Proverbs Reading Challenge – Proverbs 12

PROVERBS 12 – Words to the Wise

 Good afternoon.   I am praying for you. Thanks taking time in God’s word. Proverbs 12 has a lot to say about the words we speak.

12:1–2— These verses deal with behavior ( 12:1) and its reward or punishment (12:2).

If you don’t want to learn, years of schooling will teach you very little. But if you want to be taught, there is no end to what you can learn. This includes being willing to accept discipline and correction and to learn from the wisdom of others. A person who refuses constructive criticism has a problem with pride. Such a person is unlikely to learn very much.

(12:3) To be established means to be successful. Real success comes only to those who do what is right. Their efforts stand the test of time. Then, what kind of success does wickedness bring? We all know people who cheated to pass the course or to get a larger tax refund — is this not success? And what about the person who ignores his family commitments and mistreats his workers but gets ahead in business? These apparent successes are only temporary. They are bought at the expense of character. Cheaters grow more and more dishonest, and those who hurt others become callous and cruel. In the long run, evil behavior does not lead to success; it leads only to more evil. Real success maintains personal integrity. If you are not a success by God’s standards, you have not achieved true success.

(12:4). Someone has said, “In life you can have a nest egg ($) or a goose egg (0) it all depends on the chick you marry” That definitely speaks of a wife’s spending habits but it is true of her behavior as well.  A man can hold his head up high because of his wife or be reduced to sickness and strife by the way she acts.

(12:5–7). These three proverbs follow a logical progression: the righteous make plans that are just, but the wicked scheme with deceitful counsel (v. 5); the wicked attempt to ambush the righteous with their lies, but the righteous are delivered by their integrity (v. 6); the wicked are totally destroyed, but the righteous stand secure (v. 7).

(12:8). Respect is gained by wisdom. The term here implies integrity and capacity to deal with problems in life.

(12:9–11). Verse 9, better to be nobody with something that to pretend you’re somebody and have nothing. Today we would say, “Don’t go bankrupt trying to keep up with the Jones, be thankful for what you have.”   Verse 10 teaches that a good man cares for those who provide for him, even if they are only animals. The wicked only exploit. Verse 11 teaches that prosperity comes by hard work rather than by chasing fantasies and schemes.

(12:12–14). These verses use two descriptions of gathering food: hunting with snares (symbolizing the wicked) and laboring to raise crops (symbolizing the righteous). The wicked are always looking for ways to defraud people (v. 12a) but are trapped by their own schemes (v. 13a). The righteous, however, allow their prosperity to grow gradually from deep, strong roots (v. 12b), escape the traps set for them (v. 13b), and see their way of life (“fruit of his lips”) yield a bountiful harvest (v. 14).

(12:15). Fools are so sure of themselves that they never seek advice, but the wise readily seek it out. Those who think they know it all are foolish, but those who look for guidance and knowledge are wise

(12:16–22).  The Use and Abuse of Words  

Here’s an outline:

  • Thoughtless reactions (v. 16)
  • Honesty and lying (v. 17)
  • Reckless words (v. 18)
  • Honesty and lying (v. 19)
  • Plotting evil and promoting peace (v. 20)
  • Trouble to the wicked, not the righteous (v. 21)
  • Honesty and lying (v. 22)

The characteristics of fools described these verses are that (a) they react thoughtlessly to real or imagined insults and hurt others with careless words (vv. 16–18), (b) they are liars but will found out and punished by God (vv. 17, 19, 22), and (c) they scheme and deceive but only bring trouble on their own heads (vv. 20 -21). The wise, however, (a) react with patience in the face of insults and heal others with their words (vv. 16, 18), (b) are honest and gain long life and divine favor (vv. 17, 19, 22), and (c) seek the well-being of others and obtain the same for themselves (vv. 20–21). The text stresses the importance of the right use of the power of words (i.e., the benefit of all concerned).

(12:23–28)  A Wholesome Life

The six proverbs of this section do not have a single theme but de-scribe types of activity that may promote or undermine a wholesome life. One should be cautious in both speech and the choosing of friends (vv. 23, 26), hard-working (vv. 24, 27 ), and able to control stress (v. 25 ). The result of such behavior is joy in life. (v. 28)

Careful people show their caution both in the words they speak and the friends they choose (vv. 23, 26). Someone who is careful in what he says will be equally careful about whom he confides in. In vv. 24 and 27 the very serious matter of one’s diligence determining whether one will be a master or a slave is linked to a humorous proverb that shows a lazy man to be foolish enough to go to the trouble of hunting game but then be too lazy lack to get around to roasting it (and lets it go to waste). Verses 25 and 28 exploit the richness of the biblical usage of the word “life,” which includes joy and fulfillment as well as eternal life.

Let’s not forget the power of our words, either to hurt or bring life.  Until tomorrow, Darrell


Life Application Bible Notes
Matthew Henry Concise Bible Commentary
New American Commentary

About dkoop

Lead Pastor of Upwards Church: Leander & Jarrell, TX
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