Proverbs 12



Proverbs of Solomon, Continued (12:1–28)

1–28 Verse 2: The Lord condemns a crafty man; here a “crafty” man is one who is devious and deceitful, who tries to trap others by clever talk.

Verse 4: The wife of noble character is described in Proverbs 31:10–31.

Verse 6: The words of the wicked—their false accusations—set traps by which they hope to destroy others. Good speech, on the other hand, keeps the upright out of trouble. We should note the great emphasis the book of Proverbs places on speech (see James 3:2–8). More damage has been done to homes and churches by ill-advised and evil speech than by any other means.

Verse 7: See Proverbs 10:25; Matthew 7:24–27.

Verse 9: Some people live beyond their means to show how “important and successful” they are; but soon they are reduced to poverty and hunger. It’s better to live humbly within one’s means and be able to enjoy the ordinary conveniences of life, such as having a servant.46

Verse 11: A steady, diligent worker will have enough to eat. But the person who chases fantasies—who schemes to get rich quick—is likely to lose everything; such a person lacks judgment.

Verse 12: The wicked desire the plunder of evil men; they desire the fruit of wickedness, the eating of which leads to death. However, the root of the righteous flourishes; like trees with deep roots, the righteous bear much fruit.

Verse 14: The person whose words are wise and godly will be filled with good things; he will be blessed from the fruit of his lips.

Verse 15: Fools are confident they are right and therefore don’t seek advice; the wise, on the other hand, always listen to the advice of others.

Verse 16: A prudent man overlooks an insult; that is, he demonstrates gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:23).

Verse 19: Truth endures. Lies are soon exposed; they last only a moment. The “moment” may last many years, but by God’s reckoning it is still only a moment (see 2Peter 3:8).

Verse 21: No harm befalls the righteous. Many proverbs give the impression that the righteous never have trouble, but that is a misunderstanding. What Scripture teaches is that righteous people may have trouble in this life but it will do them no ultimate harm; their standing with God can never be destroyed (see Romans 8:35,37–39).

Verse 23: The prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself. He doesn’t display his knowledge to show people how smart he is; rather, he shares his knowledge discreetly.

Verse 26: A righteous (wise) man chooses his friends cautiously. But the way of the wicked is to choose bad friends; thus the wicked are led astray even more.

Verse 27: The lazy man does not roast his game; he hunts it, but he is too lazy to cook it. He starts a project, but he is too lazy to finish it (see Proverbs 19:24).

Verse 28: Here it is stated that righteousness leads to life and immortality. We need to understand this statement in the light of the New Testament.47 This “righteousness” is not something we attain by our own effort; rather, it is a righteousness from God that comes through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:21–22). It is this righteousness, a gift of God’s grace, that leads to “immortality,” to eternal life. For further discussion on this important subject, see Word List: Eternal Life, Faith, Righteousness, Salvation.