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Verse 1 contrasts attitudes toward corrective instruction. The wise person appreciates and welcomes correction because it enhances his knowledge. He that is above correction is brutish (dumb or stupid), Vs. 15; Proverbs 1-12; Luke 18:11.
Righteous Vs Wicked
Verse 2 repeats the principle set forth in Proverbs 11:7; Proverbs 11:27 that the LORD bestows favor on the righteous and condemns the wicked. See also Proverbs 14:9; Proverbs 14:35; Proverbs 19:12; 1 Samuel 22:21-22.
Verse 3 The righteous endure because they are securely planted upon an immovable foundation. The wicked are doomed because they refuse the stable foundation, Jesus Christ, Proverbs 10:25; Luke 6:47-49; 1 Corinthians 3:11; Acts 4:10-12.
Wife Of Honor Or Shame
Verse 4 portrays a wife as God intends her to be, a woman of strength and honor such as described Proverbs 31:10-31. In sharp contrast is the woman who brings shame on her husband and family by reason of immorality, sloth, contentions, brawlings, etc. Such is described as a rottenness or decay, as grievous as a rottenness of the bones, Vs 4; Proverbs 19:13; Proverbs 21:9; Proverbs 21:19: 1 Corinthians 6:13; 1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; 1 Timothy 5:14-15; Titus 2:4-5.
Verse 5 evaluates the thoughts (plans and intentions) of the righteous and the wicked. Those of the righteous are adjudged right, because they have been formulated in accord with the counsel of the LORD, as directed in Proverbs 16:9. The plans of the wicked are declared deceitful because they are designed to best serve their own interests, Proverbs 15:26; Proverbs 21:5. Compare 1 Kings 12:28; Nehemiah 6:2; Ezra 3:5-8; Matthew 2:8; Matthew 2:13. This lesson underscores the fact that the LORD; is keenly aware of every thought and plan. All should be submitted to and developed in accord with His counsel, Proverbs 16:3; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14.
The Power Of Words
Verse 6 emphasizes the power of words to help or harm. Words of the wicked, in the form of slander, suspicion, or gossip destroy as surely as the criminal who lies in wait to harm physically, Proverbs 11:9; Genesis 39:14-20; Micah 2:1; James 3:6-8; Matthew 15:18-19. In contrast is the power of words of the upright to comfort and guide, Proverbs 15:1; Proverbs 15:23; Proverbs 16:24; Proverbs 25:11; Proverbs 25:15; Isaiah 50:4.
Security Or Destruction
Verse 7 contrasts the enduring security of the righteous with the doom of the wicked. See comments on Proverbs 10:25; Proverbs 12:3.
Wisdom Vs Perversity
Verse 8 contrasts the respect accorded one who demonstrates good judgment with the contempt felt for a person of perverse mind, incapable of straight thinking. Compare 1 Samuel 25:3.
Honor Vs Shame
Verse 9 declares that the humble man who provides for himself is worthy of more esteem than the trifler who talks much of his greatness but lacks bread, Vs 11;Proverbs 13:7.
Kindness Vs Cruelty
Verse 10 reveals that the righteous man, himself a recipient of mercy, and aware of divine instructions, is considerate of his animals, Exodus 23:12; Deuteronomy 5:14; Jonah 4:11. In contrast is the wicked man, a rejecter of mercy, who is cruel even to his animals.
Honest Labor Vs Devious Schemes
Verse 11 contrasts the results of honest labor and worthless schemes to gain without work. Divine wisdom affirms that honest labor, though it be hard, will provide sufficient bread; but he that follows worthless schemes shall have poverty, Proverbs 10:4; Proverbs 13:4; Proverbs 28:19; Genesis 3:19; Genesis 26:12; 2 Thessalonians 3:10.
Verse 12 suggests that the wicked desire the excitement and expected unusual gain of the schemes of evil men (compare Proverbs 1:11-14; Proverbs 1:17-18); but worthwhile fruit is yielded to the righteous, Vs 2, 3, 7; Proverbs 8:35; Psalms 1:3.
Sins of Speech
Verse 13 warns that the wicked are snared by the various forms of evil speaking - lying, rash statements, slander, tale-bearing, etc. Proverbs 10:14; Proverbs 18:7; 2 Peter 2:9; Revelation 21:8; Matthew 12:36-37, relate this snare to terrifying destruction, anticipated and eventually actual. In blessed contrast is the promise of deliverance of the just from this troublesome sin. In life they are delivered by confession and forgiveness, Psalms 32:5; 1 John 1:9; and by abstaining from such sin through the power of Christ to deliver from temptation, 2 Peter 2:9. They are delivered from the eternal consequences through the atoning sacrifice of Christ, Isaiah 53:6; Titus 2:14.
Reaping What Is Sown
Verse 14 repeats the principle of reaping as has been sown. It is applied here to both words and deeds. See also comment on Proverbs 11:17.
Mr. Always Right
Verse 15 identifies the person who is always right as a fool. A wise person will consider the counsel of others, Proverbs 11:14; Proverbs 15:22; Proverbs 24:6.
Verse 16 portrays the foolishness of the quick-tempered person who explodes into an abusive rage on the slightest provocation. In contrast is the prudent man who exercises self-control and ignores abusive words, Proverbs 9:7-8; Proverbs 29:11; Proverbs 10:12.
The Power Of Words
Verse 17 declares that words reveal character. The speaker of truth manifests righteousness; but the speaker of falsehood shows deceitfulness, Proverbs 14:5; Exodus 23:1; 2 Kings 5:22-27.
Verse 18 emphasizes that words have the power to hurt or heal, Psalms 57:4; Psalms 59:7; Psalms 64:3; Proverbs 15:23; Proverbs 25:11; Isaiah 50:4; 2 Corinthians 7:13.
Verse 19 emphasizes that truth is imperishable; but a lying tongue will reap as it sows and will in due time be punished, Psalms 119:142; Psalms 146:6; Proverbs 19:5; Psalms 52:2-5; Revelation 21:8; Revelation 22:15.
Honor Or Shame
Verse 20 suggests that there is deceit or treachery in the heart of those who plan evil (Jacob’s swindle of Esau is one example, Genesis 27:35); but there is joy in the heart of those who make plans for the peace and well being of others, Matthew 5:9.
Verse 21 assures divine protection for the just who live according to God’s rules, Proverbs 1:33; Psalms 91:10; Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28; 2 Peter 2:9. The wicked who live in contempt of God shall be filled with mischief (evil) and He will deal with them appropriately in His own time, Proverbs 11:5; Proverbs 12:7; Isaiah 48:22.
Verse 22: See comments on Proverbs 11:20.
Verse 23: See comments on Proverbs 10:14.
Diligence Vs Slothfulness
Verse 24 affirms that the diligent worker will prosper and advance to positions of authority, but the slothful man who deceitfully slows his pace will remain poor and dependent, 1 Kings 11:28; Proverbs 6:6-11; Proverbs 10:4; Proverbs 13:4; Proverbs 24:30-34.
Anxiety Vs Encouragement
Verse 25 declares that worry or anxiety weighs heavily upon, depresses, the heart (mind) of man (Nehemiah 1:2-4; 2 Samuel 18:33); but a good word will lift and gladden the downcast, Isaiah 50:4; Genesis 45:27; Daniel 6:18-23.
Influence Good Or Bad
Verse 26 suggests that the righteous is a guide or good example to his neighbor; but the way of the wicked causes the neighbor to stray, Proverbs 10:11; Proverbs 16:9.
Sloth Vs Diligence
Verse 27 suggests that the lazy man is too negligent to use good that is available to him; but the diligent man appreciates the worthwhile and puts it to good use, Proverbs 13:16.
Life Without Death
Verse 28 affirms that in the way of righteousness is life, and in that pathway is no hopeless death such as awaits the wicked. Compare Proverbs 4:18; Proverbs 8:35; Psalms 23:4 with Proverbs 11:7; Proverbs 14:32; Luke 16:19-26.
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Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Proverbs 12". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany