."

Toy’s rendition of this is: "The wicked are overthrown and vanish, but the house of the righteous stands." "We have here another assurance of the instability of evil."

Proverbs 12:7. Similar in message to Proverbs 12:3. In Proverbs 12:6 the wicked were out to overthrow others; in this verse they themselves are overthrown, and the righteous who in Proverbs 12:6 were out to deliver others are in this verse themselves established. Read the New Testament account of this (Matthew 7:24-27).

Verse 8

Pro 12:8

Proverbs 12:8

"A man shall be commended according to his wisdom; But he that is of a perverse heart shall be despised."

"A man is praised as he shows insight: a brainless creature is despised."" "A man is praised according to his wisdom, but men with warped minds are despised."

Proverbs 12:8. “David behaved himself wisely, and Saul set him over the men of war” (1 Samuel 18:5). A wise person will be looked to for leadership among the relatives, in the community, at work, and in the church. While the righteous and the wise are held in high respect, the wicked are despised (1 Samuel 25:17).

Verse 9

Pro 12:9

Proverbs 12:9

"Better is he that is lightly esteemed, and hath a servant, Than he that honoreth himself, and lacketh bread."

"It is better to be an ordinary man working for a living than to play the part of a great man but go hungry." "Better a man of low rank with a servant, than one who makes a show and has to do his own work."

Proverbs 12:9. Instead of “hath a servant”, some versions say “Serving himself” (“Septuagint”); “Tills for himself” (“American Bible Union version”) “amplified” speaks of working for his own support. “Pulpit Commentary”: “it is wiser to look after one’s own business and provide for one’s own necessities, even if thereby he meets with contempt and detraction, than to be in real want, all the time assuming the airs of a rich and prosperous man.”

Verse 10

Pro 12:10

Proverbs 12:10

"A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast; But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel."

A various reading for the second clause is, "The heart of the wicked is cruel," or "The heart of the wicked is without mercy." This proverb reflects the thought of the commandment that, "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn." (Deuteronomy 25:4).

Proverbs 12:10. A proverb for farmers, some of whom can be very cruel to their animals. Children should be taught not to torture nor abuse animals. As a child I learned:

Be kind to your animal,

For it cannot complain;

Be thoughtful when

Using the whip or the rein.

“Clarke:” “One principal characteristic of a holy man is mercy; cruelty is unknown to him, and his benevolence extends to the meanest of the brute creation. Pity rules the heart of a pious man; he can do nothing that is cruel. He considers what is best for the comfort, ease, health and life of the beast that serves him:” “Pulpit Commentary”: “God enacted that the rest of the sabbath should extend to the domestic animals (Exodus 20:10); that a man should help the overburdened beast even of his enemy (Exodus 23:5); that the unequal strength of the ox and ass should not be yoked together in the plough (Deuteronomy 22:10); that the ox should not be muzzled when he was treading out the corn (Deuteronomy 25:4); that the sitting bird should not be taken from her little brood (Deuteronomy 22:6), nor a kid seethed in its mothers’ milk (Exodus 23:19), God was concerned over both man and animals in Nineveh’s threatened destruction (Jonah 4:11).” There seems to be irony is speaking of the “tender mercies” of the wicked as it labels them as “cruel”. All that some people know is cruelty but no tenderness.

Verse 11

Pro 12:11

Proverbs 12:11

"He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread; But he that followeth after vain persons is void of understanding."

It was a rural society that first received this proverb, a society in which the majority of people tilled the land for a living. The words `his land’ indicates ownership or occupancy of the land. "The `vain persons’ of the second clause may also be accurately rendered as `worthless pursuits.’" Some make up their own proverbs, as in this: "The man who tills his land will have plenty to eat, but the stupid spends his time chasing rainbows"!

Proverbs 12:11. Proverbs 28:19 is much like this verse. “Plenty” is the expected pay-off of work. The implication is that one who joins “vain fellows” (non-workers in this contrast) lacks understanding and will come to poverty. The elder son in the parable had plenty of bread, but the prodigal son who ran with useless people came to want (Luke 15:11-14; Luke 15:17; Luke 15:25-26).

Verse 12

Pro 12:12

Proverbs 12:12

"The wicked desireth the net of evil men; But the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit."

"The Hebrew here is obscure and meaningless in context; and the renditions are diverse. The KJV adds `fruit’ (retained in the ASV), the RSV follows the LXX, the Douay Version of the Bible (New York: Catholic Book Publishing Company, 1948), adds the word `fortification.’"

Proverbs 12:12. The wicked (thieves, embezzlers, kidnappers, cheaters, etc.) desire and try to obtain by evil ways, but they are usually caught and end up with nothing while the righteous (who honestly work for what they have) are fruitful in their honest labors (Psalms 1:3-4).

Verse 13

Pro 12:13

Proverbs 12:13

"In the transgression of the lips is a snare to the evil man; But the righteous shall come out of trouble."

Christ said, "By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned" (Matthew 12:37). "A wicked man is trapped by his own words, but an honest man gets himself out of trouble."

Proverbs 12:13. The “net of evil” men desired by the wicked in order to get dishonest gain here becomes a “snare” in which one himself is taken. A liar’s memory is not always good enough to keep him from contradicting himself and thus getting himself into trouble (Proverbs 18:7), but the truthful, forthright speech of the righteous brings them out of difficulties.

Verse 14

Pro 12:14

Proverbs 12:14

"A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth; And the doings of a man’s hands shall be rendered unto him."

"A person is rewarded because of the good things that he says; and in the same way the work he does gives him profit." One of the best ways to oil the gears of human relations, to make friends and influence people, is simply that of saying nice, friendly, complimentary and gracious things to the people with whom we are in daily contact.

Proverbs 12:14. Compare Proverbs 13:2 for a similar statement. One who has answered kindly is satisfied with the peace that results (Proverbs 15:1). A good man’s “doings” will also bring him blessings (Luke 6:38; Proverbs 31:28-31).

Verse 15

Pro 12:15

Proverbs 12:15

"The way of a fool is right in his own eyes; But he that is wise hearkeneth unto counsel."

"The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice."

Proverbs 12:15. A fool knows little, actually not enough to know that he might be wrong, actually too little to seek out the advice of one who does know. Both testaments tell us not to be wise in our own eyes (Proverbs 3:7, Romans 12:16). A wise man can (and will) be warned, but a fool will go on his own way, not seeing his error, and will suffer for it (Proverbs 22:3; Proverbs 27:12).

Verse 16

Pro 12:16

Proverbs 12:16

"A fools vexation is presently known; But a prudent man concealeth shame."

"A fool is quick to show annoyance, but a shrewd man retains his retort." "Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath" (James 1:19).

Proverbs 12:16. A writer has said: “A foolish man, if he is vexed, insulted, or slighted, has no idea of controlling himself or checking the expression of his aroused feelings; he at once....makes his vexation known.” The wise man keeps a cool head and copes with the problem rather than cursing. Proverbs 29:11 is a companion verse: “A fool uttereth all his anger; But a wise man keepeth it back and stilleth it.”

Verse 17

Pro 12:17

Proverbs 12:17

"He that uttereth truth showeth forth righteousness; But a false witness, deceit."

"Most of the proverbs in the rest of this chapter deal with the tongue. There are a hundred verses in this whole book that deal, one way or another, with the use of the tongue." It may be a source of life or death. The sacred writer James devotes the greater part of his James 3 to the truth regarding the tongue. It is like a wild beast that cannot be tamed; it must be bridled and controlled. "The reference here is to the depositions of witnesses before a legal tribunal."

Proverbs 12:17. Truth and righteousness are properly associated together (1 Kings 3:6; Isaiah 48:1; Zechariah 8:8). Christians are to have their loins girt about with the “truth” and are to have on the breastplate of “righteousness” (Ephesians 6:14). One speaks truth who has an eye to righteousness, but one who is untrue utters deceit (Proverbs 14:5). We are commended before God by speaking right words but condemned before Him by speaking wrong words (Matthew 12:37).

Verse 18

Pro 12:18

Proverbs 12:18

"There is that speaketh rashly like the piercings of a sword; But the tongue of the wise is health."

Toy’s rendition is: "Some men’s chatter is like sword-thrusts, but the tongue of the wise is healing."

Proverbs 12:18. A double contrast: “Speaketh rashly” vs. “tongue of the wise” and “like the piercings of a sword” vs. “health”. Rashness is always opposed to reason, for in rashness one speaks or acts before he thinks or beyond his thinking. Such a tongue can be like a destructive, cutting sword (Psalms 59:7; Psalms 64:3). Who hasn’t sometime been cut (even cut down) by the thoughtless words of others? And yet speech can perk one up (Proverbs 12:25), actually build one up. “Edify” means to “build up”, and speech can be edifying (Ephesians 4:29).

Verse 19

Pro 12:19

Proverbs 12:19

"The lip of truth shall be established forever; But a lying tongue is but for a moment."

"True lips establish testimony; but a hasty witness has an unjust tongue." The permanence of truth as contrasted with error is stated here. "Truth crushed to earth shall rise again, But wounded error writhes in pain"

Proverbs 12:19. It is always right to speak the truth instead of lying, and in the long run it is profitable to have told the truth, for most lies are ultimately found out. Never misrepresent anybody or anything, and if misrepresented by others, remember and take comfort from the fact that in time the truth will be known. Men may have killed Jesus as if evil, but God raised Him as His own Son (Acts 2:23-24).

Verse 20

Pro 12:20

Proverbs 12:20

"Deceit is in the heart of them that are evil; But to the counselors of peace is joy."

"Injustice is the purpose of those who devise evil, but they whose plans promote well-being are just." It is evident that some of the renditions cited here have been achieved, either by emending the text, or by adjusting the clauses to form an antithesis. Others simply make a paraphrase, or even invent their own proverb. "Evil people always want to cause trouble, but people who work for peace will be happy."

Proverbs 12:20. Deceit in the hearts of those who devise evil is contrasted with the joy that is in the hearts of those whose counsel toward peace. Those who devise evil will do anything (lie, cheat, etc.) in order to accomplish their ends. Those who counsel peace have the good feeling of joy.

Verse 21

Pro 12:21

Proverbs 12:21

"There shall be no mischief happen to the righteous; But the wicked shall be filled with evil."

Toy preserved the form of the antithesis thus: "No mischief befalls the righteous, but the wicked are full of misfortune."

Proverbs 12:21. “Mischief” and “evil” here both mean calamity or difficulty. Other passages using “evil” in this way: Amos 3:6; Ecclesiastes 12:1. Had Jonah obeyed God, he would not have had the nightmarish experience he did (Jonah 1:1 to Jonah 2:6).

Verse 22

Pro 12:22

Proverbs 12:22

"Lying lips are an abomination to Jehovah; But they that deal truly are his delight."

This verse is quite similar to Proverbs 11:20, and our comments there are applicable here.

Proverbs 12:22. Strong verses against lying: Proverbs 6:17; Colossians 3:9; Revelation 21:8; Revelation 22:15. God is for truth-telling (Ephesians 4:25) and for sincerity (John 1:47).

Verse 23

Pro 12:23

Proverbs 12:23

"A prudent man concealeth knowledge; But the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness."

Keil’s rendition is: "A prudent man conceals knowledge, and a heart-fool proclaims imbecility." Moffatt has; "No cautious man blurts out all that he knows, but a fool comes out with his folly."

Proverbs 12:23. A triple contrast: “prudent” vs. “fools”; “concealeth” vs. “proclaimeth”; and “knowledge” vs. “foolishness.” Why would a prudent man conceal knowledge? “He is not wont to utter unadvisedly what he knows but waits for fitting opportunity, either from humility or wise caution” (“Pulpit Commentary”). In contrast “a foolish man cannot help exposing the stupid ideas that arise in his mind” (Pulpit Commentary”).

Verse 24

Pro 12:24

Proverbs 12:24

"The hand of the diligent shall bear rule; But the slothful shall be put under taskwork."

The mention of taskwork here reminds us that, "Forced labor was Solomon’s own inglorious introduction in Israel." We might add that it was also the sin that divided the kingdom and disrupted the reign of Rehoboam, Solomon’s son.

Proverbs 12:24. The diligent bear rule in the community, in business, in the church, etc. See these two classes in the Parable of the Pounds (Luke 19:12-24). Before Esau and Jacob were born, God predicted that the elder (Esau) would serve the younger (Jacob) (Genesis 25:23). Jacob was diligent (aggressive to get ahead, and he used every opportunity and every means at his disposal to do so), but Hebrews 12:16 calls Esau a “profane” person, who “for one mess of meat sold his own birthright”. What is God’s evaluation of diligence and indolence? “I love Jacob; but Esau I hated” (Malachi 1:2-3).

Verse 25

Pro 12:25

Proverbs 12:25

"Heaviness in the heart of a man maketh it stoop; But a good work maketh it glad."

"A word of terror disturbs the heart of a (righteous) man, but a good message will gladden him." In the first clause, the subject is anxiety; and the Savior, "Bids us beware of anxiety, and not to perplex ourselves with solicitude for the future (Matthew 6:34; 1 Peter 5:7)."

Proverbs 12:25. While a person’s own grief can make his heart heavy, a good word from someone else can cheer it up (Isaiah 50:4; Proverbs 12:18). Proverbs 15:13 treats both conditions of the heart.

Verse 26

Pro 12:26

Proverbs 12:26

"The righteous is a guide to his neighbor; But the way of the wicked causeth them to err."

Here again one’s obligation to his neighbor is stressed. The uncertainty of the Hebrew text here prompted this rendition: "A righteous man turns away from evil, but the way of the wicked leads them astray."

Proverbs 12:26. Here are two kinds of neighbors: a true neighbor (one who is a guide) and a bad neighbor (one who causes another to err). The second greatest commandment in the law of Moses and one also found in the new covenant: love your neighbor (Matthew 22:36-39; Romans 13:8). The law of love is to help one another (Galatians 6:2; Galatians 5:13); nor will love work injury to a neighbor (Romans 13:10).

Verse 27

Pro 12:27

Proverbs 12:27

"The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting; But the precious substance of men is to the diligent."

"The slothful man will not catch his prey, but the diligent man will get precious wealth." This, of course, is another `guess,’ based upon the uncertainty of the Hebrew text.

Proverbs 12:27. The slothful man may kill game, bring it home, lay it down, and not bother to roast it so that it might be eaten. Not so with the diligent to whom everything acquired is “precious” (valuable). Some people will never get ahead because of not taking care of what they have; others get ahead by taking care of everything they have.

Verse 28

Pro 12:28

Proverbs 12:28

"In the way of righteousness is life; And in the pathway thereof, there is no death."

How could a proverb like this need any comment or explanation whatever?

Proverbs 12:28. Often the Hebrew poets restated the same thought in different words, such as here. This form emphasizes the fact that righteousness leads to life, not to death—a fact often taught in the Bible (Psalms 37:9; Psalms 37:11; Psalms 37:18; Psalms 37:29).

Proverbs of Solomon - Proverbs 12:1-28

Open It

1. Why do people gamble and play the lottery?

2. In what way is prudence encouraged or discouraged in our society?

3. What do you think of people who work hard?

Explore It

4. What does the person who loves discipline also love? (Proverbs 12:1)

5. How would you summarize the proverbs in this chapter? (Proverbs 12:1-28)

6. What is a firm foundation for life? a shaky foundation? (Proverbs 12:3)

7. How did Solomon distinguish a wife of noble character from a disgraceful one? (Proverbs 12:4)

8. What’s the difference between the words of the righteous and the words of the wicked? (Proverbs 12:5-6)

9. For what is a person praised? (Proverbs 12:8)

10. What did Solomon say about the person who chases fantasies? (Proverbs 12:11)

11. What is the result of sinful talk? (Proverbs 12:13)

12. To what does a wise man listen? (Proverbs 12:15)

13. What did Solomon say about reckless words and the tongue of the wise? (Proverbs 12:18)

14. In what sort of person does the Lord delight? (Proverbs 12:22)

15. What did Solomon say the prudent man did with his knowledge in contrast to what the fool does with his folly? (Proverbs 12:23)

16. How do the diligent and the lazy person differ? (Proverbs 12:24; Proverbs 12:27)

17. What kind of worker is a righteous person? (Proverbs 12:27)

18. What is one significant reward of being righteous? (Proverbs 12:28)

Get It

19. How can a person find life?

20. How do the things with which you are rewarded in life reflect the kind of person you are?

21. What does it mean to love discipline?

22. How is it that words can have power to harm people?

23. How can we use words to help people?

24. When have you praised someone according to his or her wisdom?

25. What sort of fantasies do people chase?

26. How does sinful talk trap a person?

27. Why does God delight in people who are truthful?

28. In what way is it prudent to keep your knowledge to yourself?

29. How is your life characterized by diligence or laziness?

30. In what areas do you need to work harder or more diligently?

Apply It

31. What foolish fantasy that you waste time pursuing will you stop chasing this week?

32. What is one step you will take to use words to heal and encourage others today?

33. What work will you do this week that you have been putting off?

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Proverbs 12". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/proverbs-12.html.
 
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