Proverbs 20:12

12 Ears that hear and eyes that see— the LORD has made them both.

Proverbs 20:12 in Other Translations

King James Version (KJV)
12 The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.
English Standard Version (ESV)
12 The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the LORD has made them both.
New Living Translation (NLT)
12 Ears to hear and eyes to see— both are gifts from the LORD .
The Message Bible (MSG)
12 Ears that hear and eyes that see - we get our basic equipment from God!
American Standard Version (ASV)
12 The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, Jehovah hath made even both of them.
GOD'S WORD Translation (GW)
12 The ear that hears, the eye that sees-- the LORD made them both.
Holman Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
12 The hearing ear and the seeing eye- the Lord made them both.
New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
12 The LORD has made two things. He has made ears that hear. He has also made eyes that see.

Proverbs 20:12 Meaning and Commentary

Proverbs 20:12

The hearing ear, and the seeing eye
There may be an ear that hears not, and an eye that seeth not, and which men may make; the painter can paint an ear and an eye, and a carver can carve both; but they are ears that hear not, and eyes that see not, ( Psalms 115:5 Psalms 115:6 ) ; but such as can hear and see are of the Lord's own make; the Lord hath made even both of them;
they are the effects of his wisdom, power, and goodness; see ( Exodus 4:11 ) ( Psalms 94:7 Psalms 94:8 ) ; they are both senses of excellent use and service; great mercies and blessings of life, for which men should be abundantly thankful, and pray for the continuance of, and make use of to the best purposes; they are means of conveying much knowledge to the mind, and by which it may be cultivated and improved in it. The words may be considered in a figurative as well as a literal sense. Some by "the seeing eye" understand the civil magistrate, who is that to the body politic as the eyes are to the natural body, eminent in it, overlook it, watch and provide for its good, and against its hurt; see ( Numbers 10:31 ) ( Job 29:14-16 ) ; and by "the hearing ear" the obedient subject, that hearkens to the laws and directions of his governors, and cheerfully obeys them, and both these are of the Lord's making; civil magistracy is his ordinance, and civil magistrates are ordained by him; and from him they have their qualifications fitting them for their office; and it is owing to the overruling providence of God on the hearts of men that they are inclined to yield subjection to them. Others think that by the "seeing eye" are meant the ministers of the word, who are set in the highest place in the church; whose business it is to inspect, take the oversight of, and watch the souls of men; to pry and search into the truths of the Gospel, and show them to others: and by the "hearing ear" the hearers of the word, that receive it readily in the love of it, and heartily obey it. I am rather of opinion that one and the same sort of persons are intended; converted ones, who have the "hearing ear", who try what they hear by the word of God; understand what they hear, know it experimentally; can distinguish truth from error, approve and love the Gospel, receive it with all gladness and readiness, with eagerness and pleasure; keep it when they have it, and practise what they hear, and bring forth fruit to the glory of God: this they have not of themselves, being naturally averse to and dull of hearing, and even stop their ears to the truth; but it comes by the word, and is the Lord's work, and owing to his mighty power, who opens their ears, gives them new ears, which they have in regeneration; when they hear spiritually, profitably, pleasantly, comfortably, and to their great astonishment: these also have the "seeing eye", a sight of themselves, their sinful and lost estate; of the plague of their own hearts, their want of righteousness, and impotence to do anything that is good; a sight of Christ, of the loveliness of his person, of the fulness of his grace, of their need of him, and of his suitableness as a Saviour and Redeemer; and this is not of themselves, who are dark and darkness itself, but they are made light in the Lord; he opens their eyes by his spirit and by means of his word, which is a work of almighty power.

Proverbs 20:12 In-Context

10 Differing weights and differing measures— the LORD detests them both.
11 Even small children are known by their actions, so is their conduct really pure and upright?
12 Ears that hear and eyes that see— the LORD has made them both.
13 Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare.
14 “It’s no good, it’s no good!” says the buyer— then goes off and boasts about the purchase.

Cross References 1

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