Proverbs Chapter 6
We now turn to Chapter 6 of the Book of Proverbs. In this book we have two lectures with four subject matters or lessons. Therefore, we have the 13th and 14th of the 17 lectures of Chapters 1-8.
The first lecture in Chapter 6, beginning with “my son”, is found in vs. 1-19. In those verses there are three subject matters including:
Vs. 1-5, “Avoid Surety.”
Vs. 6-11, “Avoid Laziness.”
Vs. 12-19, “Avoid the Seven Sins hated by the Lord.”
Then in vs. 20-35, we have the second lecture to “my son”, which is the same topic just concluded in Chapter 5, “Avoid the Adulterous Woman”, and is somewhat interrupted here in 6:1-19. So the four topics that we will cover in Chapter 6 include:
Vs. 1-5, “Avoid Being Surety.”
Vs. 6-11, “Avoid Laziness.”
Vs. 12-19, “Avoid the Seven Sins hated by the Lord.”
Vs. 20-35, “Avoid Adultery.”
Similar to the potentiality of being caught in the snare of the adulterous woman’s power, the warnings of Chapter 6 are given so that we are not placed under the power of others who can rule over our lives, (i.e., those we have given ourselves as surety, our laziness, and our sins).
So besides the cautions about the adulterous woman, no one is prepared for life who has not learned some basic lessons on financial prudence, a meaningful work ethic, and moral precepts for dealing with society.
Therefore, we have in the first half of Chapter 6, Solomon stepping away from the larger exhortation, (of avoiding the adulterous woman who will enslave you with consequences, regrets, and Divine discipline), and teaching us in regard to three other specific areas of behavior that also have consequences and regrets.
That is why “book-ended” between by lectures against the adulterous woman in 5:1-23 and 6:20-35, the father here inserts as an appendix to Chapter 5, warnings against three progressively destructive types of men who also threaten their family’s heritage, in Chapter 6:1-19: surety, vs. 1-5, the sluggard, vs. 6-11, and the troublemaker, vs. 12-19.
The first two combine to exhort the value of wisdom in preserving from poverty, vs. 1-11, so we are warned against two practices that lead to poverty: foolish financial entanglements, vs. 1-5, and laziness, vs. 6-11.
Both pertain to finances because the former guards against unnecessary loss of what you already have earned, and the latter against the inability to earn any money at all.
As we will see, these “down-to-earth” wisdom pieces escalate the folly of man, whereas the surety and the sluggard harm themselves, the troublemaker harms others. The sluggard and the troublemaker are also connected by the concluding warnings that judgment “will come” suddenly; implicitly in vs. 11, and explicitly in vs. 15. Then, as in Prov 5:21, in Prov 6:16, it climactically brings in the LORD, to whom the troublemaker is an abomination and who is the final Judge of all.
Keep in mind that the one who becomes security for another and the sluggard are not wicked. Yet, in a potential progression, (the naiveté of the former and the laziness of the latter) can easily lead to the evil of the wicked in vs. 12-19.
The connections between the strange woman of Chapter 5 and the types of men in 6:1-19 shows that the father’s lectures have been arranged consciously and skillfully. The introductory point against becoming surety continues the theme of “self-induced misery” with its consequences and regrets while engaging with the adulterous woman, as reinforced by the keywords “stranger”, (see 5:10; 6:1), and “caught/captured”, (see 5:22; 6:2), as does becoming a “sluggard”, which all speak in terms of economic impoverishment, a form of self-imposed, induced, and indulged misery.
Likewise, the concluding point against the troublemaker, 6:15-19, connects the fatal consequences of wickedness with the Lord as the final Agent of judgment, as does the conclusion of 5:21-23.
The first two lessons are strongly connected:
- By the double Vocatives, “my son”, vs. 1, 3, and “sluggard”, vs. 6, 9.
- By the catchwords “go”, vs. 3b & 6.
- By the recurring theme of the common danger of untimely “sleep” and lazy “slumber”, vs. 4, 9-10.
- By using exemplary animal wisdom, that of the “gazelle and bird”, 5, and “ant”, vs. 6.
Another connection between the first and second lessons is that the man who is entrapped by contractual obligations should allow himself neither sleep nor slumber until he has freed himself (vs. 4), whereas the sluggard of the second teaching is caught by “a little sleep, a little slumber” (vs. 10).
Both lessons are concerned with protecting one’s future well-being, first by not jeopardizing it and then by providing for it.
Then we see the second and third connected as the second teaching ends with poverty coming upon the sluggard like a “vagabond, vagrant or beggar”, vs. 11, and the third teaching begins with a condemnation of the “worthless and wicked person”, vs. 12.
Although the four teachings are individual and distinct, they are not joined to one another in a haphazard fashion.
Avoid Becoming Surety, Vs 1-5.
Prov 6:1, “My son, if you have become surety for your neighbor, have given a pledge for a stranger,”
In vs. 1 we have the problem, “entering into surety.”
“Surety”, among its other definitions of being sure of something, pertains here to “a person who has contracted to be responsible for another; especially, a person who assumes any responsibilities, debts, or obligations in the event of the default of another.” Today we call that a “co-signer” on a loan or mortgage.
“Surety” is the Hebrew Verb ARAB, עָרַב, pronounced (arav) in the Qal Perfect that means, “to pledge or be a surety or security” for someone or something. The security could be a guarantee of the safety of someone or for the repayment of someone’s debts.
“Pledge” is the Verb TAQA, תָּקַע, “to pitch, to clap, to blow” with the noun KAPH, כַּף, that means, “hollow of the hand, or palm” Combined they are analogous to shaking hands. It was a sign of agreement or contract as it is today too. So it is like “signing on the dotted line.”
A good example of the usage guaranteeing the safety of someone was Judah becoming a surety for his youngest brother, Benjamin in Gen 43:9; 44:32. If he failed to bring Benjamin back to Israel, their father, Judah would bear his guilt for the rest of his life. Judah then demonstrates how seriously he understood his promise when he offered to become a slave in Egypt rather than forfeit his pledge and bear his guilt, Gen 44:33-34.
Therefore, “becoming surety,” as it is often translated is the ancient equivalent of co-signing a loan or pledging one’s own property as collateral for someone else’s obligation. The pledge was apparently sealed by clasping or shaking hands.
“Neighbor” is the Hebrew noun REA, רֵעַ, which means, “kinsman, fellow countryman, friend or anyone you know.” Here the context is anyone you know as it is linked with ZAR or ZUR, זוּר, meaning “stranger, foreigner” in the second half of the verse.
Literally this verse could be translated, “O my son, if you have given security for your fellow and you have struck your palms together for the stranger.”
Prov 6:2, “If you have been snared with the words of your mouth, have been caught with the words of your mouth,”
In vs. 2 we have the warning. “snare and caught.”
“Snared and caught”, are the Verbs YAQOSH, יָקשׁ, LAKAD, לָכַד. LAKAD is the same word as in Prov 5:22, “captured.”
“By the words of our mouth” is BE EMER PEH. Here we see the simile of the mouth once again, as we did in Chapter 5:3-4, for a thing of destruction and consequence. This verse emphasizes the verbs by making the rest of the lines identical, “by the words of his mouth.”
Solomon reveals the true nature of co-signing when he uses terms from hunting, “snared” and warfare, “taken” or “captured”. To endanger one’s property by pledging it as collateral for someone else’s loan, is to be a wild animal caught in a trap or a prisoner of war. If done, the son would be placing himself in a financial situation over which he had no control.
Agreeing by word of mouth to cosign such a debt could lead to serious trouble. This is largely because whoever shakes hands or gives his word in a pledge gives his or her belongings to another person, without really knowing whether or not that person will fulfill his or her obligation. Moreover, the guarantor has no control over that person’s fulfillment. His property is, in essence, lost until the loan is paid off. He has assumed someone else’s risk.
Prov 6:3-4, “Do this then, my son, and deliver yourself; since you have come into the hand of your neighbor, go, humble yourself, and importune your neighbor. 4Do not give sleep to your eyes, nor slumber to your eyelids;”
In vs. 3-4, we have the remedy, “deliver, humble and importune yourself, do not sleep until the remedy is made.”
To “come into your neighbor’s hands” means that the outcome of the situation is in the neighbor’s control not yours.
“Deliver” is the Verb NATSAL, נָצַל, which means, “to be saved, to extricate, to rescue” where the basic meaning is, “to separate or be separate.” In the Niphal (typically passive or reflexive) Imperative it is used reflexively as a command to do what is necessary to correct the previous action of placing yourself as surety.
“Humble” is the Verb RAPHAS, רָפַשׂ, that literally means, “to be muddy” in the Hithpael (typically reflexive action, but used here for actively) Imperative. It is a hyperbolic (figure of speech) command to humble oneself.
“Importune” is the Hebrew Verb RAHAB, רָהַב, pronounced (rahav), that means, “to assail or confuse.” This too is used hyperbolically. When a man is caught in a pledge which he cannot repay, wisdom dictates that he immediately press his case with his creditor.
Importune means, “to keep asking someone for something in a determined and annoying way.” Therefore, you need to plead your case to get out from under the contract you have co-signed.
Here we are told that if we become “surety” for someone else’s obligation, we should do everything possible to get out of it.
Having described the situation in which the guarantor is entrapped in his neighbor’s power, Solomon urges him or her to do whatever is necessary to escape from the contract. He must deliver himself, since the person with the actual obligation is under no pressure, the guarantor having assumed it all for him.
Verse 4, “Sleep and slumber”, SHENA, שֵׁנָא, and TENUMAH, תְּנוּמָה are synonymous words for “sleep.” Here the command and exhortation continues in that we need to do everything possible to correct the situation we are under.
When he says that they should not sleep until they are free, this is anticipatory rather than hyperbolic. The same two words occur, in the same order, in the description of the sluggard in vs. 10.
In Verse 5 we have the example, “Deliver ourselves like the gazelle and bird being hunted.”
“Deliver” is NATSAL once again in the reflexive Niphal Imperative repeating the command to get out from under this debt.
Solomon here urges his student to do whatever it takes to get out of that situation. He describes the underlying reality and the urgency of his exhortation to escape the situation by any means possible.
Just as a wild animal would not wait to struggle free, but struggles at once upon being snared, we must not delay, because now is the right time to escape; (just as now is the right time for the sluggard to get to work, as we will see in the next section).
Like the “command” proverbs (e.g., 22:22-23:14), this is a warning, not an absolute prohibition. This lesson warns rather than forbids this folly outright, as he forbids it elsewhere, (e.g., Prov 17:18; 22:26-27).
Prov 17:18, “A man lacking in sense pledges and becomes guarantor in the presence of his neighbor.”
Prov 22:26, “Do not be among those who give pledges, among those who become guarantors for debts. 27If you have nothing with which to pay, why should he take your bed from under you?”
Yet, there may be circumstances in which guaranteeing someone else’s loan is wise and honorable, Psa 112:5.
Psa 112:5, “It is well with the man who is gracious and lends; he will maintain his cause in judgment.”
However, Solomon’s point is that the guarantor needs to realize how dangerous such help can be to his or her own well-being before making that commitment. So we are given this wisdom from God so that we have insight into the whole of the situations we are in. For example; the nature of the investment, the character and reliability of the one we are backing, the potential future outcomes, as well as our ability to sustain loss, Prov 22:27.
In Israel lending was intended as a means of helping a fellow Israelite, not as a moneymaking transaction as it is today. No interest was to be charged a fellow Israelite, Ex 22:25; Lev 25:35-37. Interest could be applied to a loan to non-Israelites, but even then usury (unreasonably high interest rates) was illegal. Exorbitant interest often resulted in injustice, cf. 2 Kings 4:1; Neh 5:1-11, which the Law sought to prevent.
The warning in Prov 6:1-5 is not against borrowing or lending but against being held accountable for another person’s high-interest loan. Putting up security is referred to frequently in Prov 11:15; 17:18; 20:16; 22:26-27; 27:13. Therefore, if a person co-signed a note involving high interest rates for someone else’s loan, that co-signer is urged to get out of the obligation as soon as possible, “deliver yourself.”
Does this exhortation then speak against guaranteeing payments on a loan for one’s own relatives? No. The restriction seems to be against loans with exorbitant rates of interest or entering into a co-signing situation too hastily without first rightly evaluating the situation.
Therefore, if you do get into a bad situation, you should seek to free yourself from the debt agreement even if so doing demands great humiliation and obnoxious pleading. This urgency is stressed. Nothing should stand in the way; not even one night was to pass before the situation should be taken care of. Just as a gazelle or a bird if trapped would immediately begin struggling for its life, so a person snared by a foolish debt agreement should frantically fight to be free of it.
That is why we are exhorted in Rom 13:8, “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.”
Avoid Becoming Lazy, Vs. 6-11.
Now in Verses 6-11, we have the second lesson, “Avoid Becoming Lazy.” In this lesson we have three categories for understanding. It begins with the “example for remedy” to the problem, and then we are given “the problem” itself, followed by “the warning” if we do not correct the problem. We begin with…
The Example for Remedy, vs. 6-8:
There are three passages in this example for remedy. We begin with Verse 6.
Prov 6:6, “Go to the ant, O sluggard, observe her ways and be wise.”
As did the remedy in the first lesson in vs. 3b, this one also tells us to “Go” in the Qal Imperative of the Hebrew verb HALAK, הָלַךְ, which means, “go or walk.” The basic idea carried by the word is movement of some type, usually of people. As such, it is the opposite of sitting or lying down, or sleeping; a body without movement or taking no action in life. So right away we are told to take action that is the opposite of being lazy.
This same figure of “going” is used in a bad sense in Prov 6:12, “A worthless person, a wicked man, is the one who walks (goes) with a false mouth.”
“Sluggard or Lazy” (NASB) or “Slothful” (KJV) is the Pronominal use of the Adjective ATSEL, עָצֵל, that means, “sluggish, idle, or lazy.” It is used 14 times and only in the book of Proverbs. Prov 6:6, 9; 10:26; 13:4; 15:19; 19:24; 20:4; 21:25; 22:13; 24:30; 26:13-16.
Principles of the Sluggard
- This type of person always fails because of laziness that becomes moral failure, Prov 6:6, 9.
- They are an irritant to others, Prov 10:26; 15:19.
- Their souls want nothing, and they get nothing, Prov 13:4.
- They take no initiative, Prov 19:24.
- They do not do their tasks on time, Prov 20:4.
- They will not work, Prov 21:25.
- They create imaginary excuses, Prov 22:13.
- Their wealth and health deteriorate, Prov 24:30.
- Yet, they consider themselves to be wise, Prov 26:13-16.
Phillip Roberts notes: “The lazy are generally not those who have few desires. Rather, their daydreaming leads to exaggerated desires, and exaggerated desires to a despair of realization.” (D. Phillip Roberts, “The Sluggard in Proverbs”, unpublished term paper, Westminster Theological Seminary, 1994.)
As Prov 21:25-26 tells us, “The desire of the sluggard puts him to death, for his hands refuse to work; 26all day long he is craving….”
As part of the remedy of laziness we are commanded to “observe” the ways of the ant with the Qal Imperative use of RAAH, רָאָה, that means, “to see, stare or gaze at, to know, to understand, or to observe.” Here it has a particular nuance, “to look at by direct volition.” So once again we see the principle of the Law of Volitional Responsibility, and in this case to do something good for ourselves if we are in a bad place. Essentially this is teaching self-discipline, foresight, and prudent industry.
“The ways” is DEREK
“Be Wise is CHOKMAH
So the sluggard is encouraged to change his ways before he starves, vs. 11. He is sent to the ant because ants never stop gathering food whenever and wherever food is available. Their diligence shames the lazy who refuse to even exert the energy to feed themselves, cf. Prov 19:24.
Prov 19:24, “The sluggard buries his hand in the dish, but will not even bring it back to his mouth.”
The three admonitions in this verse, “go”, “observe”, and “be wise” aim to generate enough energy to get the sluggard up, to study, and in that way begin the process of restructuring his life.
Then in Prov 6:7 it says, “Which, having no chief, officer or ruler.”
The first detail of the lesson is that it has no leader, as likewise the locust in Prov 30:27.
Prov 30:27, “The locusts have no king, yet all of them go out in ranks.”
“Chief”, is the Noun QATSIYN, קָצִין, which means, “chief, captain, leader, or ruler.” It is the “one who decides” including a judge.
Then we have two pronominal uses of verbs to indicate two other types of leaders by how they function.
“Officer”, is the Verb SHATAR, שָׁטַר, which means, “to oversee, to officiate.” It is a leader responsible for oversight.
“Ruler”, is the Verb MASHAL, מָשַׁל, which means, “to rule over.” It refers to the general act of having dominion or rule over someone and is not restricted to the context of royalty and their subjects. So we could say a boss or foreman.
So the ant has no one who decides for them, no one overseeing them on a day-by-day basis, and no one ruling over them continually giving them instructions as what to do, yet they work diligently and effectively to provide not only for themselves but the entire colony.
The slug needs to learn from this because the slug usually needs someone to tell him what to do, when to do it, and how to do it.
For the young man or woman this is a valuable lesson. Stop waiting for mommy and daddy to tell you what to do, how to do it and when to do it, and take your own initiative to prepare for life and live your life supporting and providing for yourself.
If leaderless ants preserve their lives by doing what needs to be done (gather food) at the right time (during harvest), how much more diligently should human beings pursue their tasks at the appropriate time?
Rather than having external leaders who both organize the work, with regard to its nature and its timing and see it through to completion, the ant possesses a God-given wisdom to work and, just as significantly, to order it wisely. By admonishing the sluggard to learn from this example, Solomon hopes that his son will internalize its wisdom and have self-initiative in life
Then in Prov 6:8 we have, “Prepares her food in the summer and gathers her provision in the harvest.”
Literally it could read, “She prepares, (puts in proper order and readiness), her bread in the summer, she harvests food in the harvest.”
The activity expected of leaders over a workforce is now detailed and applied to the self-motivated ant. Here Solomon observed the ant’s art and vigor in gathering and laying up in storage, carrying heavy loads, building her house, etc. She is a model of unwearied and well-planned labor.
Prov 30:25, “The ants are not a strong people, but they prepare their food in the summer.”
The timing of her labor, “in harvest,” implies, like many proverbs about laziness, that mere work is not enough. Wisdom is not merely self-discipline. It is first the insight that enables the prudent to identify what is most important and at what time, and then, having discerned what is most necessary, the discipline to pursue it until the task is finished.
Remember that God provides food, Psa 104:14-15; 136:25; 146:7; 147:9, but the ant, like us, must diligently harvest it in the right way at the right time.
The Problem, Vs. 9-10:
Now we see the problem for which we have been given the remedy for.
Prov 6:9, “How long will you lie down, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep?”
The question “How long will you keep on lying down?” assumes that the harvest has been in progress for some time, and unless decisive action is taken immediately judgment will fall on the slug – his poverty.
This rhetorical question implicitly admonishes the slug to repent of his foolish laziness and to get up quickly and redeem the time before it is too late. The question is asked trying to wake him up out of his lethargic malaise and hold him accountable.
In the spiritual realm we call this repentance. As long as you are alive it is never too late to repent.
“Sleep”, refers to a state of rest that occurs naturally and regularly during which there is little or no conscious thought. That is the way of the slug, there is little or no conscious thought on his part even when he is awake!
Laziness is rarely blatant, where the slug usually has the attitude of “not right now.” This is the case because fools, including slugs, do not consider the implications of their decisions. They lack prudence and so are unable to examine their ways.
They think that many responsibilities, even those that are vital, can be put off or delayed, often with little short-term consequences, yet eventually the bill comes due, and when it does, the slug has no resources with which to pay it.
The real question here is, “when will you get up from your sleep and work?”
Then in Prov 6:10, “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest (lie down).”
This is identical to Prov 24:33. The warning for the sluggard is that this is not merely a matter of convenience, but one of life and death. While they think they are preserving their life with a little sleep and slumber they are actually losing it.
Solomon is not saying here that you should never rest or sleep, but is warning us to examine our lives to be sure that what is most needful is being done. He is also warning us that, although rest in itself is not bad, too much of it is harmful. Therefore, we should check our inclination to rest against the need of the moment.
As Prov 20:13 exhorts, “Do not love sleep, or you will become poor; open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with food.”
Yet in contrast, for the wise and diligent worker, Eccl 5:12a, “The sleep of the working man is pleasant, whether he eats little or much.”
The Warning, Vs. 11:
And finally we have “the warning.”
Prov 6:11, “Your poverty will come in like a vagabond and your need like an armed man.”
This is very similar in the Hebrew and English to Prov 24:34, “Then your poverty will come as a robber and your want like an armed man.”
The personification of poverty escalates from a “vagabond, wanderer, or robber” who begs, borrows, and steals for his sustenance too, “like an armed man.” Literally, it is “a man with a shield” signifying an enemy soldier.
Just as the vagabond / robber and soldier, poverty too comes unexpectedly to take a person’s substance, not merely by stealth but also by force. To the notions of poverty as disreputable, homeless, and feeding off others, the armed man connotes a surprise attack against which you cannot defend yourself.
In addition, the easiest victim for a robber or enemy soldier is the sleeping sluggard, who lacks both the vigilance and the diligence to retain any wealth he may have. So poverty for him is an ever-present danger.
Prov 28:19 also tells us, “He who tills his land will have plenty of food, but he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty.”
By two questions in vs. 9, Solomon urged the slug to get out of bed and start working. Then, as in Prov 24:33-34, he points to the danger of a person continuing to nap when he ought to be working. Therefore, as in vs. 11, poverty will come on him suddenly and by force in the same way a robber or soldier quickly attacks an unsuspecting victim. And finally, with his time squandered the lazy person cannot rectify his situation and has little or no money to meet his needs. Obviously such a person is unwise.
Avoid the Seven Sins Hated by the Lord, Vs. 12-19.
Now in Vs. 12-19, we are told to “avoid the seven sins hated by the Lord.”
This is the last lesson of the first lecture in Chapter 6 and pertains to the troublemaker. It is broken down into two poems. By referring to the same elements in each poem, the second reveals the true significance of the outward behavior described in the first.
Here the worthless and wicked person is described first by six and then by seven wicked features, including his misuse of five body parts, (mouth, eyes, feet, hands, and heart). In this he is accused of malevolence, vs. 12a, 18a, and of stirring up conflicts, vs. 14b, 19b.
This lesson warns the reader against those who cause dissension and strife and describes the end of the wicked in vs. 15, in order to warn the students of wisdom against becoming this sort of person.
The behaviors described here are enigmatic or puzzling, (e.g., vs. 13a, what is wrong with winking at someone?). In fact, half of the acts mentioned in the first poem are enigmatic to us, but we can assume that the original readers knew precisely what was being described. Never-the-less we will flush it all out.
The combined poems have an overall pattern of topic:
- The General Indictment, 12a & 16.
- The Description, 12b-14, & 17ff.
- The Lord’s Assessment and Judgment, 15-16.
These poems reveal the value that the Bible places on community and fellowship, because anyone who undermines them lies under the judgment of God, vs. 12a, 15-16. This same theme is addressed throughout Proverbs especially under the topics of gossip, flattery, and strife, cf. Prov 26:20-28.
The clear message here is that the wise life is one lived in friendship and communion with other human beings (and with God), not in isolation, cf. the warning in Prov 18:1.
Prov 18:1, “He who separates himself seeks his own desire, he quarrels against all sound wisdom.”
As we have been noting, (especially under the doctrine of the Law of Volitional Responsibility), bad decisions that cause self-induced misery are typically related to sin, and here we are given the seven worst sins in God’s opinion, vs. 16, that will have consequences in our lives, as well as God’s Divine discipline.
We are given this list in two sections, vs. 12-15 and then again in vs. 17-19.
- In the first list, we have six things that indicate the “wicked” and “worthless” person.
- In the second we have seven things which are an “abomination” to the Lord; things which He “hates.”
Given the definition as to what is sin, we can easily summarize that each of these constitute sin in the life of the believer who commits them. So to introduce these verses and their topics, let’s begin by understanding what sin is?
What is Sin?
First we need to distinguish between Imputed Sin and Personal Sin, by understanding that the source of sin is twofold.
Imputed Sin is the imputation of Adam’s original sin from his fall in the Garden of Eden. At the point of physical birth, we are born physically alive and spiritually dead having received the imputation of Adam’s original sin. At the moment of physical birth of every member of the human race, God imputes Adam’s original sin to the inherent Sin Nature of the new born baby. This results in the spiritual death of that baby. 1 Cor 22:15, “For as in Adam all die…”
So as a result of the fall two things occurred for mankind,
- He receives the genetically inherent Sin Nature passed down from Adam,
- He receives the imputation of Adam’s original sin, resulting in spiritual death.
Spiritual death means total depravity. Therefore, we are prone to sin. We are spiritually dead before we commit our first sin.
Rom 5:12, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.”
Personal Sin: The sins people commit during their lives, which is our topic in Prov 6:12-19, which is the function of their human volition.
Personal Sin is anything done contrary to the character of God, or acting independently of God and His provision. It is coming short of God’s righteousness and glory, Rom 3:23b.
Rom 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Personal Sin is a fundamental relationship; it is not necessarily wrong “doing”, but wrong “being.” It is deliberate and determined independence from God.
Personal Sin preceded human good and evil because Adam could only sin in the garden; he could not produce human good or evil. In choosing to sin, Adam acted independently from God and His provisions.
Therefore, Personal Sin is the result of the volitional decision on the part of the believer to say “yes” to the various temptations of life that come either internally from your Old Sin Nature or externally from Satan’s Cosmic System.
Remember that temptation comes from Satan’s Cosmic System or your Old Sin Nature, but sin always comes from human volition. Therefore, sin is a thought, a motive, or an act of wrong “doing”, plus a state of alienation from God that results in wrong “being”; experientially speaking.
Temptation in itself is not sin, but the volitional act of succumbing to temptation is sin. Sin as the result of human volition is related to two categories.
- Volition related to known sin is a Sin of Cognizance. It is that in which a person, recognizing the temptation as a sin, wants to do it, and he does it. A known sin is a transgression involving human perception and/or cognizance. You know you are doing it. Temptation is not sin.
- Volition related to unknown sin is a Sin of Ignorance. It is that in which a person is not aware that the Old Sin Nature is tempting him to sin; but he desires to do the sin, and he does it. An unknown sin is a violation in which the act is committed without human perception or cognizance.
That is why God in Grace gave us 1 John 1:9 that says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
“Forgiveness of our sins” are the “sins of cognizance” that we have named, or confessed (HOMOLEGEO) to God.
“Cleansed from all unrighteousness” are the unknown sins of ignorance that we have committed.
Whether it is a sin of cognizance or ignorance, we stand guilty of committing those sins before God and do not stand in a right relationship with Him experientially. Yet in Grace, the penalty for those sins has been paid for at the Cross of Jesus Christ, which is applied experientially for forgiveness and cleansing for the believer who confesses his sins to the Father.
The more you know about sin, the closer the accounts you can keep with God via the utilization of 1 John 1:9. In the Rebound Technique of 1 John 1:9, the believer takes the responsibility for his own decisions, including his own sins, and does not blame someone else for the function of his own volition. You must always take the responsibility for your own decisions. You begin to do so when you are consistent in the use of the Rebound Technique.
In addition, understanding what sin is gives you the opportunity of building up resistance against it. You can identify what is sin in the temptation stage and say “no” to that temptation, and thereby avoid sin. Therefore, awareness of what is sin helps you to resist it. However, the identification of temptation sometimes results in succumbing to that temptation, and so you sin.
The Greek term largely responsible for relating the Biblical concept of sin in the Old Testament is CHATTAH and in the New Testament is HAMARTIA, although numerous other words in the New Testament are used as well to highlight sin’s different aspects and dimensions of definition.
For instance, ADIKIA, “iniquity,” is the antithesis to the Biblical principle of justice; ANOMIA, “lawlessness or anarchy,” dramatizes contempt for the law of God, while ASEBEIA, “godlessness,” indicates contempt for God Himself. Besides these terms, there are many other words for specific sins such as murder, adultery, theft, and so on.
In the New Testament the character of sin is fully exposed, whereas in the Old Testament, it is understood primarily in relation to the Law. The New Testament also understands sin in light of the self-revelation of God in His Son. Because Christ has come and has spoken the Word of God and has carried out the plan of God all the way to the Cross and beyond, sin is without excuse, John 15:22-24. Sin is no longer simply a breach of the Law, sin rebels against God Himself. Furthermore, it is not only stubborn disobedience of the Law, sin involves unbelief and rejection of the gospel.
Personal sins are classified by the familiar Biblical terms designated to them that include:
In the Hebrew it is the noun CHATTAH or CHATTATH, חַטָּאת, that means, “sin, or offense”, as ASHAM which means, “offense or guilt.”
Prov 5:22, “His own iniquities will capture the wicked, and he will be held with the cords of his sin.”
Prov 20:9, “Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from my sin”?”
Prov 21:4, “Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, is sin.”
Prov 24:9, “The devising of folly is sin, and the scoffer is an abomination to men.”
In the Greek it is the noun HAMARTIA, ἁμαρτία, meaning, “sin, sinful deed, sinfulness or failure”, and the Verb is HAMARTANO, ἁμαρτάνω, meaning, “to miss the mark, do wrong, or sin”, which is coming short, or missing the mark of God’s holiness and righteousness.
Rom 6:17-18, “But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”
1 Cor 6:18-20, “Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. 19Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”
Heb 3:13, “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
1 John 3:4, “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.”
The Hebrew uses the noun PESHA, פֶּשַׁע, that means, “rebellion, offense, trespass.” It is derived from PASHA, “to break away, to transgress.”
Prov 12:13, “An evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, but the righteous will escape from trouble.”
Prov 17:19a, “He who loves transgression loves strife….”
Prov 29:16, “When the wicked increase, transgression increases; but the righteous will see their fall.”
The Greek uses three nouns, first the noun PARAPTOMA αράπτωμα, that means, “a false step, a trespass, or transgression.” It generally denotes, “a fall beside or near something.” It can refer to a fall or deviation from the truth or that which is correct, for example, “an erroneous step.” So it is the stepping to one side, or the overstepping of those boundaries which God has marked off.
It speaks of the fall of Adam, Rom 5:15-20, the fall of Israel in rejecting Christ, Rom 11:11, 12, and of the transgressions of the Gentiles which contributed to their spiritual death, Eph 2:1. It also describes the believer’s sins, Gal 6:1.
PARABASIS, παράβασις, that means, “a going or step aside, a transgression.” It means an intentional infraction of the law in Rom 4:15, (violation); 1 Tim 2:14; Heb 2:2.
1 Tim 2:14, “And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.”
PARANOMIA, παρανομία, is the noun “against law, law breaking, transgression, wickedness” in 2 Peter 2:16 speaking about Balaam.
The Hebrew nouns AVON, עָוֹן, meaning, “iniquity, guilt, punishment for iniquity”; and AVEN, אָוֶן “trouble, sorrow, wickedness, evil” referring to that which is altogether wrong.
Prov 5:22, “His own iniquities will capture the wicked, and he will be held with the cords of his sin.”
Prov 10:29, “The way of the LORD is a stronghold to the upright, but ruin to the workers of iniquity.”
Prov 16:6, “By lovingkindness and truth iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the LORD one keeps away from evil.”
The Greek uses ADIKIA, ἀδικία, “injustice, unrighteousness, doing wrong.” It is the antithesis to the Biblical principle of justice.
Acts 8:23, “For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.”
James 3:6, “And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.”
In the Hebrew it is the noun SHEGAGAH, שְׁגָגָה, meaning, “sin of error by inadvertence or ignorance.” It comes from the verb SHAGAG, שָׁגַג, that means, “to go astray, commit sin, or error.” It refers to an inadvertent sin or error that is not consciously committed; a sin of ignorance or unknown sin.
Eccl 10:5, “There is an evil I have seen under the sun, like an error which goes forth from the ruler.”
Psa 119:67, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word.”
The Greek is the noun PLANE, πλάνη, that means, “a wandering or straying about.” It means that which disregards the right way and goes astray.
James 5:20, “Let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”
2 Peter 2:18, “For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error.”
It is the Nouns RISHAH or RESHA meaning, “wickedness, evil, or evildoer.” It is from the Adjective RASHA, “wicked, criminal, or evil.” It is the outworking and expression of an evil nature; depravity.
Prov 8:7, “For my mouth will utter truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.”
Prov 11: 5, “The righteousness of the blameless will smooth his way, but the wicked will fall by his own wickedness.”
Prov 12:3, “A man will not be established by wickedness, but the root of the righteous will not be moved.”
Prov 13:6, “Righteousness guards the one whose way is blameless, but wickedness subverts the sinner.”
In the NASB New Testament several Greek Words are used for “wickedness.”
ADIKIA which we noted above for “iniquity”, the antithesis to the Biblical principle of justice, in Acts 1:18; 2 Thes 2:10, 12; 2 Tim 2:19
2 Thes 2:11-12, “For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 12in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.”
2 Tim 2:19, “Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.”
KAKIA, κακία, that means, “evil, malice, ill-will, or desire to injure.” It is passive cruelty in Acts 8:22; James 1:21
James 1:21, “Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.”
PONERIA, πονηρία, a noun that means, “depravity, iniquity, wickedness, malice, evil purposes, and desires.” It is active cruelty in Mark 7:22; Luke 11:39; Rom 1:29; 1 Cor 5:8; Eph 6:12.
Mark 4:21-23, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. 23“All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”
The Hebrew noun RA, רַע, meaning, “evil, distress, misery, injury, or calamity.” Also the noun RAAH, רָעָה, means, “evil, misery, distress, or injury.” It references that which is actually wrong or opposing God.
Gen 6:5, “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
Prov 1:16, “For their feet run to evil and they hasten to shed blood.”
Prov 6:14, “Who with perversity in his heart continually devises evil, who spreads strife.”
The Greek primarily utilizes the nouns PONERIA, and KAKIA, as well as their corresponding Adjectives
Heb 5:14, “But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”
It is used twice in the Hebrew Old Testament. First in Psa 18:4 with BELIYYAAL, בְּלִיַּעַל, also meaning, “worthlessness”, as well as in Prov 6:12 for “worthless.” Therefore, “ungodliness” means lacking any worthy fear of God.
Also it is used in Isa 32:6 with the noun CHONEPH, חֹנֶף, meaning, “profaneness or ungodliness.”
Psa 18:4, “The cords of death encompassed me, and the torrents of ungodliness terrified me.”
Isa 32:6, “For a fool speaks nonsense, and his heart inclines toward wickedness: to practice ungodliness and to speak error against the LORD, to keep the hungry person unsatisfied and to withhold drink from the thirsty.”
In the Greek it is ASEBEIA, ἀσέβεια, meaning, “ungodliness or impiety.” It is a wanting, i.e., lack of, reverence towards God that indicates contempt for God Himself.
Rom 1:18, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.”
2 Tim 2:16, “But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, 17and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus.”
Titus 2:11, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.”
Used only in the NASB New Testament with the noun APEITHEIA, ἀπείθεια, from the Adjective APEITHES. It is the opposite of PEITHO that means, “to be persuaded or to have confidence”, which means faith applied or obedience to the Word of God. So APEITHEIA means, “disobedience, obstinacy, obstinate opposition to the Divine will.” It is a lack of faith and confidence in God, an unwillingness to be led or guided in ways of truth (Bible Doctrine).
Rom 11:30, “For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience.”
Eph 2:2, “In which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.”
Heb 4:11, “Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.”
Also in the Greek we have PARAKOE, παρακοή, meaning, “a hearing amiss, unwillingness to hear, and by implication disobedience.” It is used in Rom 5:19; 2 Cor 10:6; Heb 2:2.
Rom 5:19, “For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.”
Heb 2:2, “For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty.”
Found only in the New Testament Greek, APISTIA, ἀπιστία, means, “unbelief, unfaithfulness, faithlessness, want of faith, weakness of faith, or failure to trust in God.”
Rom 4:20, “Yet, with respect to the promise of God, he (Abraham) did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God.”
1 Tim 1:13, “Even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; 14and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus.”
Also found only in the Greek New Testament, uses ANOMIA, ἀνομία, that means, “lawlessness or anarchy” and dramatizes contempt for the Law of God, i.e., “lawless deeds and the condition of being without law because of ignorance of it or because of violating it. It is contempt and violation of law; iniquity, or wickedness. So it is the persistent contempt of Divine law in self-gratification regardless of Divine admonition.
Mat 23:28, “So you, too (Pharisees), outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
Mat 24:12, “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.”
Rom 6:19, “I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.”
1 John 3:4, “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.”
So in conclusion, if a person sins, doing what is forbidden in any of the LORD’s commands, even though the person does not know it, he is guilty and will be held responsible. It’s easy to see why it was impossible for the Israelites to stay clear of guilt for long. God is a holy God. He wishes to have fellowship with humankind, but cannot tolerate sin. Sin, therefore, causes a separation experientially between God and the one guilty of sin. But if we confess our sins, He will forgive, 1 John 1:9, and we are restored to fellowship with Him once again.
Now in Proverbs 6:12-19 we see a type of sin in each of the three general categories of sin we can commit: Mental, Verbal, or Overt sin.
Mental Attitude Sin: These are sins of the mentality of your mind that occur when a temptation enters your conscious thought process and then is messaged or contemplated as an actual thing or event that you would do and then envision yourself as doing, cf. Prov 6:14a, 17a, 18a. There are two groups of Mental Attitude sins:
Emotional sins with its four categories:
- Sins related to fear, which includes worry and anxiety.
- Sins related to hatred, which includes anger, violence, and murder.
- Sins related to self-pity.
- Sins related to guilt.
Mental sins: These include arrogance, pride, jealousy, implacability, bitterness, vindictiveness, inordinate ambition, and inordinate competition, all motivational sins, and sinful thoughts.
Verbal Sin: Verbal sin or sins of the tongue are sins that are spoken with your mouth that includes gossip, maligning, slander, judging, lying, and verbal deception, cf. Prov 612b, 14b, 17b, 19b. All verbal sins originate from mental attitude sins, which lead to motivational sins, which lead to the sins of the tongue, which are designed to destroy your target, James 3:5ff.
Overt Sin: Sins performed with your body parts that include chemical sins, sexual sins, criminal sins, etc., cf. 13b and c, 17c, 18b.
Different types of sins are sprinkled throughout the New Testament that include commands of what not to do in life, and many commands of what we should do that when we do not do them, it is sin.
Rom 13:8 & 10, “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 10Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
The following passages give us several lists of sins that we are told not to do, and therefore we need to avoid then so that we do not enter into sin. Rom 1:24-32; 13:8-10; 1 Cor 6:9-10; Gal 5:19-21, 26; Eph 5:1-7; 1 Tim 1:8-10; 2 Tim 3:1-9
Likewise, in Proverbs 6:12-15, we have mental attitude sins in vs. 13a, 14a; verbal sins in vs. 12a, 14b; and overt sins in vs. 13b, 13c. We will see their parallels in vs. 17-19.
The Pattern of vs. 12-15:
- The General Indictment, 12a & 16.
- The Description, 12b-14, & 17ff.
- The Lord’s Assessment and Judgment, 15-16.
Prov 6:12, “A worthless person, a wicked man, is the one who walks with a perverse mouth.”
Now in vs. 12, “A worthless person” is ADAM, that means “man or humankind” and is used here for “person.” ADAM suggests the earth origin of man, while ISH, coming up next with “wicked”, defines other qualities of man.
BELIYYAAL, בְּלִיַּעַל, is used for “worthless” and means, “worthless, good for nothing, unprofitable, wicked, ruin, destruction, or something corrupt.” It literally means “worthless,” and denotes those who are useless or good-for-nothing. Primarily it refers to individuals who are morally corrupt, debased, or degenerate. Belial is used as a proper name for Satan, 2 Cor 6:15, “Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?” Many Old Testament translations in the KJV use “son or daughter of Belial” for the worthless person.
Deut 13:13, “Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known.”
In addition, Prov 19:27-28 tells us, “Cease listening, my son, to discipline, and you will stray from the words of knowledge. 28A rascally (worthless) witness makes a mockery of justice, and the mouth of the wicked (RASHA) spreads iniquity (AWEN).”
Then we have ISH (designating an individual), AWEN for “man of wickedness” or wicked man. AWEN, אָוֶן, is a noun that means, “trouble, sorrow, wickedness, idolatry, iniquity, or evil”
Many times AWEN is used in correlation with words spoken, usually of the deceitful quality. At times deceit and AWEN appear to be parallel concepts, Job 11:11; 15:35; Psa 55:10.
Sometimes the Old Testament says that the mouth of the evil person is both deceitful and wicked, Psa 36:3-4; 41:6. At times the word appears parallel with other generally negative modes of communication, including the concept of boasting, Psa 94:4; a corrupt mouth, Prov 6:12; lying, Prov. 17:4; and a false witness, Prov 19:28.
In Psa 10:7, the wicked man’s mouth is full of curses, lies, threats, trouble, and evil. We also find that the wicked may speak cordially with their neighbors, but are actually harboring malice, Psa 28:3.
The next six lines describe their activities that come from a heart so intent on wickedness that it plans how most effectively to spread trouble and turmoil, vs. 14a, and that is perfectly willing to lie, vs. 12b, as long as it furthers the goal of disrupting and destroying relationships, vs. 14b.
“Worthless and wicked” aim to describe the evil person who has several, if not all, of these censured behaviors. As Bernhardt defines the root of AWEN he says, “wicked is power used in relation to a community or an individual with a negative effect or intention.” He also notes that it denotes: 1) A concept that involves condemnation and judgment; 2) Antisocial behavior against the will of God; 3) Misuse of power; and 4) Deception and lying to hurt others. (K. H. Bernhardt, Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament.)
Then we have, “is one who walks” which we noted above in vs. 6, “go”, to be HALAK in the Qal Active Participle that means, “keep on going or walking.” These worthless and wicked individuals keep on going about life with all kinds of verbal sins, “with a perverse mouth.”
“Perverse or false mouth” is IQQESHUT PEH. IQQESHUT עִקְּשׁוּת, means, “perversion, crookedness, or deceitfulness.” It is used to describe a mouth that speaks without integrity, that does not speak truth but rather deception and immorality; a mark of an evil, worthless person, cf. Prov 4:24. So it indicates fraudulent, deceitful speech in the context of corrupt and vile people. It is only used here and Prov 4:24.
So this person’s fraudulent speech, cf. vs. 19, distorts the truth on which a straight and sound society is built.
Prov 6:13, “Who winks with his eyes, who signals with his feet, who points with his fingers.”
Here we have three devious gestures: winking with the eyes, signaling with the feet, and pointing with the finger. These are three behaviors of the worthless and wicked person that would otherwise be obscure to us if it were not for the context of the passage. There is nothing wrong with winking, moving your feet, or even pointing with your finger in and off themselves, but given the context of these actions by the worthless and wicked person who is planning malice against someone and trying to stir up dissension, vs. 14, we see these gestures used in an evil way.
Some think these gestures are related to the casting of curses on someone in black magic, (Cf. McKane, Proverbs, pg. 325), but it is better to take them as simple nonverbal communication with fellow conspirators.
So these are gestures used by the wicked person to signal something to others regarding various types of evil action perpetrated on others. Notice the pattern here; first the worthless and wicked use their mouth in lies and deception, vs. 12b, then they use their body to signal to others to take action, vs. 13, which action is the result of the perverse and devious plan they have developed in the heart of their soul, vs. 14a, that leads to causing problems for others, vs. 14b.
In vs .17-19 we see the types of problems this group brings on others, that begins with the arrogance complex of sins that leads to lying about themselves and their intentions, as well as lying about the ones who will come under attack, vs. 17a. Sometimes this group effort will lead to the murder of innocent people, vs. 17b; or many other kinds of evil and criminal actions, vs. 18b; that also carries over to a court of law where they lie about their own actions and the actions of their co-conspirators, vs. 19a; as they attempt to corrupt the judicial system or subvert the government’s authority.
So we are given the pattern of the worthless and wicked individual who inevitably will bring others into their ways of evil, causing all kinds of harm and problems to innocent people. They are people who work to undermine social and personal relationships for their own benefit by openly rejecting the rules of society and thus undermining normal social relations.
We have seen this carried out in real life right before our very own eyes in our own back yard with the recent bombing attack at the 2013 Boston Marathon.
Some Biblical examples of this type of wickedness include the depraved men of Gibeah who thought themselves beyond the reach of the law, Judges 20:13, those who mock justice, Prov 19:28, and especially those who undermine the king’s authority, 1 Sam 10:27; 2 Sam 20:1; 2 Chron 13:7.
Nevertheless, these individuals have a date of destiny with destruction, vs. 15.
- The first of the three evil gestures is “winks with his eyes,” which is the Hebrew Verb QARATS, קָרַץ, in the Qal Active Participle that means, “to make narrow” and the Noun AYIN, עַיִן, that means, “” QARATS AYIN denotes insidious, malicious, and antisocial behavior in this context.
The psalmist complained that his enemies winked or squinted their eyes in derision (scoffing, ridicule) at him, Psa 35:19.
Psa 35:19, “Do not let those who are wrongfully my enemies rejoice over me; nor let those who hate me without cause wink maliciously.”
Keil and Delitzsch note that it is “the action of the deceiver, who thereby gives the sign to others that they help or at least do not hinder him from bantering and mocking, belying and deceiving a third person.”
Prov 16:30, “He who winks his eyes does so to devise perverse things; he who compresses his lips brings evil to pass.”
Interestingly, in that passage QARATS is used for “compressing” the lips, another form of this evil, while “winks” is ATSAH used only here in Scripture for shutting or winking the eye.
As we know from vs. 15, such a person will have sorrow as well as, Prov 10:10, “He who winks the eye causes trouble, and a babbling fool will be ruined.”
- Next we have the second gesture, “signals with his feet.”
“Signals” is the Hebrew Verb MALAL, מָלַל, with REGEL for “feet”. MALAL has two meanings. The first means to, “speak” with the connotation of “to proclaim or announce.” The second is, “to rub, scrape or circle.” Keil and Delitzsch note that it means one who scrapes with his feet, draws them backwards and forwards on the ground in order, thereby to give a sign to others. It is implying the communication of evil intent using foot signals.
Another unrelated meaning for the root verb MALAL is that of “to wither, to dry up, or to fade.” It was used poetically to describe the mortality of humans, who bloom like a flower and then wither, Job 14:2; cf. Psa 90:6, or a person who withers like the branch of a tree with dried up roots, Job 18:16. In Psa 37:2, the evil person is compared to grass which withers according to seasonal cycles. From this we see that the destruction the wicked desire to bring on others will only come back around onto them as vs. 15 tells us.
So here we have a metaphorical use of the word where it means to “announce something with the feet.” That is, a signaling from the wicked to his co-conspirators that something is about to begin.
- Then we have the third gesture, “points with his fingers.”
“Points” is an interesting word. It is the verb YARAH, יָרָה, that means, “to shoot, to throw, or to pour.” It is sometimes used for the wicked that shoot arrows at the righteous believer(s) in Psa 11:2; 64:4, (read Psa 64:1-10).
Psa 11:2, “For, behold, the wicked bend the bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string.”
This reminds us of Eph 6:16, where Satan throws flaming arrows toward the believer trying to stop his walk with God.
Eph 6:16, “In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”
YARAH also has a secondary meaning, “to instruct or to teach”, always in the Hiphil (causative active) tense as it is here, meaning, “causing to learn.” So this reminds us of the evil plan that the wicked has devised and shared with others and is now instructing them to take action towards.
“Finger” is the noun ETSBA, אֶצְבַּע. In Isa 58:9, we see that the pointing of the finger was sometimes considered a derogatory gesture or sinful action leading to evil.
Isa 58:9, “Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you remove the yoke (sin) from your midst, the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness.”
Next in Prov 6:14 we see more of the wicked ways of the worthless one.
Prov 6:14, “Who with perversity in his heart continually devises evil, who spreads strife.”
“Perversity” is the noun TAHPUKAH, תַּהְפֻּכָה. Its root is HAPHAK that means, “to turn over or to overthrow.” So it is the opposite of righteousness and righteous behavior or actions, which is “perverse.”
In Proverbs “perversity” and “wisdom” are found in sharp contrast. Wisdom can save from perverse words and from those who rejoice in the perversity of evil, Prov 2:12, 14. Likewise, “wisdom” is further personified as hating perverse speech, Prov 8:13, and therefore it is no surprise that the mouths of wicked men only know perversity, Prov 10:32. The only occurrence of TAHPUKAH outside of Proverbs is in Deut 32:20, where the Lord proclaims demise for the perverse and faithless generation.
“Devising evil” is the Verb CHARASH, חָרַשׁ, plus the noun RA for “evil” which the KJV translates as “mischief.” Below we will see an outline of the “mischief maker.”
CHARASH in the Qal Active Participle is derived from two different roots. The first root means, “to engrave, to cut, or to plow (cutting the ground),” and in a metaphorical sense, “to prepare or to devise.” Its secondary meaning, “to be silent” may allude here to righteousness being silent in the heart of the wicked and evil being boisterous.
In regard to the main meaning using “plow”, Samson accused the young men who pressured his wife into telling them the meaning of Samson’s riddle as “plowing” with his heifer, Judges 14:18.
So “to devise,” occurs only as a metaphor of actions or behavior, mostly unethical behavior. Proverbs 3:9 speaks of those who “devise evil and good”, as does Prov 14:22; cf. 6:14, 18; 12:20 of those who devise evil. And finally in 1 Sam 23:9, Saul “devised evil” against David.
“Continually” is a compound word made up from the preposition BE, the Adjective KOL, and the Noun ETH, בְּכָל־עֵת, BEKAL-ETH, meaning “during all times.” This is the lifestyle of the wicked person. It is how they live and operate all the time.
He plans, evil actions, cf. 1:11-14, from a deceitful heart so that people are not aware of his intentions until it is too late. Though he pretends sincerity, underneath he is perverted and causes dissension, drawing others into discord or strife.
That leads us to the last phrase of vs. 14, “who spreads strife.”
“Spreads” is the Hebrew Verb SHALACH, שָׁלַח, in the Piel (intensive action) Imperfect (incomplete action) that means, “to send out or put out.” This goes with “continually devising evil” above, where here he “continually spreads strife.”
Then “strife” is MADON, מָדוֹן, “Strife, dispute, plead, or contend with.” The Proverbs among other things including a “contentious wife”, cf. Prov 21:19; 25:24; 27:15, speaks of those who spread strife, Prov 6:14, 19; 16:28, and those who stir up strife, 10:12; 15:18; 28:25; 29:22, as being foolish and headed for judgment
Contention is caused by hatred, Prov 10:12; and uncontrolled temper, Prov 15:18; perversity, Prov 16:28; greed, Prov 28:25; and anger, Prov 29:22; which are all stirred up and cast forward by the wicked and worthless person. See also these additional verses on strife: Prov 17:1; 18:6; 20:3; 22:10; 23:29; 26:21; 30:33.
So the “mischief maker” devises and gives orders for evil-doing, and yet due to his flattery or false façade, he would not be thought to do so because he has ways of concealing what he does so that he may not be suspected. He is a cunning man, and as seen when he pulls off his trick, he has a language by himself, which an honest man is not acquainted with, nor desires to know.
Nevertheless, he does not go unnoticed by God, and in God’s timing he will have calamity and be shattered, vs. 17.
As noted above in vs. 14 the one who “devises evil” is called in the KJV one who “devises mischief”, a.k.a. a “mischief maker.”
The English word “mischief” comes from a root meaning of, “to meet with misfortune.” It is defined as the feeling of wanting to cause trouble in order to have fun, and includes the conduct or action resulting in harm, trouble, or schism. This can be towards any one person or group of people including all forms of legitimate authority. A “mischief maker” is anti-legitimate authority. From the context of Prov 6:19b, “one who spreads strife among brothers,” it is one who does this within the body of Christ, church or local assembly.
“Mischief makers” in the local church and those outside the local assembly use attractiveness and personality resources to acquire power and approbation. Then they use this power to attract others, to discriminate, to distract others, and to reject others including God’s Word, Bible doctrine. When good deeds are involved, it results in schism, and control and manipulation of others. In the local church the result is erosion of authority in three areas: husbands; parents; and pastors, not to mention the erosion of God’s Word.
Job 15:35, “They conceive mischief and bring forth iniquity, and their mind prepares deception.”
The Hebrew word in vs. 14 for “evil” is RA and is one of several Hebrew words used in the KJV for “mischief” which we will note below. It means mischief in the sense of causing or producing evil continually.
The KJV uses “mischief” in 64 verses, while the NASB uses it in only 9 verses, because it only translated one Hebrew word as “mischief”, the noun AMAL.
In addition, the NASB does not use “mischief” in the New Testament, yet the KJV uses it just once in Acts 13:10 for the Hapax-legomena Greek word RHADIOURGIA (hrad-ee-oorg-ee’-a), ῥᾳδιουργία, that means, “the lack of principle, unscrupulousness, recklessness, and hence wickedness or fraud.”
Acts 13:9a-10, “Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze on him (Elymas the sorcerer/false prophet), 10and said, “You who are full of all deceit and fraud (mischief), you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord?”
So we see that fraud and deceit also characterize the “mischief maker.”
In addition to RA, the KJV uses the following Hebrew words for “mischief.” (Note that all of the verses below are in the NASB with parentheses for “mischief.”)
The Noun AWEN, אָוֶן, meaning, “trouble, sorrow, iniquity, evil, or wickedness” is translated in the KJV as “mischief” or trouble that moves to evil.
Psa 36:4, “He plans wickedness (mischief) upon his bed; he sets himself on a path that is not good; he does not despise evil.”
Ezek 11:2, “He said to me, “Son of man, these are the men who devise iniquity (mischief) and give evil advice in this city”.”
The word HAWWAH, הַוָּה, means, “bad desire(s) or lust, engulfing ruin, destruction, or calamity.” It usually describes an event associated with calamity, evil, or destruction, and is translated in the KJV as “mischief” for the destruction the tongue can cause when used in evil trying to achieve lustful desires.
Psa 52:2, “Your tongue devises destruction (mischief), like a sharp razor, O worker of deceit.”
The word ZIMMAH, זִמָּה, means, “shameful deed, plot, an evil plan, wickedness, or a mischievous purpose.” The word refers to the plans and purposes of the mind which give rise to one’s actions. Yet the word rarely pertains to good intentions, Job 17:11. It is used in reference to the evil plotting of the wicked, Isa 32:7, and sometimes is used for spiritual adultery and idolatry, Jer 13:27; Ezek 16:27; 22:9. It is translated in the KJV of Psa 26:10 as “mischief” in the sense of arrogant thinking or motivation for evil planning.
Psa 26:10, “In whose hands is a wicked scheme (mischief), and whose right hand is full of bribes.”
Finally, the word AMAL, עָמָל, means, “trouble, misery, harm, labor or toil, and conveys the emotion of vexation and anguish associated with sinful behavior.” It can refer to trouble or mischief directed at another person. AMAL is translated “mischief” in both the KJV and NASB in the sense of causing pain or misery, regarding the evil person who talks of causing trouble, Prov 24:2.
Prov 24:2, “For their minds devise violence, and their lips talk of trouble (mischief).”
Job 15:35, “They conceive mischief and bring forth iniquity, and their mind prepares deception.”
Psa 10:7, “His mouth is full of curses and deceit and oppression; under his tongue is mischief and wickedness.
“Mischief makers” can be believers who use their abilities to stir up trouble and discord. They cause peer pressure, heartache, and rejection which inevitably undermine authority.
Psa 7:12-16, “If a man does not repent, He will sharpen His sword; he has bent His bow and made it ready. 13He has also prepared for Himself deadly weapons; he makes His arrows fiery shafts. 14Behold, he travails with wickedness, and he conceives mischief and brings forth falsehood. 15He has dug a pit and hollowed it out, and has fallen into the hole which he made. 16His mischief will return upon his own head, and his violence will descend upon his own pate.”
Here once again we see that the Law of Volitional Responsibility becomes a factor when the performance of these types of activities occurs.
Under the Law of Volitional Responsibility, the believer as a “mischief maker” who designs to inflict pain on others will, as a result of his actions, inflict on himself or herself unbearable suffering from bad decisions stemming from his old sin nature, which is a position of weakness, Prov 6:15, “Therefore his calamity will come suddenly; instantly he will be broken and there will be no healing.”
As we see in Psa 7:14 and Prov 6:12b, 14b, 17b and 19a, from these bad decisions comes the sins of the tongue.
“Mischief makers” also hallucinate about themselves. They see themselves as being on top of the world, as they devise plans to bring others down. This is noted in Psalm 10, which is a prayer for the overthrow of the wicked, as well as Psa 55:10.
Psa 55:9, “Confuse, O Lord, divide their tongues, for I have seen violence and strife in the city. 10Day and night they go around her upon her walls, and iniquity and mischief are in her midst. 11Destruction is in her midst; oppression and deceit do not depart from her streets.”
For reversionistic “mischief making” believers, they use doctrinal vocabulary to hallucinate about their own spiritual status. They believe that they are more spiritually advanced than they really are. Through hallucination about their spiritual status, they fail to use rebound, and so compound their problem.
God cannot look at the trouble (mischief) caused by their sin, Hab 1:3, 13.
Hab 1:13a, “Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, and You cannot look on wickedness (mischief).”
As He said in Prov 6:16, “There are six things which the LORD hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him.”
The Lord hates these things because they stop Him from being able to have a daily relationship with those who perform them. Likewise, the evil that the “mischief maker” brings on others hinders or even stops, (via murder), others from having a relationship with the Lord here on earth. That is why in Psa 94:20 (read 17-23); and Isa 59:1-8 it tells us He cannot and does not have fellowship with those who act mischievously.
Psa 94:17-23, “If the LORD had not been my help, my soul would soon have dwelt in the abode of silence. 18If I should say, “My foot has slipped,” Your lovingkindness, O LORD, will hold me up. 19When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul. 20Can a throne of destruction be allied with You, one which devises mischief by decree? 21They band themselves together against the life of the righteous and condemn the innocent to death. 22But the LORD has been my stronghold, and my God the rock of my refuge. 23He has brought back their wickedness upon them and will destroy them in their evil; the LORD our God will destroy them.”
Isa 59:1-8, “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not so short that it cannot save; nor is His ear so dull that it cannot hear. 2But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear. 3For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken falsehood, your tongue mutters wickedness. 4No one sues righteously and no one pleads honestly. They trust in confusion and speak lies; they conceive mischief and bring forth iniquity. 5They hatch adders’ eggs and weave the spider’s web; he who eats of their eggs dies, and from that which is crushed a snake breaks forth. 6Their webs will not become clothing, nor will they cover themselves with their works; their works are works of iniquity, and an act of violence is in their hands. 7Their feet run to evil, and they hasten to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity, devastation and destruction are in their highways. 8They do not know the way of peace, and there is no justice in their tracks; they have made their paths crooked, whoever treads on them does not know peace.”
The righteous are likewise offended by these types of behaviors.
Psa 140:9-13, “As for the head of those who surround me, may the mischief of their lips cover them. 10May burning coals fall upon them; may they be cast into the fire, into deep pits from which they cannot rise. 11May a slanderer not be established in the earth; may evil hunt the violent man speedily. 12I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted and justice for the poor. 13Surely the righteous will give thanks to Your name; the upright will dwell in Your presence.”
The arrogance of “mischief making” is to begin telling others how to run their lives, to establish oneself as the authority in matters of spiritual and life-in-general things. In this way, “mischief makers” are always involved in the sins of the tongue. They are either judging others, or telling others how to run their lives.
Yet with God’s Word resident within our souls, we are protected from entering into their wicked ways, and by God’s power, He will deal justly with them in His time.
Prov 6:15, “Therefore his calamity will come suddenly; instantly he will be broken and there will be no healing (MARPE healing or calmness).”
The result for the mischief / trouble maker is, “therefore”… the reality of their sudden downfall. As we have noted above, by means of the Law of Volition Responsibility and God’s Divine judgment, calamity and poor health, (due to the absence of a Relaxed Mental Attitude), will come upon the wicked and worthless individual suddenly without warning.
Job 31:3, “Is it not calamity to the unjust and disaster to those who work iniquity?”
Therefore, the Mischief / Trouble Maker’s “calamity” (ED – calamity, distress, or ruin) shall come:
Without Warning. It shall come suddenly (PITHON – suddenly and surprisingly): Suddenly he will be broken, to punish him for all the wicked acts he used to capture people in his snares.
Without Haste. It will come instantly (PETHA – suddenly and immediately): Instantly, by God’s timing and not ours, he will receive the results of his own consequences along with Divine punitive judgment.
Without Relief. He will be irreparably broken without remedy, (AYIN MARPE – no healing or calmness): As long as he remains in his evil state without repentance, He will come to his end and none shall help him, Dan 11:45; Prov 29:1; 2 Chron 36:16.
Dan 11:45, “He (antichrist) will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the seas and the beautiful Holy Mountain; yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.”
Prov 29:1, “A man who hardens his neck after much reproof will suddenly be broken beyond remedy.”
2 Chron 36:16, “But they continually mocked the messengers of God, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, until there was no remedy.”
In contrast the righteous believer who consistently takes in and applies God’s Word has healing due to a Relaxed Mental Attitude.
Prov 4:22, “For they (Bible Doctrines) are life to those who find them and health to all their body.”
Prov 12:18, “There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
Prov 13:17, “A wicked messenger falls into adversity, but a faithful envoy brings healing.”
Prov 14:30, “A tranquil heart is life to the body, but passion is rottenness to the bones.”
Prov 15:4, “A soothing tongue is a tree of life, but perversion in it crushes the spirit.”
Prov 16:24, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
Mal 4:2, “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.”
The Seven Sins that are Hated and an Abomination to the Lord.
Beginning in Verse 16 we have the Seven Sins that are hated and an abomination to the Lord.
Prov 6:16, “There are six things which the LORD hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him, (NEPHESH – His soul).”
Prov 6:16 ends with “Him”, NAPSO, which is the 3rd Masculine Pronominal. It ends with the Noun NEPHESH = His Soul! With the last word, we see right away that these things aggrieve our Lord to the core of His being.
As we previously noted in Prov 3:32, “For the devious are an abomination to the LORD; but He is intimate with the upright.”
What now follows is not a separate section but the corroborative continuation of what preceded it in vs. 12-15.
The “six” (SHESH) and “seven” (SHEBA), pattern is also used in Job 5:19, and “is a similar pattern of other numbers plus one used in Prov 30:15-16, 18-19, 21-31. The purpose of this kind of numerical pattern (x and x + 1) is not to give a complete list. Instead it is to stress the final (x + 1) item, as the culmination or product of its preceding items.” (The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty.)
In each of the first five members of the list, some body part is associated with a particular type of sin. More specifically, the body parts that act out certain sins (e.g., hands that shed blood) represent the distorted personalities behind these types of actions. The person whose heart, eyes, tongue, hands, or feet carry out such deeds has a twisted soul and grossly corrupts the image of God that should be recognizable in every human. Therefore, the first five things the Lord hates are body parts set in a sequence that moves generally from the head to the feet (eyes, tongue, hands, heart, feet), encompassing the whole body involved in sin, and the last two are specific types of persons, (the false witness and the mischief / trouble maker).
Also note, the first five items concern general immoral characteristics: pride, deceitfulness, violence, conniving character, and various motivational sins, whereas the last two in vs. 19 specifically belong to a judicial or governmental setting.
This is why we have such strong language in vs. 16, saying that God “hates” or “detests” these things because the whole person is involved in anti-God like characteristics and behavior.
The list begins with “hates”, which is the Qal Perfect of the Verb SANE, שָׂנֵא, that means, “hate”, which expresses an emotional attitude toward someone or something which is abhorred, disdained, or opposed, and with which a person desires to have no relationship or amiable reconciliation.
Hate is the opposite of love, (the greatest commandment – Deut 6:4; Mark 12:29; Rom 13:9; Cor 13:13), and these terms are found in direct contrast to one another.
“Hate” is an anthropopathism that ascribes to God a human characteristic, emotion, or thought process that God does not truly have in order for us to better understand Him and His policy toward man by the use of language of accommodation. God does not hate. Hatred is a sin, yet hatred is used of God to describe His disdain and rejection of certain actions or people.
Giacumakis, commenting on other references to God’s hatred, says, “In each case the character and/or activities of the hated ones are expressed; thus God is opposed to, separates Himself from, and brings the consequences of His hatred upon people not as mere people, but as sinful people.” (Giacumakis, TWOT, SANE)
Besides our list in Prov 6:17-19, the Lord is said to hate or despise a variety of things, such as objects symbolic of idolatry, Deut 16:22; acts of pagan worship, Deut 12:31; evil and those who love violence, Psa 11:5; bloodthirsty and deceitful men, Psa 5:5; those who commit evil deeds, Hosea 9:15; divorce, Mal 2:16; etc.
Instances of this type of hatred or disdain between people are recorded in Scripture. For example, David declared, “I have hated the congregation of evildoers; and will not sit with the wicked”, Psa 26:5; cf. Psa 31:6; 119:113; 139:21f.
“Abomination” We noted this word in Prov 3:32 in some detail. Please refer to those notes for further information. In summary, “abomination” is the Hebrew noun TOEBAH that means, “a disgusting or detestable thing, abomination, or abominable.” Its root word means, “to be faulty, corrupted, polluted, or afflicted with a weakness.” It is “an abhorrence for someone or something, something that elicits great dislike, distain, loathing, detestableness, or thoroughly unpleasant.”
“Disgusting” means, “Acutely repugnant, loathsome or repellent.”
“Detestable” means, “Deserving abhorrence (to regard with loathing, to reject vehemently), odious (exciting hatred or repugnance, being offensive), and abominable.”
TOEBAH is primarily used of things, persons, or practices that are either ritually or morally offensive to the LORD.
The Book of Proverbs names other things which are an “abomination to the LORD.” In the 21 occurrences of “abomination” in Proverbs, it denotes bad moral conduct of a social kind, and in 12 of them are in the formulation “an abomination to the LORD.”
These include, the corrupt person, Prov 3:32; false weights or scales in business, 11:1; 20:23; those with a false heart and lying lips, 11:20; 12:22; and the sacrifice of the wicked, 15:8; evil plans 15:26; the arrogant, 16:5; the wrongdoing of wicked kings, 16:12; those who justify the wicked and condemn the righteous, 17:15; mockers of Bible Doctrine, 24:9; the prayers of those who turn away from learning Bible Doctrine, 28:9; and the unjust man, 29:27a.
Proverbs also has a list of what is abominable to the wicked including, turning way from evil, 13:19, and those who are “upright in the way”, 29:27b.
Now, as we turn to the list of “Seven Abominations to the Lord”, keep in mind that each one affects the ruin of his victims, but they will boomerang and ruin the mischief maker himself. Each of these actions are disruptive in their tendency and characterized by self-assertiveness or malice or violence, which break the bond of confidence and loyalty between man and man, as the seven together present a concise and vivid description of the mischief / trouble maker; no other type of person satisfies the description.
Thus: Proverbs 6:17-19, “Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18A heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, 19A false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.”
- The “Perverted mouth”, 12b, lies, vs. 17a, even in court, vs. 19a;
- “Winking eyes”, 13a, signal arrogance, vs. 17a;
- “Scraping feet”, 13a, run rapidly to evil, vs. 18b;
- “Pointing fingers”, 13b, belong to hands that shed innocent blood, vs. 17b;
- This person’s “heart” constantly devises wicked schemes against its neighbors, 14a, 18a,
- And spreads strife, 14b, even between close friends and relatives, vs. 19b.
The list of Seven each identify one of the three Categories of Sin: Mental, Verbal, or Overt sin.
Sin Acted Out – Category of Sin
- Haughty eyes – Mental Attitude
- Lying tongue – Verbal
- Hands that shed innocent blood – Overt
- A heart that devises wicked plans – Mental Attitude
- Feet that run rapidly to evil – Overt
- False witness who utters lies – Verbal
- One who spreads strife among brothers – Verbal
This listing revolves around the inner heart as the place where decisions to sin are made. This list is poetically framed around that core by matching pairs: hands with feet (Overt Sins), and lying tongue with lying witness (Verbal Sins). “Haughty eyes”, which represents the arrogance complex of sins, stands apart at the beginning as the genesis of all of these abominable sins, and “spreads strife” stands climactically at the end and the summary of what these sins do to mankind.
So we see that unrighteousness is totally incompatible with the Holy One. Of the seven worst sins, from God’s viewpoint, it is interesting that three of them (the majority) are related to the tongue, as verbal sins. A lying tongue, a false witness who utters lies, and a person who spreads strife, all deal with the tongue.
In a rather humorous notation, we note that Satan, the serpent, is the author of these sins as satirically noted by Professor Bruce Waltke who says, “The hissing sibilant sound resounds throughout the catalogue, especially in this verse (the introduction to these sins in verse 16): SHESH (six), SANE (hates), SHEBA (seven), and NAPSO (his soul).” (Bruce K. Waltke, New International Commentary.)
Noting that three of the “seven sins” are verbal sins, I want to draw your attention to the right and wrong way we should be using our “tongues” in everyday life, beginning with the wrong way we use our “tongue.”
Wrong Uses of Words
- Lying, (telling a falsehood about yourself or others): Prov 6:16-17a; 10:18a; 12:19, 22a; 17:4b, 7; 19:5b, 9b, 22b; 21:6; 26:28a.
- Slandering, (saying something false and bad about someone that may damage their reputation.): Prov 10:18b; 20:19; 30:10.
- Gossiping, (talking about other people often groundless rumors usually of a personal, sensational, or intimate nature, “idle talk”): Prov 11:13; 16:28b; 17:9b; 18:8; 20:19; 26:20, 22.
- Constant talking, (too busy talking to learn): Prov 10:8, 10b, 19; 17:28; 18:2; 20:19b.
Prov 10:10, “He who winks the eye causes trouble, and a babbling fool will be ruined.”
- False witnessing, (lying in a court of law or some other fact gathering setting): Prov 12:17b; 14:5b, 25b; 19:5a, 28a; 21:28; 25:18.
- Mocking, (to scorn, scoff, treat with contempt, or mimic someone in a ridiculing way): Prov 13:1b; 14:6a; 15:12; 17:5a; 19:29a; 21:11a; 22:10; 24:9b; 30:17.
Prov 17:5, “He who mocks the poor taunts his Maker; he who rejoices at calamity will not go unpunished.”
- Harsh talking, (perverse, reckless, harsh, evil, sly words): Prov 10:31b-32; 12:18a; 13:3b; 14:3a; 15:1b, 28b; 17:4a; 19:1, 28b.
Prov 10:31-32, “The mouth of the righteous flows with wisdom, but the perverted tongue will be cut out. 32The lips of the righteous bring forth what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked what is perverted.”
- Boasting, (to brag about your accomplishments, talents, or possessions): Prov 17:7 (Excellent = Boasting); 20:14; 25:14; 27:1-2.
Prov 25:14, “Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of his gifts falsely.”
- Quarreling, (angry dispute or disagreement, causing strife): Prov 13:10; 15:18; 17:14, 19; 19:13; 20:3; 21:9; 19; 22:10; 25:24; 26:17, 20-21; 27:15.
Prov 15:18, “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but the slow to anger calms a dispute.”
- Deceiving, (to delude, trick or mislead by dishonest behavior): Prov 7:19-20; 12:2; 15:4b; 25:23.
- Flattering, (to praise someone to get something you want): Prov 26:28b; 28:23; 29:5.
- Ignorant or foolish words: Prov 14:7; 15:2b, 7-14; 18:6-7.
Prov 14:7, “Leave the presence of a fool, or you will not discern words of knowledge.”
Prov 18:6-7, “A fool’s lips bring strife, and his mouth calls for blows. 7A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are the snare of his soul.”
Right Uses of Words
- Words that help and encourage: Prov 10:11a, 20a, 21a; 12:14a, 18b; 15:4a; 18:4, 20-21.
Prov 18:4, “The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.”
- Words that express wisdom: Prov 10:13a, 31a; 14:3b; 15:1a, 7a; 16:10, 21b, 23b; 20:15.
- Words that are few: Prov 10:19; 11:12b; 13:3a; 17:27a.
- Words that are fitting, (kind, appropriate, or pleasant): Prov 10:32a; 12:25; 15:1a, 4a, 23; 16:24; 25:11, 15.
Prov 12:25, “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, but a good word makes it glad.”
- Words that are true: Prov 12:17a, 19a, 22b; 14:5a, 25a.
- Words that are carefully chosen: Prov 13:3a; 15:28; 16:23a; 21:23.
Prov 21:23, “He who guards his mouth and his tongue, guards his soul from troubles.”
Verse 17, “Haughty eyes (idiom for arrogance as a system), a lying tongue (sins of the tongue), hands that shed innocent blood (murder).”
Here we have the first three of the seven abominable sins.
- “Haughty / arrogant eyes.”
“Haughty eyes” is RUM AYIN, so we could say, “rum eyes”, where those who drink too much alcohol seem to suddenly have the courage of David, lol.
RUM is a Verb, here in the QAL Active Participle that means, “to be high, or exalted, to rise.” Here the metaphorical use shows the heart lifted up, which indicates pride or arrogance. It is arrogance, conceitedness of ourselves and contempt of others, Prov 30:13.
Prov 30:13, “There is a kind—oh how lofty are his eyes! And his eyelids are raised in arrogance.”
It is speaking of those who ultimately manifest a denial of the Lord’s authority, cf., Job 21:22; 38:15; Psa 101:5; Isa 2:11-17; 10:33 and have a disregard for human rights. Therefore, arrogance means self-exaltation over another person and violates the fundamentally equal honor of each individual, cf. Prov 8:13; 16:5; 29:23.
2 Sam 22:28, “And You save an afflicted people; but Your eyes are on the haughty whom You abase (SHAPEL –שָׁפֵל, to bring low, humbled).” Also Psa 18:27.
A “proud look” is arrogance, which includes everything, e.g., bitterness, jealousy, vindictiveness, implacability, hatred, self-pity, etc.
Arrogance is listed first in this catalogue of abominations because it is the primary genesis of sin and gives rise to it. No bad habit stands in sharper opposition to wisdom and fear of God than pride, Isa 2:11-17, and no virtue stands closer to them than humility and modesty, cf. Prov 3:34; 15:33; 16:18; 22:4.
Arrogance is a major contradiction to the Pre-designed Protocol Plan of God; and therefore the primary reason for the believer’s failure to execute God’s plan, will, and purpose.
The New American Commentary states about “Haughty eyes”, “The position of the eyes describes the attitude of the heart. The arrogant spirit may vaunt itself against any and all people, but fundamentally this reflects haughtiness before God and refusal to reckon with one’s finitude and creatureliness.” (New American Commentary – Volume 14: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs.)
Matthew Henry notes, “God sees the pride in the heart and hates it there; but, when it prevails to that degree that the show of men’s countenance witnesses against them that they overvalue themselves and undervalue all about them, this is in a special manner hateful to Him, for then pride is proud of itself and sets shame at defiance.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible.)
- “Lying tongue”
“Lying” is SHEQER, שֶׁקֶר, that means “a lie, falsehood, or deception” and “tongue” is LAHSON, לָשׁוֹן.
It refers to malicious gossip and slander. It signifies aggressive deceit intended to harm another or others, unfaithfulness, and untrustworthiness, even when only the result of words, Cf. Prov 12:19; 21:6; 26:28.
A “lying tongue” is metonymy, (a closely related term), for a person who has no regard for truth. To lie is to distort reality for one’s own purposes and speaks of a refusal to submit to norms of right and wrong. By lying, one seeks to rearrange not just individual facts but one’s place in the world and so avoid having to live by the normal rules of life. Habitual lying leads to the psychological distortions described as “psychopathic personality.”
“Next to a proud look nothing is more an abomination to God than a lying tongue; nothing more sacred than truth, or more necessary to conversation than speaking truth. God and all good men hate and abhor lying.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible.)
- “Hands that Shed Innocent Blood”
“Hands” is the plural of the noun YAD יָד, “a pair of hands”, Prov 1:24.
“Shed” is the Verb SHAPHAK, שָׁפַךְ, that means, “to pour or shed.” It is used here symbolically or metaphorically as “murder.” Murder is said to be the pouring out of a person’s blood, Lev 17:4.
“Innocent” is NAQI, נָקִי. It is an adjective meaning, “clean, free from, or exempt.” It carries the idea of one who is actually innocent, and not deserving of punishment. The most common use is in the phrase “innocent blood,” an idiom to describe people who are threatened with violence or murder, sometimes actually being killed without provocation, e.g., Deut 19:10; 27:25; 1 Sam 19:5; 2 Kings 21:16; 24:4; Psa 94:21; 106:38; Isa 59:7; Jer 7:6; 22:3, 17.
“Blood” is DAM, דָּם, The fluid in animals and people which nourishes each part of the body and is universally recognized as essential for life. The first occurrence of the word for blood in the Bible is in a murder scene in Gen 4:10. It is pictured as calling out to God for punishment of a murderer. Cain had taken Abel’s life unjustly and that guilt required justice. Many of the Bible usages of the word blood refer to murder or at least violence against another human being, such as Psa 5:6, which literally says “man of bloods” (where the NIV has “bloodthirsty”), 2 Sam 16:7-8 or Ezek 7:23.
“Shedding Innocent Blood”, is vividly illustrated in Prov 1:11-14.
“To shed blood” is not a neutral word for “to kill,” but instead judges the deed committed. It is an intentional killing driven by some type of covetous greed, cf. Ezek 22:27; 2 Kings 21:16, and therefore classified as murder.
Murder is the only overt sin listed among the seven worst sins, (not fornication). Murder deprives an individual of his right to live, given to him by God at birth with the imputation of the spark of life to his soul.
So the phrase, “hands that shed innocent blood” describes the violent personality and as such is one who would be prone to murder if circumstances were conducive. Therefore, a lack of control over anger is implied, as is a profound lack of regard for the value of human life. This is the personality that will beat or even kill another person out of anger over a presumed insult.
“The devil was, from the beginning, a liar and a murderer, John 8:44, and therefore, as a lying tongue, so hands that shed innocent blood are hateful to God, because they have in them the devil’s image and do him service.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible.)
Verse 18, “A heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil.”
- “A heart that devises wicked plans.”
As noted previously, at the center of the list of seven stands the “heart”, LEB, see Prov 2:2; 6:14a. Also called the right lobe of your soul, it is the center of all thought processing that gives rise to all of our physical and spiritual activity.
“Devises” is the same word noted in vs. 14 above, the verb CHARASH, חָרַשׁ, in the Qal Active Participle that is derived from two different roots. The first root means, “to engrave, to cut, or to plow (cutting the ground),” and in a metaphorical sense, “to prepare or to devise”, its secondary meaning is, “to be silent.” So “devises,” occurs as a metaphor of actions or behavior, mostly unethical behavior. Proverbs 3:9 speaks of those who “devise evil and good”, as does Prov 14:22; cf. 6:14, 18; 12:20 of those who devise evil.
“Wicked” is AWEN which too we noted above that means, “evil, wicked, iniquity, etc.” The wicked are said to be engaged in plotting or scheming evil, Psa 36:4; Isa 32:6-7; Ezek 11:2.
“Plans”, is the noun MACHASHABAH, מַחֲשָׁבָה, in the Feminine Plural as MAHSHABOT. It means, “thought, device, design, invention, plan, etc.”
Plans and thoughts frequently focus upon evil intents, as we see here. Likewise, the relationship between evil thoughts and deeds is close, as illustrated by the juxtapositioning of the two among the things that Yahweh hates here in vs. 18.
The “heart that devises wicked schemes” might be what we call today a sociopathic personality. They are sins of anti-authority, conspiracy, and revolution. Such a person has no regard for anything but that which might work to his or her advantage. Rules and values are used when it is beneficial to them, but they disregard them when they are inconvenient. Such a one is always looking for an edge over everyone else.
There always frustrated people who become conspiratorial. When authority makes them feel uncomfortable, they do everything they can to undermine authority. This sin also refers to children who undermine the authority of their parents, and of anyone else who undermines any authority over them.
“Subtlety in the contrivance of sin, wisdom to do evil, a heart that designs and a head that devises wicked imaginations, that is acquainted with the depths of Satan and knows how to carry on a covetous, envious, revengeful plot, most effectually. The more there is of craft and management in sin the more it is an abomination to God.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible.)
- “Feet that run rapidly to evil.”
All the words found in this verse, including “to evil”, though in its masculine, not feminine, form, are also found in Prov 1:16, and Prov 1:11-15 aptly illustrates this fifth abomination.
“Feet (REGEL) that run (RUTS) rapidly (MAHAR) to evil (RAAH).”
“Rapidly” is the Verb MAHAR, מָהַר, in the PIEL (intensive action) stem that means, “to act hastily, to hasten, prepare quickly, do quickly, or bring quickly.”
“Evil” is the noun RAAH, רָעָה, that means “evil or disaster.”
The pair of “feet” sets the whole person in motion toward the evil that he wants to achieve. “That run rapidly” emphasizes this person’s zeal, zest, and enthusiasm for opportunities to do wrong and to follow the inner evil compulsion from his heart as soon as possible, cf. Isa 59:7.
Isa 59:7, “Their feet run to evil, and they hasten to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity, devastation and destruction are in their highways.”
As a result of “devising evil” and conspiracy, there is active civil disobedience. As such, “feet running rapidly to evil” refers to criminality, destruction of property, and life in the name of some crusade.
Such an individual regards the occasion to sin, when it appears, as a stroke of good luck and a terrific chance to get away with breaking a rule and perhaps get something for nothing. But the benefit that may come is secondary; their real objective of desire is the simple joy of wrongdoing.
Verse 19, “A false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.”
- “A false witness who utters lies.”
“False Witness” is SHEQER ED. SHEQER, שֶׁקֶר, means, “lie or deception, to deal deceitfully.” It is used to describe words or activities that are “false,” in the sense of being without basis in fact or reality.
SHEQER is used with particular reference to false testimony, as in court. God considered it such a serious sin to give testimony ungrounded in truth that He forbids it in the Ten Commandments, Ex 20:16, “You shall not bear false witness”, as well as elsewhere, Deut 19:18.
It too is motivated by arrogance, Psa 119:69a, “The arrogant have forged a lie against me”, and connected with hatred, Prov 10:18; 26:28.
God warns that such lies only achieve their objectives for a short time, Prov 12:19; 21:6.
“Utters” is the Verb PUACH, פּוּחַ, that means, “to blow or human breathing.”
It is used as a nuance for the false witnesses, Prov 12:17; 14:5, 25; 19:5, 9, and haughtiness, Prov 29:8; Ezek. 21:31, as the arrogant “puff or snort” in the face of their foes, Psa 10:5.
“Lies” is the Noun KAZAV, כָּזָב, that means “lie, deception, or fraud.”
In view is one of the avenues of the “false witness” who seeks to subvert justice in the courts. Keil and Delitzsch say, “It is one subject which is thus doubly characterized, fictions and the disfiguring of the actual facts.” (Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament)
The Jews had the greatest system of jurisprudence in history. So a false witness who lies makes it impossible to bring out the facts.
Prov 14:5, “A trustworthy witness will not lie, but a false witness utters lies.”
So the one who lies against someone when witnessing in court, cf. Prov 12:17; 14:5, 25; 19:5, 9; 21:28; 25:18, is a person who also causes discord among friends. Apparently by his lies, he causes friends to be suspicious of each other. And as we are noting, there are seven things which God hates, and lying involves two of them; he hates it, and doubly hates it.
- “One who spreads strife among brothers.”
The “one who spreads strife” climactically brings the list to its conclusion. As noted above, it is not just another type of sin but also is the culmination of the six above sins collectively and individually. It refers to playing one person against another.
“Spreads” is the Verb SHALACH, שָׁלַח, is in the Piel (intensive action) stem that means to “send out.” He is sending forth conflicts and strife.
“Strife” is the Noun MEDAN, מָדוֹן, that means, “strife or contention” and is from the root DIN that means “to judge.” So we see wrong judging involved in this process.
Prov 16:28, “A perverse man spreads strife, and a slanderer separates intimate friends.”
Likewise, those who stir up strife are noted in Prov 10:12; 15:18; 28:25; 29:22, as being foolish and headed for judgment.
“Brothers”, is the noun ACH, אָח, in the plural. However, there are a wide variety of biological, sociological, legal, and political connotations covered by this noun.
It can denote blood relatives ranging from full blood brother, Gen 25:26, to kinsman, Gen 14:14, to a fellow countryman, Gen 31:32; 18:19. In essence, this person attempts to break apart the bonds that hold a society together. The God of love and peace hates the sowing of discord among brethren, for He delights in concord.
So these final two figures are “fundamentally antisocial in that they break bonds of friendship, promote the decay of public justice, and ultimately bring a community into chaos.” (New American Commentary – Volume 14: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs.)
And finally, Isaiah provides the opposite to this list, Isa 33:15, “He who walks righteously and speaks with sincerity, he who rejects unjust gain and shakes his hands so that they hold no bribe; he who stops his ears from hearing about bloodshed and shuts his eyes from looking upon evil.16He will dwell on the heights, his refuge will be the impregnable rock; his bread will be given him, his water will be sure.”
Verse 20-35 – “Avoid Adultery.”
We now turn to the final instruction of Chapter 6, to Avoid Adultery. This is the 14th of the 17 lectures found in Chapters 1-8, and this poem contains the second of three extended warnings against adultery, cf. Prov 5:1-2; 7:1-27.
Interestingly, after these chapters, adultery is mentioned only rarely in Prov 10-31, unlike the other topics addressed in this chapter, pledging surety, laziness, wickedness, violence, etc.
Sexual immorality and adultery are addressed only four times in the rest of the Book, Prov 22:14; 23:26ff; 29:3; 30:20, which may mean that this theme was rarely the subject of individual proverbs. If so, having a lack of available poetic sayings could explain why adultery is so dominant in the preface, as more than one-quarter of the verses of these nine chapters address adultery or sexual immorality.
This final lecture and poem of Chapter 6 has three important themes.
Verses 20-23 – The importance of Bible Doctrine in your soul.
Verses 24-25 – The fact that Bible Doctrine protects you from the adulterous woman.
Verses 26-35 – The warning of the dangers and consequences of committing adultery.
Verses 20-23 – The Importance of Bible Doctrine in Your Soul.
Prov 6:20, “My son, observe the commandment of your father and do not forsake the teaching of your mother.”
Once again we begin with the familiar phrase “my son,” BENIY, which indicates a new lesson to be given.
“Observe” is the Hebrew Verb NATSAR, נצַר, in the Qal Imperative as a command to, “watch, guard, keep, preserve, or observe” the commandment from the father regarding the importance of guarding Bible Doctrine resident within your soul.
“Commandment” is the Singular Noun MITSWAH, מִצְוָה, that means, “order, command, or commandment.” It is singular, unlike Prov 2:1; 3:1, because the specific commandment here is to be on guard against the adulteress. So we are commanded to keep the commandment of our father, that is, “keep his command.”
This refers to the father’s, AB’s, command regarding the adulterous woman, which is then followed by an exhortation to not forsake the mother’s, EM’s, instruction as well, both of which are in the same line of thinking because they both know God’s Word and have wisdom from it.
“Do not forsake” is the Hebrew negative AL, with the Qal Jussive Verb NATASH, נָטַשׁ, which is the father’s desire for the son to not, “leave, forsake, or abandon”, his mother’s instructions. The Jussive expresses a desire for the son to follow the teachings of the mother.
“Teaching” here is TORAH, תּוֹרָה, that means, “law or instruction.” TORAH is used for God’s instructions as given in the first five books of the Bible, but here it is used for the mother’s instructions regarding the wisdom of God’s Word, which is based on her previous knowledge and understanding of God’s Word. Therefore, it is the expression of her will, instructing her son in the proper way to live according to God’s Word.
Observing and not forsaking are two sides of the same coin; to fail to observe the commandment is to abandon it. So this call to attention by both the mother and father is closely related to others we have seen and will see in the remaining opening chapters.
Prov 6:21, “Bind them continually on your heart; tie them around your neck.”
Both “bind”, QASHAR, קָשַׁר, and “tie”, ANAD, עָנַד, are synonymous terms, and are in the Qal Imperative, so we see the command from the father continuing. QASHAR metaphorically means to have one’s life bound up in the life of another, while ANAD is used for tying or wrapping something around another thing.
The language of “binding” is also found in the Covenant, Deut 6:6-9, in which Moses exhorted Israel to be sure that they observed the Covenant by keeping it in mind at all times and by having its words and precepts as readily available as their own hands. Interestingly, the same passage also urges the Israelites to teach “these words” to their children at all times, Deut 6:7, the very thing which the father and mother are doing in this passage of Proverbs.
This passage reiterates the exhortation to have God’s Word, Bible Doctrine, resident in your soul. This exhortation was previously given in Prov 1:9, and 3:3, and we will see it again in 7:3.
Here we have the added emphasis of “continually” which is the Adverb TAMYD, תָּמִיד. Therefore, Solomon is urging his son to keep these Doctrines continually on his heart, to bind them around his neck, so that they would always be present to guide him day and night.
This depicts the son wearing Bible Doctrine as a chain of protection and exaltation around the neck. Here it pictures him memorizing them in such a way that they are permanently impressed on the right lobe of his soul that prompts his every action.
Prov 6:22, “When you walk about, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk to you.”
This verse continues the Covenantal imagery by talking about the role of the “teaching”, (traditionally “The Law” and for the Church Age, “the Mystery Doctrines”), in the student’s life. The Israelites were commanded to know the Covenant so that they could discuss it with others at any time. Here, however, the roles are reversed. Knowing the commandments, the student is guided, kept, and continually instructed by them. Therefore, the Word of God “guides you, watches over you, and talks to you.”
“Guides” is the verb NACHAH, נָחָה, that means, “to lead, or guide” usually in the right direction or on the proper path. The son must heed the parental teaching because it will guide him as a shepherd through the dangerous snares of the adulteress. This is a common term used for a Shepard who guides his flock on a daily basis, just as the Word of God that is the mind of the Great Shepard, Jesus Christ, should be guiding us daily, Psa 23:1; 77:20, which is the metaphor of “when you walk about”
Psa 23:1, “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.”
“Watches” is the verb SHAMAR, שָׁמַר, that means to “observe, guard, or keep.” This implies protection during the danger-ridden night, see Prov 3:24. This is what the Word of God does for you while you are sleeping at night. It protects not only your conscious thought but your subconscious thoughts as well. It stands as a guardian over you at night, “when you sleep.”
“Talk” is the verb SIYACH, שִׂיחַ, that means, “to ponder or consider.” It has the connotation of, “to go over in one’s mind”, which action can be done either inwardly as meditation or outwardly as talking. It connotes looking for, listening to, and cycling Bible Doctrine in the morning before the beginning of work and other social encounters.
Guiding, watching over, and talking all depict a relationship with a true companion, which Bible Doctrine should thus be to the believer. It is our shepherd leader, protector, and counselor, cf. Deut 11:18-23.
Bruce Waltke notes in his commentary in the New International Commentary, that “Greenstone noted the rabbis interpreted these three as meaning protection in life, death and in heaven”, but the fact of continual living is better interpreted here.
Prov 6:23, “For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light; and reproofs for discipline are the way of life.”
Here we are given further exhortation regarding the commands of the father and the teaching of the mother.
In this passage the “commands”, MITSWAH, of the father are a “lamp”, which is the Noun NEYR, נִיר, that means, “lamp or light.”
This word is used for the lamps in the Tabernacle that were to be kept burning all night, Ex 27:20; 30:7f; Lev 24:2, 4; therefore, the light represented the continual presence of God, just as God’s Word should be cycling through your thinking continually.
The “teaching”, TORAH, of the mother are said to be a “light”, which is the Noun OR, אוֹר, that means, “light or lamp.”
The pillar of fire was a light for the wandering Israelites, Ex 13:21, that spoke of the Lord’s presence and guidance daily.
Light is always used as a positive symbol, such as for good fortune, Job 30:26; victory, Micah 7:8, 9; justice and righteousness, Isa 59:9; guidance, Psa 119:105; and a bearer of deliverance, Isa 49:6. These are all things that the Word of God resident in your soul provides for you.
Proverbs notes that the path of the righteous knows the light (of God), whereas all the wicked know is deep darkness, Prov 4:18-19; cf. 13:9.
And remember that our Lord Jesus Christ is the light of the world!
John 8:12, “Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”
Both NEYR and OR are used in Psa 119:105 as for the Word of God that lights our way.
Psa 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
- Then we have, “reproofs for discipline are the way of life.”
“Way of life” is DEREK CHAYYIM. Although general in nature, in this passage, the “way of life” refers specifically to adultery, from which the student is protected insofar as he attends carefully to the instruction that he has and is about to receive.
“Reproofs for Discipline” is the Noun TOKECHAH, תּוֹכֵחָה, that means, “rebuke, correction, reproof, or chastisement” with the Noun MUSAR, מוּסָר, that means, “chastisement, warning, instruction, discipline, or correction.” The word occurs most frequently of the, “discipline, correction, or instruction” of wisdom, Prov 1:2, 7; 15:33. This combination, “correction for correction sake” in essence establishes what is good and right in life; the way in which we should live.
As we know “wisdom” results from listening to this type of instruction, Prov 19:20, and having “discipline” takes effort, Prov 23:12, 23.
Not only here but in other parts of Proverbs, it speaks specifically of parental instruction (Bible Doctrine) as something to be closely followed, Prov 1:8; 4:1; 13:1, and failure to listen to a father’s instruction results in ignorance, Prov 19:27ff.
Prov 10:17, “He is on the path of life who heeds instruction, but he who ignores reproof goes astray.”
Prov 12:1, “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.” Cf. Prov 15:31-33.
Prov 17:10, “A rebuke goes deeper into one who has understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.”
Prov 19:20, “Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days.”
Prov 23:12, “Apply your heart to discipline and your ears to words of knowledge.”
Prov 23:23, “Buy truth, and do not sell it get wisdom and instruction and understanding.”
Eccl 7:5, “It is better to listen to the rebuke of a wise man than for one to listen to the song of fools.”
2 Tim 3:16-17, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
In summary, the parental teaching illuminates the way the Lord watches over us, the way of the full and abundant life, and the way on which the son will be protected from the hidden pitfalls of Satan’s Cosmic System.
Prov 8:33-36, “Heed instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. 34Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at my doorposts. 35For he who finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD. 36But he who sins against me injures himself; all those who hate me love death.”
The Importance of Bible Doctrine / God’s Word
Bible Doctrine / God’s Word is important because it is related to the attributes of God. It tells us who He is and how we should function daily to worship and have fellowship with Him. Therefore, Bible Doctrine is the study of the attributes of God and is the basis for all true worship. Praising the Lord is not saying an empty hollow phrase, but thinking doctrine.
Psa 138:2, “I myself will worship toward Your holy temple, and praise Your name (person) for your lovingkindness (grace) and Your truth (Bible doctrine). For you have magnified your Word (Bible doctrine) above Your name (person).”
In His dying words Christ made Bible doctrine the legacy of the Royal Family. In His dying breath, Jesus Christ made Bible doctrine the spiritual legacy of the Royal Family. By comparing Luke 23:46, “Into your hands I deposit my spirit,” with Psa 31:5, we learn what was not recorded in Luke, “For you have delivered me, O Lord, God of truth (Bible doctrine).”
Therefore, Doctrinal teaching should be your highest priority in life. Nothing is more important than knowing who God is, what He thinks, and understanding how He operates.
Prov 8:33-36, “Heed instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. 34Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at my doorposts. 35For he who finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD. 36But he who sins against me injures himself; all those who hate me love death.”
There are three concepts for the environment of application: learning, thinking, and solving.
- Learning is the perception and application of Bible doctrine by means of your right Pastor Teaching and the Grace Apparatus for Perception ministry of the Holy Spirit.
- Thinking is the application of metabolized Doctrine to experience.
- Solving is understanding and using the Problem Solving Devices of the Pre-designed Protocol Plan of God to the situations of everyday life.
There are three directions for application of God’s Word.
- Toward God which includes worship, Personal Love for God, and Occupation with Christ.
- Toward people that means Impersonal Love for all Mankind.
- Toward self that refers to Spiritual Self-Esteem.
The results of Bible doctrine in the soul.
- It produces confidence in time, Job 5:24 27; 2 Cor 5:6 8; Heb 10:35.
- It produces Divine viewpoint of life and establishes right priorities in the soul, Isa 55:7 9; 2 Cor 10:5.
- It orients the believer to the Plan of God, Isa 26:3 4; Rom 8:28.
- It produces stability of mind, James 1:8.
- It is the basis for Divine guidance and the execution of the will of God, Rom 12:2 3.
- It leads to Occupation with Christ, your social life with Christ, and the capacity and ability to love God and appreciate Him as the source of blessing when it comes, Phil 3:10; Eph 3:19; Heb 12:1 2.
- It attains and holds spiritual maturity, Phil 3:12 14.
- It attains eternal grace blessing, Heb 11:9, 10, 13; James 1:25 cf. 2:12 13.
- It is the true source of happiness, Luke 11:27 28, “Happiness is hearing and retaining the Word of God.”
Life without learning God’s Word is death.
Verses 24-25 – Bible Doctrine Protects you from the Adulterous Woman.
Prov 6:24, “To keep you from the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the adulteress.” In this verse we have two forms of protection that the Word of God provides for us.
- Protection against sinful people, so that we do not commit overt sins.
“Keep” is our familiar word SHAMAR meaning, “to keep, watch, guard, protect, and preserve.” In the Qal (active voice), Infinitive Construct, it means that the Word of God performs this action on an ongoing basis. It keeps on protecting you!
This is the power of God’s Word resident within your soul. It will protect you from the “evil”, RA, “woman”, ISHSHAH; The woman trying to lead you into an adulterous relationship.
So the first form of protection is from the sinful person herself, which indicts the physical interaction of adultery. Therefore, we have protection against Overt Sins.
As we have noted in Chapter 5, the adulterous woman is analogous to Satan and his cosmic system that is trying to lead you away from your relationship with your right man, the Lord Jesus Christ, as all Church Age believers are the bride of Christ. So here we see once again, the value of having God’s Word (Bible Doctrine) resident within our soul. It will protect you from the temptations of sin and evil. It will guard your soul from the same. It keeps you out of Satan’s Cosmic System, and inside your Experiential Sanctification; your walk with Christ, and fellowship with the Holy Spirit.
- Now we have our next form of protection, protection against verbal deception so that we do not commit mental attitude sins, i.e., lust or coveting.
Here we see the wiles and deceptions of this “evil woman”, as we did in Prov 5:3, with the phrase, “the smooth tongue of the adulteress.”
“Smooth” is the Noun CHELQAH, חֶלְקָה that means, “smooth part, smoothness, or flattery.” In fact, the KJV uses “flattery” here. In Prov 5:3, we had the cognate adjective CHALAQ. So we see the flattering “tongue / speech”, LASHON, (tongue or language) of the “adulteress”, NOKRIY, נָכְרִי, an Adjective that literally means, “foreign, strange, or alien” which is the continuing metaphor for the adulterous woman, cf. Prov 2:16.
Each of the four passages about her, shed more light on the same kind of seductress that she is. In Prov 2:16 and 7:5, it mentions non-figuratively her “words,” whereas in Prov 5:3 and 6:24, it uses the metonymies of “palate” and “tongue” respectively.
Therefore, “her tongue, being sharp as a two edged sword, Prov 5:5, threatens to cut apart at the seam the very fabric of the godly home where the generations are sewn together.” (Bruce Waltke, Ibid)
So here we have the second form of protection which is protection against verbal deception and persuasion that can be in the form of flattery or even bulling to try to get you to do something you otherwise would not do. This will be dramatically illustrated in the next lecture, Prov 7:13-21. We noted both of these, “flattery and bullying” in Chapter 5, so please review that information for more detail.
Therefore, our second protection is against mental attitude sins that are enticed by someone else’s verbal sins, (flattery, bullying, etc.), so that we do not succumb to their deception.
As we have seen previously, Prov 2:13; 4:18f, the theme of light and darkness is displayed here again, as the Word of God combats various temptations from Satan’s cosmic system and our own Old Sin Nature. As the Proverbs teach, the wise observe their way and act according to what they see, whereas fools blunder ignorantly on, to their hurt and eventual destruction, e.g., Prov 22:3; 27:12.
And as we noted in vs. 23, disciplinary reproofs and teaching are complementary, when we have correction, it shows us the boundaries of the path we should walk that is lit up by the teaching of God’s Word, cf. Psa 119:105, so that we are not deceived by Satan’s cosmic system and those who whole heartedly participate in it.
In summary, vs. 24 tells us that Bible Doctrine, the Word of God, protects us from:
- Sinful people so that we do not commit overt sins.
- Verbal deception so that we do not commit mental attitude sins, i.e., lust or coveting.
Then we have in Prov 6:25, two forms of protective action we must take to guard our own souls, by applying God’s Word that is resident within our souls.
Prov 6:25, “Do not desire her beauty in your heart, nor let her capture you with her eyelids.”
As Bible Doctrine was to take action in vs. 24, We now need to take action in vs. 25.
Here we have the two action items we must take by applying the Bible Doctrine resident within our souls, which provides protection from Mental Attitude and Overt Sins.
- The first protection is having mental fortitude.
“Do not desire” is the Verb CHAMAD, חָמַד, in the Qal Jussive that means, “to desire, covet, take pleasure in, or delight in.” It is linked with the negative AL, so it means, “do not desire.” In the Jussive, it is the desire of the Parents that the son “not desire” the “beauty”, YOPHIY, יֳפִי, of the adulteress. YOPHIY is used to describe the pleasing and satisfying appearance of things or in this case a person.
The motives of the subject often determine whether desires are pleasing in the eyes of The Lord or not. When accompanied by prudence or the fear of God, beauty represent the Biblical feminine ideal, Prov 5:18-20; 11:22; 31:30; cf. 1 Sam 25:3.
Naturally, the desires of the wicked, Prov 12:12, or the godless, Job 20:5, 20 are not in accordance with the desires of The Lord.
Therefore, desires must be held in check because they can easily cause sinful acts, as the first sin of humanity entered because Eve “desired” the fruit which was “pleasant” to look at, Gen 3, but was forbidden by God, and as we are warned in 1 John 2:15…
1 John 2:15-16, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.”
These three temptations are seen in the Garden of Eden, as well as in our Lords’ three temptations from Satan, and are what I call temptations of “appetite, beauty, and ambitious pride.”
One of these is also mentioned in Prov 6:25 is “beauty”, which can serve as a trap for the unwise.
- The beauty of the king of Tyre (the personification of Satan himself) contributed to his arrogance and downfall, Ezek 27:3ff.
- The beauty of the women of Jerusalem was to be replaced with embarrassment, on account of their arrogance and disregard for the oppressed, Isa 3:24.
Prov 31:30 declares, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.”
Beauty and desires which are in accord with the desires of Yahweh stand in contrast with the normal sense of physical attractiveness, because right desire is deeper than mere sensory data.
And once again we are reminded where lust and desire lives if we let it, “in your heart”, LEB or LEBAB that means, “inner man, mind, will, or heart”, which we also call the right lobe of your soul.
The state of the heart is the primary concern, see also Prov 4:23. So the first warning of this verse is to guard one’s heart against coveting another woman’s beauty. And just because something is beautiful, it does not justify the desire for it and potential subsequent sin.
Lusting or coveting take place “in the heart” cf. Mat 5:27-28, so this command assumes that people can govern their hearts, Prov 4:23, by binding the parental teaching (Bible Doctrine) to it, Prov 6:21.
Paul knew from experience that we need the empowering Holy Spirit to resist temptation, not just our human volition, Rom 7:7-8:17. This is what we call the Balance of Residency, which is: Maximum Bible Doctrine in your soul ready for application, plus the filling of God the Holy Spirit.
So the first action of protection we must take is not to lust after the “beautiful” things of this world. This is having mental attitude fortitude, based on God’s Word applied from the right lobe, heart of your soul.
- Then we have the second action item which is having virtue in your soul that leads to virtuous behavior.
With this we have the second enticement of the adulteress woman’s beauty, “nor let her capture you with her eyelids.”
The parallelism here between “do not covet her beauty” and “do not let her capture you with her eyes” suggests that coveting begins by allowing eye contact to linger. Then desiring comes into the heart through optical stimulation aroused by “her beauty,” and more specifically by “her eyes,” coupled with her “sweet talk.” If we let this process happen, then we will be captured in her web.
“Capture” is LAQACH, לָקַח, also in the Qal Jussive, that means, “to take, to grasp, to seize, or to take away.” Here the son is warned not to be taken away from his right relationship on account of the beauty of the adulteress’ “eyelids”, APHAPAYIM, עַפְעַפַּיִם. It means, “eyes or eyelids,” but is also used figuratively for “dawn, or rays of sun” in Job 3:9; and 41:18.
Literally, it is used here for the eyes, eyelids, or eye lashes that are used seductively by the adulterous woman trying to lure here prey in. In the ancient world, many of the woman were covered and only their eyes were exposed, so that is what the adulterous woman would use to entice the unsuspecting into her snare.
This too reminds us of 1 John 2:15 and the second temptation – beauty, “the lust of the eyes.”
As we have been noting, there is a further spiritual application as the second meaning of APHAPH is used for “the dawn”. As you may recall, Satan’s title was originally “son of the dawn”, Isa 14:12, “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn!”
Once again we have one of those interesting play on words in these proverbs that direct our attention from the literal to the spiritual impact, and in this case, both are destructive to our spiritual life, our walk with God.
As James 1:14-15 tells us, “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.”
So the second protection is for guarding against giving over to lustful desires and entering into some overt category of sin. To do so we must be virtuous, that is having physical fortitude, to reject temptation and not enter into overt sins.
Therefore, the son must be on his guard against both her verbal and nonverbal means of seduction, just as we are to be on guard against Satan’s wicked schemes of verbal and imagery temptation, because sin starts in lust and the imagination.
Verse 24 tells us that Bible Doctrine, the Word of God, protects us from:
- Sinful people so that we do not commit overt sins.
- Verbal deception so that we do not commit mental attitude sins, i.e., lust or coveting.
Verse 25 tells us we are to protect our own souls by applying God’s Word resident in our soul by:
- Not lusting or coveting after the “beautiful” things of this world, having mental attitude fortitude.
- Not entering into overt sins, having virtuous behavior.
And this is accomplished by having the Balance of Residency within our souls, which is: Maximum Bible Doctrine in your soul ready for application, plus the filling of God the Holy Spirit. M.B.D.S.R.4.A. + F.G.H.S.
Verses 26-35 – The Dangers and Consequences of Committing Adultery.
Here we begin the final section, of the final warning, of Chapter 6. In vs. 26-35, we have the consequences of entering into an adulterous relationship. It focuses on the danger of material loss, and the potential of losing ones’ life as a result of entering into this type of relationship.
Proverbs 6:26-35, “For on account of a harlot one is reduced to a loaf of bread, and an adulteress hunts for the precious life. 27Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned. 28Or can a man walk on hot coals, and his feet not be scorched? 29So is the one who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; whoever touches her will not go unpunished. 30Men do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy himself when he is hungry; 31But when he is found, he must repay sevenfold; He must give all the substance of his house. 32The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense; He who would destroy himself does it. 33Wonds and disgrace he will find, and his reproach will not be blotted out. 34For jealousy enrages a man, and he will not spare in the day of vengeance. 35He will not accept any ransom, nor will he be content though you give many gifts.”
Introduction and Overview:
This lesson consists of an admonition to not desire the adulterous wife, noted in vs. 25. It is backed up by two successive supporting arguments marked off by the Hebrew Conjunction KI, “because”, translated “for”, in vs. 26 & 34.
Therefore, we have the two-fold warning to the son to not even get started down this wrong path by lusting for her, “because”:
The price of adultery is severe, inevitable, and unending, vs. 26-31.
The cheated husband’s burning anger of jealously will never accept any payment for the wrong done to him less than the total destruction of the adulterer, vs. 34-35.
In between, vs. 32-33, we also see that the foolish son will also bring Divine punitive suffering upon himself.
Now, in these passages there are several comparisons and contrasts that are used to make the argument of the penalty one receives, as a result of an adulterous relationship.
- In 26 we see the severity of the consequences established by contrasting the price of a prostitute, “a loaf of bread”, that is, one measly meal, with the price of the adulteress, “the precious life”, that is, one’s very own life.
- In 27-29, we see the inevitability of the consequences illustrated by comparing adultery to playing with fire. Here we see that if you do, you will get burned!
- In 30-31, cf. 34-35, we see the unending duration of the consequences established by contrasting adultery with robbery: a thief can pay compensation for his wrongdoing, but the adulterer cannot.
Then, vs 32-33 function as a link between the first set of warnings, vs.26-31, and the second, vs. 34-35 bringing together and making more specific the severe penalty of adultery, namely:
- Total destruction, 32b.
- Physical wounds, coupled with severe shame and dishonor in the eyes of others, 33a.
- Unending reproach; fierce social criticism, 33b.
And the final comparison is in vs. 29, “touch”, with vs. 33, “wounds.” Both use the Noun NAGA, נָגַע, as there root that means, “to touch or strike.”
- In 29, it refers to the pleasurable touch extended to a woman.
- In 33, to the painful blows landing on the adulterer.
Therefore, what started out as something pleasurable, will ultimately turn into something very painful. The dynamic reversal underscores the transition from pleasure to pain that the adulterer will undergo.
So, the father is trying to warn his son that this type of relationship has no future in it. Not only is this something that is against God law, Ex 20:14 & Deut 5:18, “You shall not commit adultery”, which should be enough to stop the son from engaging in it, but the father also warns of both the earthly and heavenly consequences it will bring.
In fact, it was so severe in God’s eyes that during the Age of the Law, He determined that capital punishment was the just sentence for this action, Lev 20:10.
And remember what our Lord said during His First Advent in Mat 5:28, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
As we have been noting, the further spiritual impact of these passages where the adulteress personifies Satan and his cosmic system, we see that when we lust for the things of the world, whether we actually obtain them or just covet them, we are committing adultery against our right man the Lord the Jesus Christ. If we do, then we will have negative consequences in our lives as a result. That is why our Lord gave us 1 John 2:15-16.
1 John 2:15-17, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”