Proverbs 12


1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,  but he who hates correction is stupid.

Also, 12:15

If a person loves knowledge (growth, improvement, etc) they will discipline themselves to stay humble and learn.

The idea is that knowledge will change your thinking and increase your understanding.  The result is wisdom and             improved behavior.

Some one who hates to have their ignorance corrected and so change who they are is stupid.

Stupid is a word that puts the man at the level of an unreasoning beast like cattle. The KJ says “brutish.”

Brute beast do not see beyond the moment nor do they reason that there is knowledge beyond their own.

If you think you are above criticism you are thinking at the level of a stupid animal.   


2 A good man obtains favor from the LORD, but the LORD condemns a crafty man.

There is nothing more valuable than favor from the Lord.  The are many worldly honors, but favor from the Lord surpasses them all.

A crafty man may manipulate circumstances to his own favor, but receive the Lord’s condemnation.

“Crafty” is the wicked, the one who contrives evil against his neighbor.

“Good man” is good in the sense of benevolent.

POINT:  The man who is good to his neighbor receives favor from God, but the crafty man who uses his neighbor to his own advantage is condemned by God.    


3 A man cannot be established through wickedness,  but the righteous cannot be uprooted.

 Lot, Eli and Saul all lost their place and their families permanence because of wickedness.  

People like Abraham, David, the prophets and the apostles have a permanent place that will never be uprooted.

God, Wisdom and His truth are eternal.  They exist beyond time.  Thus, the man who lives in agreement with them is living on eternal principles that will continue after time is gone.  That person can not be uprooted.

If a man rejects righteousness he is rejecting God, Wisdom and truth.  This man should not expect to endure longer than a moment in time.


4 A wife of noble character is her husband's crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.

“Noble” in the Hebrew contains the meaning of a woman who has “strength and worth.”

It is the idea of a woman who has a lot in her: ability, character, knowledge, wisdom, integrity, originality, bravery, etc.

This woman raises her husband’s self-worth inside of him and is a crown of honor on the outside.

“Disgraceful” is the word that is translated as “shameful”, or “who makes ashamed”, “who shames him.”

Just as a wife can be a public crown for her husband, she can also be a public disgrace.

Her lack of “noble character destroys his life slowly over time just like decay in the body’s bones will eventually make the entire body collapse.

“Decay” is the image of worm eaten wood.  It goes on slowly, but is continually increasing until destruction.

Young men must choose a wife carefully.  What a young man will accomplish in life and who he is to become will be directly affected by who he marries. 

The wife affects the way a man sees himself and how the world sees the man.

A noble wife is one of the keys to a successful and fulfilled life.


5 The plans of the righteous are just, but the advice of the wicked is deceitful.

Moffatt’s translation: “The aims of a good man are honorable: the plans of a bad man are underhand.”   

This needs to be remembered when electing public officials.

The righteous man’s plans are clear, simple and obviously in agreement with God’s will and what is best for men.

The wicked man’s plans are carefully thought schemes whose motive of self-advancement may not be clear.  They are not righteous and they are not for the benefit of others.  The selfish motive is carefully hidden.


6 The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood,  but the speech of the upright rescues them.

Wicked words  are an ambush.

Since the speech of the upright rescues the upright we should understand that the ambush of the wicked words are for the wicked.


7 Wicked men are overthrown and are no more, but the house of the righteous stands firm.

Again, a warning concerning the lack of permanence for the wicked.  

They are overthrown and do not return.  Evil is inherently instable.


8 A man is praised according to his wisdom,  but men with warped minds are despised.

“Wisdom” here refers not just to intelligence but also to moral excellence.

“Warped minds” refers to having no understanding and no conscience for making moral decisions.

“Despised” is contempt.  


9 Better to be a nobody and yet have a servant  than pretend to be somebody and have no food.

In the ancient oriental world a common man would have at least one slave (the Romans, Greeks, other eastern people).

“Better” means “better off” or “enviable”.

It is better to be a common, unknown man and be able to support one servant.

“Pretend to be somebody” means to “pretend to be a mighty man” and have nothing.

The idea is to hold the middle of the road again.  No so poor that you have no help, but not so financially and social extended that you have no food.


10 A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.

 A righteous man considers everything and everyone even his animals. 

A wicked man considers only himself and thus the animals needs are ignored.

The wicked can only demonstrate love-less love, meaning any “love” or “kindness” they show is selfish and manipulative.  


11 He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment.

 “Fantasies” are worthless pursuits.

While chasing worthless fantasies, opportunities are being passed by. 


12 The wicked desire the plunder of evil men, but the root of the righteous flourishes.

 The wicked strive for gain, but their gain is only the reward of an evil man: Nothing permanent. 


Here begins a series of proverbs concerning words: 


13 An evil man is trapped by his sinful talk, but a righteous man escapes trouble.

 Your words reveal your heart and attitude.

An evil man who is trying to hide his evil will eventually say the wrong revealing thing.

Matthew 12:36,37.

The righteous speak righteous things and escape the problems produced by the evil heart.  


14 From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his

            hands rewards him.

Words establish relationships and spread ideas.

Just like you can benefit from a hard days work, you can also benefit from words that share ideas and build relationships.  


15 The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.

 We are unreasonable if we think we are always right


16 A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.



17 A truthful witness gives honest testimony, but a false witness tells lies.



18 Reckless words pierce like a sword,  but the tongue of the wise brings healing.



19 Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.



20 There is deceit in the hearts of those who plot evil, but joy for those who promote peace.



21 No harm befalls the righteous, but the wicked have their fill of trouble.



22 The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.



23 A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself, but the heart of fools blurts out folly.



24 Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor.



25 An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.



26 A righteous man is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads

            them astray.

cautious in friendship” means “to investigate, make reconnaissance”. 

The idea is that he makes investigation of his close friend.

He does not rush into a friendship 

Never surrender your moral judgment to anyone else.  

If you do not you will be led astray by untested friends


27 The lazy man does not roast his game,  but the diligent man prizes his possessions.

  The word “roast” is hard to translate and is basically a guess.  This guess is based on the root of the word meaning             to scorch.  Another root connects it to the thought, “does not begin his search.”


28 In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality.