Vol. 17, No. 45 – November 11, 2018
Prov 22:10, “Drive out the scoffer, and contention will go out, even strife and dishonor will cease.”
In vs. 1, we are exhorted to have a good reputation; in vs. 2, to have good community relationships; in vs. 3, to have good avoidance of evil; in vs. 4, to have a good relationship with the Lord; in vs. 5, to have good in our soul by guarding it from sin through humility; in vs. 6, to have good training in the precepts of God; in vs. 7, we are to have good management of our finances, in vs. 8, we are to have a good temperament wielding our authority, in vs. 9, we are to have goodness in our giving; and now in vs. 10, we are to rightly drive out those who are abusing the legal system.
Like vs. 6, the condition of this synonymous parallelism expressed as a command, “drive out the scoffer,” is followed by the motivating result, “strife will cease.”
This verse begins with the words “drive out,” which are the Hebrew Verb GARASH, גָּרַשׁ that means, “drive out, cast out, expel, or banish.” It is in the Piel Imperative. The Piel stem is the intensive active and the Imperative is for a command. This is one of the few directive or imperatival proverbs, cf. Prov 22:24f. The same thought underlies, Prov 26:18f.
“Drive out” denotes to interrupt forcibly an existing relationship in order to deprive those being chased away from a situation they cling to, cf. Gen. 3:24; 4:14; Exod. 23:29, 30; Josh. 24:18; Ps. 78:55. It means that we are to break relationship with those who are abusive to any system, especially the legal system, as we will see. This proverb does not advocate the suppression of conflict, only the illicit abuse of a system. Whereas many conflicts can be worked out with attention to proper detail and process, not all are due to abusiveness or revenge motivation. But when there is abuse, we are to take the appropriate matters in hand to drive out the abusers.
Next, we have the object of the command, “the scoffer,” which is the noun LEITS that means, “mocker or scoffer” that also can be called the foolish or arrogant. This term is used to indicate those who have disrespect for YHWH, His laws, and His Word, Prov 1:22; 3:34. It includes those who do not follow God’s laws of Divine establishment, the laws of the land, or the rules of a system or engagement. These people are to not be trusted and should be pushed out of power, along with your disassociation with them. God’s people are warned not to associate with them, Psa 1:1.
Psa 1:1, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!”
Scoffers or mockers have made a number of appearances toward the end of this collection, Prov 19:25; 20:1; 21:11, 24, but they, like folly, Prov 22:15, should not be accepted or tolerated, because mockers are said to be unable to learn from the warnings, reproof, or punishment of those who are wiser, Prov 9:7f; 13:1; 14:6; 15:12; 19:25. As Psa 1:1 and our verse indicate, the wise, (those with Bible Doctrine applied from their soul), are not to associate with them and are to drive them out of their presence, so that their negative mental attitude and sin towards the weak or poor and God does not rub off on them.
Since the mocker clings to feeding his ego by debunking and taking advantage of others, and shaming them, an authority must forcibly expel him. That authority can be higher powers like a king, as alluded to in the next verse, or in a system of election like we have in the United States, they can be elected out of office.
As we have noted above, those who act proudly are also called scoffers, Prov 21:24, and they are an abomination to all, Prov 24:9. They will eventually be brought to nothing and utterly consumed, Prov 19:29; Isa 29:20. In addition, wine is also called a mocker, and those who become deceived by it are not wise, Prov 20:1.
And, as our verse also indicates, a good way to remove “contention” from a group is to evict the scoffer. That is noted in the phrase, “and contention will go out,” which the Qal Imperfect verb YATSA, יָצָא for, “to go out,” with the future tense impact of the Imperfect for “will go out,” and the Noun MADON, מָדוֹן that means “dispute, contention, strife.” This is the benefit of “running them out of town.” The contention and other negative things they bring to a society or relationship will be removed as they are removed. It is the concept of “removing the one bad apple so that the others do not rot too.”
The Proverbs speak of those who spread strife, Prov 6:14, 19; 16:28, and those who stir up strife, Prov 10:12; 15:18; 28:25; 29:22, as being foolish and headed for judgment. Therefore, if we continue to associate with them and leave them in our midst, we too will be negatively affected by their judgement or discipline.
Prov 29:22, “An angry man stirs up strife, and a hot-tempered man abounds in transgression.”
Prov 15:18, “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but the slow to anger calms a dispute.”
Prov 28:25, “An arrogant man stirs up strife, but he who trusts in the LORD will prosper.”
These passages remind us of the man from vs. 8, who is the hot tempered, arrogant lender who wields the “rod of his fury.” Therefore, the contentious scoffer we are to drive out, or not get involved with, is the immoral lender / rich man who is abusing his power and authority. When we do, things will calm down and harmony will come back to the community. Therefore, in this second half, it personifies “contention” as a twin that departs with the evicted “mocker.”
Bringing peace and harmony back to the community and between individuals, is noted in the last phrase, “even strife and dishonor will cease.” In the Hebrew, it starts with “and it will cease,” which is the Qal Imperfect of SHABATH, שָׁבַת that means, “to cease, to stop, to come to a standstill, or to rest.” We noted this word in Prov 18:18, “The cast lot puts an end to strife and decides between the mighty ones.” In addition, this word is where the “Sabbath” rest comes from. So, we see the ceasing of or resting of hostilities within the community that returns peace and harmony back to you and the community.
The thing that will “cease” or be “put to an end,” includes first “strife,” which is not the typical word for “strife” that is MADON. It is actually the Hebrew Noun DIYN, דִּין that means, “a case, legal claim, or lawsuit.” It is a general term referring to a “legal matter.” Proverbs often reminds us of our responsibility to stand up for the “cause or rights” of the weak and poor, Prov 29:7; 31:5, 8. When we do, our verse tells us the contention in the form of legal matters will cease. This verse has the assumption that the immoral and abusive rich and powerful lenders are the ones bringing the legal contention into the society. Yet, God desires none of it to be amongst His people.
The other thing we see that will cease is “dishonor,” which is the Noun QALON, קָלוֹן that means, “shame, dishonor, disgrace, etc.” Its root indicates the lowering of a person’s or the community’s social status, Isa 22:18. It refers to a feeling and condition of shame, of being put on display in mockery, Job 10:15; or of being dishonored, Psa 83:16. The characteristics of fools make a show of dishonor; it clings to them, Prov 3:35. Yet, a wise man conducts himself circumspectly and prudently, avoiding careless pride that leads to disgrace, Prov 11:2.
Prov 11:2, “When pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom.”
“If in a company, a circle of friends, a society (LXX ἔκβαλε ἐκ συνεδρίου), a wicked man is found who treats religious questions without respect, moral questions in a frivolous way, serious things jestingly, and in his scornful spirit, his passion for witticism, his love of anecdote, places himself above the duty of showing reverence, veneration, and respect, there will arise ceaseless contentions and conflicts.” (Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 6: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon.)
As such, the righteous, especially those in leadership positions like a king, as the context of our next verse indicates, are commanded to remove this person from society. As such, leaders or kings should evict mockers because they disrupt the community’s peace, but are to welcome the pure because they promote peace.
As you know, mockery alienates friends and destroys relationships, especially since it is often malevolent. The only cure is to root it out. It is better to have peace without whatever the scornful person brings to the relationship, than to have those benefits but ruined fellowship, Prov 26:20ff. And, as the Proverbs tell us, if the mocker were teachable, we could endure his antics temporarily in the hope of improvement, but since he is not, Prov 9:7f, he must be banished to protect the community from his destructive effects. Then, there will be rest from strife and disgrace; of the strife which such a one brings forth, and the disgrace which he brings on the society.
So, we see that there is not be an abusive use of the legal system of the rich and powerful over the weak and poor, or vice versa. If there is abuse, the one producing it, with its subsequent turmoil, conflicts, and dishonor, should be removed from the process and society. But the one who acts righteously, should find favor within the system and those running it, as our next verse indicates.
Prov 22:11, “He who loves purity of heart and whose speech is gracious, the king is his friend.”
In vs. 1, we are exhorted to have a good reputation; in vs. 2, to have good community relationships; in vs. 3, to have good avoidance of evil; in vs. 4, to have a good relationship with the Lord; in vs. 5, to have good in our soul by guarding it from sin through humility; in vs. 6, to have good training in the precepts of God; in vs. 7, we are to have good management of our finances, in vs. 8, we are to have a good temperament wielding our authority, in vs. 9, we are to have goodness in our giving; in vs. 10, we to rightly drive out those who are abusing the legal system; and now in vs. 11, we are to have good honesty and integrity in our speech inside our legal system, which finds favor with those who run it.
Here, we are given some advice on how to win friends and influence people, particularly with important people like the king.
First off, there is quite a disparity between the Hebrew and the Greek of the Septuagint for this verse. The Septuagint reads “The Lord loves holy hearts (the pure in heart), acceptable to Him are all the blameless; [the] king rules with [his] lips.” Some believe the original text for this verse is beyond recovery. The disparity of this passage is between the emphases being on a person, as the Hebrew reads, versus God, as the Septuagint reads. For our study, we will stick to the Hebrew version.
Even though there is little agreement among commentators on which translation, (the Hebrew or Greek) is more accurate, the general sense may parallel, Prov 16:13, and commend honest and gracious speech as the best policy in court and, by implication, throughout life.
Prov 16:13, “Righteous lips are the delight of kings, and he who speaks right is loved.” Cf. Prov 15:1.
Our verse, as many others do in Proverbs, commends gracious and truthful words or speech, especially in a court of law, when for the Israelites they were applying and interpreting God’s Law. Therefore, we also see application for the use and interpretation of God’s Word for the Church Age believer.
The Hebrew of this verse is fairly straight forward compared to the English translations, without a lot of poetical license. It reads, AHAB, “he who loves,” TAHOR, “purity or clean,” LEB, “of heart,” CHEN, “grace or gracious” SAPHAH, “lips or speech,” REA, “friend or relative,” MELEK, “king.”
Here we have the heart coming first and then speech. This is the right order, as when we speak in truth and honesty, it is a reflection of what is in the heart (right lobe) of the soul. Just as when we speak in lies and corruption, it reflects the lie and corruption within our souls.
It also tells us that those whose heart is pure, love the pureness of heart in others. It means they love to see honesty and integrity played out in the lives of others. They love to see the application of Bible Doctrine in the lives of others.
Therefore, heart purity, which belongs to the regenerated person, not the natural man, cf. Mat 12:33f., is given first to protect holy and righteous speech from being a mere façade that is in the heart of the liar, hater, maligner, scoffer, or mocker, cf. Prov 26:25.
Prov 26:25, “When he speaks graciously, do not believe him, for there are seven abominations in his heart.”
It is the pure in heart who see and know God. And, those who are pure in heart will be blessed by God, Mat 5:8; Psa 24:4-5.
Mat 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
Psa 24:4-5, “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully. 5He shall receive a blessing from the LORD And righteousness from the God of his salvation.”
Those who truly are pure / righteous in heart will demonstrate it by obedience to God’s Word, Col 4:6, “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt.” Yet, a bitter, acrimonious, and fault-finding tongue does not belong to the pure-hearted man of God, but is generally the evidence that one is far from being right with Him.
So, we see that the person who practices wise and good speech, who is right and accurate in apply the law, who functions in righteousness with integrity applying God’s Word, is not driven out like the mocker, vs. 10, but is welcomed by the king. The king would want a friend or counselor with qualities such as these.
In the context of the rest of this chapter, if the rod of discipline drives folly far away from the youth’s “heart,” Prov 22:15, it does so to nurture the love of a “pure heart” that will win over the king, ruler, or leaders, especially within the court system.
Here the king’s or ruler’s love for purity, honesty, integrity, righteousness, etc., is like that of YHWH, who watches over knowledge, Prov 22:12. Therefore, the discipline of correction will save the youth from the path of the wicked, Prov 22:5, and make a way for responsible service to king and community.
Therefore, we see from Prov 22:10-11, speech that mocks in pride is not the gracious speech that wins the king. And, as we will see, faithless words and lazy excuses will not please YHWH, Prov 22:12-13. Those who turn from God’s way will be vulnerable to what is most dangerous of all, words of seduction, symbolized throughout Proverbs by the mouth of the adulteress, a pit, thorns and snares, and a trap that destroys. The way we speak also says a great deal about the way we think, especially about the people in our community, the riches or powerful and the poor or weak.
“The person who loves a pure heart, who has honest intentions, and has gracious, considerate speech will find a friendly response from the king. The king will be his friend. Good kings respect integrity and character. A person of integrity and character is a valuable asset to the ruler who is looking for people who have wisdom, who have the best interest of the king at heart, and can be a help to him.” (Mattoon’s Treasures from Proverbs, Volume 2).
We are to become people who love purity of heart and who can speak graciously at the same time, because effective speech without integrity makes one a manipulative hypocrite; integrity without effective speech makes one’s influence ineffective.
Prov 22:12, “The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, but He overthrows the words of the treacherous man.”
In vs. 1, we are exhorted to have a good reputation; in vs. 2, to have good community relationships; in vs. 3, to have good avoidance of evil; in vs. 4, to have a good relationship with the Lord; in vs. 5, to have good in our soul by guarding it from sin through humility; in vs. 6, to have good training in the precepts of God; in vs. 7, we are to have good management of our finances, in vs. 8, we are to have a good temperament wielding our authority, in vs. 9, we are to have goodness in our giving; in vs. 10, we to rightly drive out those who are abusing the legal system; in vs. 11, we are to have good honesty and integrity in our heart and speech, especially inside our legal system, which finds favor with those who run it; and now in vs. 12, The Lord desires truth in the court system.
As in vs. 9, we have AYIN for “eyes,” but this time it is not speaking of the graciousness in man, but the omniscience “of the Lord,” YHWH, that “preserves,” NATSAR, “knowledge,” DA’ATH.
The anthropomorphism, “eyes of the Lord” refers to the Omniscience, (all knowing) of God, Prov 15:3.
Prov 15:3, “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, watching the evil and the good.”
This is one of the attributes of God’s essence. He is all knowing. And with His omniscience, He preserves “knowledge,” DA’ATH, דַּעַת that means “knowledge, skill, or perception.” The noun is used in the sense of discernment, of being able to understand circumstances correctly.
In the context of vs. 10-11, that continues here, it is speaking about the knowledge of a situation that has been brought before a court of law. Therefore, it is referring to “the truth” of a situation, especially the truthfulness of a witness of a crime who has knowledge of it. The context carries forward from vs. 10-11, of the court of law and politics. So, we understand that this “knowledge” is the truth of a situation that has occurred. And, to rightly decide a case, to uphold the law, and to uphold justice, the truth or knowledge of the situation must be made known.
We also see in this section that God’s omniscience has an impact on knowledge or the truth in that it “preserves” it. “Preserve,” is the Verb NATSAR, נָצַר that means, “to guard, to keep watch over, to observe, to preserve, etc.” Here, it is in the Qal Perfect for a completed action by God. It goes along with the omniscience of God, which is absolute and eternal. In other words, God has known the truth of a situation from eternity past. And the truth is the truth, whether the truth of a situation is made known to man or not.
Preserving knowledge or the truth means that we may be able to get away with something before man, but we never get away with it before God, because He knows the absolute truth of every situation, and it cannot be changed.
This verse says, “The omniscience of the Lord guards truth,” in the sense of “the truth is the truth,” and it cannot be changed.
Interestingly, NATSAR is also used in Scripture to refer to keeping speech under control, Psa 34:13; 141:3, which is also the context in our passage in that in a court of law, witnesses are summoned and asked to tell the truth. Yet, if that witnessed is bribed or blackmailed to tell a lie, the truth is perverted. That is the topic of the second half of this passage.
Therefore, given the context of a court room, D. Winton Thomas suggests a change of meaning for DA”ATH here from “knowledge” to “lawsuit” based on an Arabic cognate, (“A Note on דַּעַה in Proverbs 22:12,” JTS NS 14 : 93-94), as quoted in the “Expositor’s Bible Commentary”). But, we will keep it as “knowledge” with the understanding of a “truthful witness in a court of law.”
Prov 5:2, “That you may observe discretion and your lips may reserve knowledge (truth).”
We have also seen in Prov 1:7, that “the Fear of YHWH is the beginning of knowledge.” When we have the truth, we have an intimate experience with the Lord, which paves the way for knowledge in the moral realm. The mark of the righteous is that they are characterized by having DAʿATH, Prov 14:18.
Prov 14:18, “The naive inherit foolishness, but the sensible are crowned with knowledge.”
Since “knowledge” derives from the Lord, Prov 2:5f., His eyes guard what belongs to Him. To protect his knowledge he subverts, Prov 13:6, the words, cf. Prov 10:19, of the treacherous and brings them to a dead end, so that His truth alone endures.
Prov 13:6, “Righteousness guards the one whose way is blameless, but wickedness subverts the sinner.”
Prov 10:19, “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise.”
In the second half of this passage we have, “But He overthrows the words of the treacherous man.”
“But He overthrows” is the Piel, (intensive active), Imperfect, (habitual or customary continuous action), of the Article WA and the Verb SALAPH, סָלַף that means “to twist, ruin, distort, pervert, subvert, overturn, etc.”
Most of the time, this word is used is in regard to the wicked who distort, twist, or pervert the Law, Word, and ways of God. It is used for those who pervert justice, as God warns them to not do things like take a bribe that will distort justice, Ex 23:8; Deut 16:16; Prov 13:6; 19:3.
Ex 23:8, “You shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of the just.”
Therefore, in the context of vs. 10-11, we see that God is absolutely and continuously turning it around on them; ruining their perversions of justice, so that they do not revel in the fruits of their wicked labor. As such, the Lord will overturn a seemingly prosperous fool in his treachery and turn his way to ruin, Prov 21:12.
Prov 21:12, “The righteous one considers the house of the wicked, turning the wicked to ruin.”
The thing God is turning around is “the words of the treacherous man,” which is the Noun DAVAR, דָּבָר that means, “word; matter, event or affair,” and the Verb BAGAD, בָּגַד that means, “to act deceitfully, faithlessly, treacherously; to be traitorous, to act unfaithfully, or to betray.”
It conveys the concept of a person acting in an unstable or unfaithful manner with reference to an existing established regulation, for example, a contractual, covenantal, or marital commitment. In other words, they are breaking the law. It is used to give the sense that a person has dishonored or intends to dishonor an agreement; in this case, an agreement with God and society to tell the truth about a situation.
BAGAD shows us a vivid contrast between the act of the wicked in their deceitful lying and YHWH’s trustworthiness in preserving knowledge / truth.
So, we see that a bribe undermines the words of the innocent in a trail and subverts a just cause, so God watches over the plans of the human heart and subverts lying words. Overall, The Lord ensures that truth, and not deception, succeeds.
Prov 2:22, “But the wicked will be cut off from the land and the treacherous will be uprooted from it.”
Prov 11:3, “The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the crookedness of the treacherous will destroy them.”
The false words of the unfaithful will accomplish nothing. The Lord Himself will overthrow them. Error cannot always prosper. It may seem to thrive for the moment, but it will be destroyed eventually.
God keeps the evil whAich is done in His eyes, and hinders its success. He “frustrates” the words of the “traitor,” but He keeps “watch over knowledge.” Here knowledge equates to truth!!! And, the Lord acts to vindicate the truth. By asserting He subverts treacherous words, vs. 12b, it forms a transition to the treacherous words of the sluggard, vs. 13, and unchaste wives, vs. 14.
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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
# 18-118 & 18-119
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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.
Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!