Proverbs 12 – Instruction of Love and Lying Lips

1 Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.

“loveth instruction loveth knowledge” – see 1:7; 10:17; see also 6:23.

“hateth reproof is brutish” – the person who hates correction is foolish.

2 A good man obtaineth favor of the LORD: but a man of wicked devices will he condemn.

3 A man shall not be established by wickedness: but the root of the righteous shall not be moved.

4 A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.

“virtuous woman” – someone like Ruth (Ruth 3:11).  Such a woman is fully described in 31:10-31.

“crown to her husband” – she brings him honor and joy.

5 The thoughts of the righteous are right: but the counsels of the wicked are deceit.

6 The words of the wicked are to lie in wait for blood: but the mouth of the upright shall deliver them.

7 The wicked are overthrown, and are not: but the house of the righteous shall stand.

8 A man shall be commended according to his wisdom: but he that is of a perverse heart shall be despised.

9 He that is despised, and hath a servant, is better than he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread.

“hath a servant’ – even people of moderate means had servants (see Jdg 6:15, 27).

10 A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

“the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel” – probably to both man and beast.

11 He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding.

“Repeated with slight variation in 28:19.

“followeth vain persons” – the Hebrew reads, “follows vain [worthless] things.”  The verse is contrasting the honest pursuits of the wise with the dishonest schemes of the fool.

12 The wicked desireth the net of evil men: but the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit.

“desireth the net of evil men” – the hunting net used to trip the righteous – the wicked desire ill-gotten gain.

“root of the righteous yieldeth fruit” – like firmly rooted trees.

13 The wicked is snared by the transgression of his lips: but the just shall come out of trouble.

14 A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth: and the recompence of a man’s hands shall be rendered unto him.

A man who speaks with wisdom will reap a harvest from his words, just as a farmer enjoys the crops he planted.

15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.

“is right’ – but ends in death.

16 A fool’s wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame.

“covereth shame” – keeps him from doing shameful things (see 2 Sam 16:11-12).

17 He that speaketh truth sheweth forth righteousness: but a false witness deceit.

18 There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.

“There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword” – the words of the wicked hurt and injure like a sword piercing the body.

“tongue of the wise is health” – Lit promotes healing by speaking soothing,  comforting words.

19 The lip of truth shall be established forever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment.

“is but for a moment” – the lies will be refuted and the liar punished.

20 Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counselors of peace is joy.

“to the counselors of peace is joy” – “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matt 5:9).

21 There shall no evil happen to the just: but the wicked shall be filled with mischief.

22 Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.

23 A prudent man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness.

“concealeth knowledge” – stores up knowledge.

24 The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.

“under tribute” – subjected to forced labor.

25 Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.

“Heaviness in…heart” – the effect of anxiety.

26 The righteous is more excellent than his neighbor: but the way of the wicked seduceth them.

“seduceth them” – leads them down the wrong path (see 5:23; 14:22).

27 The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.

“roasteth not that which he took in hunting” – and is too lazy to lift the food from the dish to his mouth (19:24).

28 In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.

“is life…no death” – the way or path of righteousness does not lead to death.  The identification of wisdom with the “tree of life.”