Proverbs 12:1 ¶ Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.
One who likes to receive instruction, including correction, loves to learn. Correction and discipline are necessary for one who wants to learn and obtain wisdom. One who hates reproof is foolish; he will never learn. Scripture tells us that correction and chastening are signs of love.
Proverbs 13:24 “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”
Hebrews 12:6 “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.”
Proverbs 12:2 ¶ A good man obtaineth favour of the LORD: but a man of wicked devices will he condemn.
One who is good is the LORD’s delight, but He will destroy the man who is always making evil plans with evil intent. The only valid standard for determining what is good and wicked is the word of God.
The wicked man has chosen to reject the gift of salvation provided by Jesus that would clothe him in the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
John 3:17–18 “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
Proverbs 12:3 ¶ A man shall not be established by wickedness: but the root of the righteous shall not be moved.
The wicked man has no firm foundation in his life. The righteous man has a firm foundation of faith that is secured by Almighty God; he has an anchor to hold him firm in the storms of life. Jesus gave an illustration of this truth.
Luke 6:47–49 “Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.”
Clarke: “Evil is always variable: it has no fixed principle, except the root that is in the human heart; and even that is ever assuming new forms.”
Proverbs 12:4 ¶ A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.
A woman of moral excellence brings honor to her husband. A woman that acts shamefully disgusts her husband.
The virtuous woman is described in detail in chapter 31.
Proverbs 12:5 ¶ The thoughts of the righteous are right: but the counsels of the wicked are deceit.
The plans and intents of one who is righteous are right; they align with the standards set forth in God’s word. The advice or guidance of a wicked man cannot be trusted; he is fraudulent and deceitful. He will counsel you to act in disobedience to God’s word.
Proverbs 12:6 ¶ The words of the wicked are to lie in wait for blood: but the mouth of the upright shall deliver them.
I liked the NLT: “The words of the wicked are like a murderous ambush, but the words of the godly save lives.” Any counsel that leads you to disregard God’s word leads to danger. Counsel from the word of God will lead you to make safe choices.
EBC Abridged: “The vivid picture of ‘lying in wait for blood’ conveys that the wicked make a trap by their false accusations. The righteous, who through discipline and instruction have gained knowledge and perception, are able to avoid this danger.”
Proverbs 12:7 ¶ The wicked are overthrown, and are not: but the house of the righteous shall stand.
Because it is worded as a contrast, I believe the point being made is how the actions of a person affect their family. The family of a wicked man has no legacy upon which to build their future. The family of a righteous man, however, has a legacy of faith in God that provides a firm foundation upon which his family can build for the future.
Clarke: “Generally the bad root produces not only a bad plant, but one worse than itself.”
Proverbs 12:8 ¶ A man shall be commended according to his wisdom: but he that is of a perverse heart shall be despised.
A wise person will be praised for his wisdom, his obedience and commitment to the word of God. A person who is perverse, that has rejected God’s law, receives no respect.
This is always true in the eyes of God, but not always true in this world. Once again, I cannot help but make application to what is happening in America today. Those that wisely are committed to living according to the truth of God’s word are vilified more than praised. Those that blatantly disregard His word are being praised more than vilified. Sadly, this is not the America in which I grew up. When people are celebrating the murder of babies, I think we have reached our lowest low—let alone that we no longer recognize the difference in male and female and embrace homosexuality. God’s judgment is sure to come.
Proverbs 12:9 ¶ He that is despised, and hath a servant, is better than he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread.
I liked the NLT for this one: “It is better to be a nobody with a servant than to be self-important but have no food.”
EBC Abridged: “The point seems to be that some people live beyond their means in a vain show (“pretend to be somebody”), whereas, if they lived modestly, they could have some of the conveniences of life, e.g., a servant.”
Guzik: “Kidner suggested an alternative translation: ‘But RSV, following LXX, Syr., reads the same Heb. consonants to mean: Better is a man of humble standing who works for himself than one who plays the great man but lacks bread. This is stronger, and gives more content to the word ‘better’.’”
Proverbs 12:10 ¶ A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.
I liked the CJB: "A righteous man takes care of his animal, but the wicked? Even his compassion is cruel.”
It is true that the LORD expects us to take care of our animals. However, in America today, more emphasis is given to taking care of animals than of taking care of humans. We have laws that protect the habitats of animals, yet we think nothing of taking the life of the unborn. There are all kinds of advertisements about adopting homeless “pets,” yet the airwaves are silent regarding the need for homes for foster kids. Nursing homes are full of neglected seniors, and the current solution being promoted is assisted suicide. How the LORD must be grieved!
Proverbs 12:11 ¶ He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding.
A person that puts in the work to garner a harvest will have plenty to eat. A person that spends his time with lazy people will suffer the consequences for his lack of wisdom.
Great application from Ironsides: “This is a challenging word for young Christians. God’s Word is a field well worth cultivating. The apostle urged, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2Timothy 2:15). Those who obey this injunction are invariably repaid for every hour earnestly devoted to the consideration of this precious field….The loss by those who do not study the Scriptures is incalculable, both here and in eternity. This neglect of the Bible is the root of much backsliding, coldness of heart, and departure from God.”
Proverbs 12:12 ¶ The wicked desireth the net of evil men: but the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit.
NLT: “Thieves are jealous of each other’s loot, while the godly bear their own fruit.”
The wicked are always looking to profit from what others have worked for. Godly men take satisfaction in working for their profit, and will reap the fruit of their labor.
Proverbs 12:13 ¶ The wicked is snared by the transgression of his lips: but the just shall come out of trouble.
I immediately thought of the following saying: “Loose lips sink ships.” It is true that the words of a wicked man set a trap for him. The just man has nothing to fear in consequence of what he has to say; he is a person of integrity.
Clarke: “There is another proverb as true as this: A liar had need of a good memory; for as the truth is not in him, he says and unsays, and often contradicts himself.”
Proverbs 12:14 ¶ 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.
This is a general statement that obviously refers to a man that honors the LORD. His speech will result in good things that will give him satisfaction (gratification, contentment and enjoyment - Webster). It will bring honor and praise from others as he comforts and encourages others, provides wise counsel, provides loving instruction to the young, etc. His actions will reap the honor and praise of others as he works hard to provide for his family, gives a neighbor a helping hand, etc.
Proverbs 12:15 ¶ The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.
The foolish man is so stubborn that he is unwilling to consider the advice of others; he’s just positive he is right.
That is one of the hardest things when it comes to studying scripture. We can get so rooted in what we think we know because of what we have always been taught that our eyes aren’t open to the teaching of the Spirit to correct our thinking where needed—especially when it comes to biblical prophecy. I continually pray that the LORD will keep my heart soft and my spiritual eyes and ears open for new insight and/or needed correction.
Proverbs 12:16 ¶ A fool’s wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame.
NLT: “A fool is quick-tempered, but a wise person stays calm when insulted.”
EBC Abridged: “Mature people are able to handle criticism without responding instinctively and irrationally. The wise do not give the enemy that satisfaction. It is not so much that the wise repress anger or feelings but that they are more shrewd in dealing with it.”
Proverbs 12:17 ¶ He that speaketh truth sheweth forth righteousness: but a false witness deceit.
Integrity and telling the truth characterize a righteous man. One who tells lies shows himself to be a fraud, to be unrighteous.
Ironsides: A lying tongue “is an abomination to Him who is Himself the Truth. He delights in truth because it is in accord with His own nature.”
John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
Proverbs 12:18 ¶ There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.
NLT: “Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.”
I remember the old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words may never hurt me.” May sound good, but it’s a lie. Words can hurt more than a physical wound, and healing from their hurt can take much longer. I am reminded of the words of James.
James 3:8 “But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”
Good application from Chuck Smith: “It seems that there are two types of people in the world. Those who are building up, those who are tearing down. Now when you’re looking for a friend, which kind do you look for? You are drawn to and you look for the person who is constantly building up. You don’t like to be around a person who's constantly tearing you down. You avoid them like the plague. But a person who is kind, a person who is gentle, a person who is complimentary, you enjoy being around those kind of people.”
Proverbs 12:19 ¶ The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment.
As the NLT puts it, “Truth stands the test of time.” Lies only hold up for a while before eventually being exposed by the truth. Sad but true, some lies endure for a lot longer than others. Darwin’s lies about evolution are being recognized as such by more and more scientists, but there are still many that refuse to accept the mountain of evidence that refutes it. The lie declaring that the fetus/embryo of a baby is not a real person is still embraced by many despite the mountain of evidence that refutes it. And I could go on and on.
Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
Psalm 139:7, 13 & 16 “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?…thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb….Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.”
Proverbs 12:20 ¶ Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counsellors of peace is joy.
Evil plots are made because a person wants to defraud or hurt someone. The hearts of those who make plans for the good of others are filled with joy; their hearts are aligned with the will of God.
Thought-provoking comment by Ironsides: “It should be remembered that it is intentional deceit that is here in question. It is sad to hear good men recklessly charge others with lying because they have uttered an untruth in the innocency of their hearts. A statement may be false as to fact, but true in its intent; just as a statement may be true as to fact, which was uttered with the intent to deceive. It is the deceit in the heart that causes the lips to utter a lie. None should be so charged unless the evidence makes it clear there was intention to prevaricate.”
Proverbs 12:21 ¶ There shall no evil happen to the just: but the wicked shall be filled with mischief.
Again, this proverb presupposes a society in which the LORD is revered and His word honored. No harm will befall the just man who acts and speaks within the boundaries established in God’s word. The wicked man, however, will experience all sorts of trouble as a consequence of acting outside God’s established boundaries.
Though the culture that surrounds us today is ungodly, the righteous person can take comfort in the truth declared by Paul.
Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
God will always turn to good whatever He allows to touch the lives of those that love Him and have accepted His gift of salvation. AND He has assured us that the victory is His.
John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Proverbs 12:22 ¶ Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.
Scripture declares over and over again how the LORD hates lying lips but delights in honesty and integrity.
Proverbs 12:23 ¶ A prudent man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness.
A man of discretion and wisdom doesn’t go around talking about how much he knows. The foolish man, however, is apt to go about bragging about what he thinks he knows.
Guzik quoting Garrett: “Someone who is careful in what he says will be equally careful about whom he confides in.”
Ironsides: "The man who has least worth saying is generally the man who says the most.”
Proverbs 12:24 ¶ The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.
I liked the NLT: “Work hard and become a leader; be lazy and become a slave.” This reminds me of the old saying, “The cream rises to the top.”
Ironsides: “It is not ability only that causes one to succeed and advance in life. There must be earnest endeavor, otherwise talent and brilliancy count for nothing.”
Guzik quoting Bridges: “So, Christian, be diligent. Spend and be spent in Christ’s service. Your privileges will be enlarged. Your God will be honored. Your crown will be secure.”
Proverbs 12:25 ¶ Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.
It is so true, how we feel is often pictured in how we carry ourselves. It is often obvious just by looking at someone that they are depressed, and you can often quickly see the impact of an encouraging word. I’m reminded of a verse that I include in every scripture book I make for children.
Hebrews 3:13 “Encourage one another daily.” (NIV)
Proverbs 12:26 ¶ The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour: but the way of the wicked seduceth them.
In the context of contrast, I believe this proverb is saying that a righteous man will lead his friends and family to follow God’s word. A wicked man, however, will lead his friends and family “out of the way” (from the Hebrew); he will cause them to go astray in disobedience to God’s word.
Clark offers a different perspective: “The spirit of the proverb lies here: The Poor righteous man is more excellent than his sinful neighbor, though affluent and noble.”
Proverbs 12:27 ¶ The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.
This seems to be a statement against hunting as a sport rather than for providing for one’s needs or the needs of others.
Guzik has a different perspective: “Using a somewhat humorous illustration, Solomon showed that the lazy man does not finish the job. He went to all the trouble of hunting and capturing the prey but will never enjoy the fruit of his work because he is too lazy to do it.”
Guzik: “There are many precious things a man or woman can have, but diligence is near the top of the list. Many great things are accomplished with little talent but great diligence.”
Proverbs 12:28 ¶ In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.
NIV: “In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality.” I think that is the best perspective on this verse. One who is righteous is living his/her life to honor God, trying to be obedient to His word. Today, we recognize that the ultimate expression of one’s faith in God is to accept the gift of salvation made possible because of the death and resurrection of Jesus. We know that everyone dies and that everyone exists for eternity. It’s just that eternity for some will be life in the presence of God, while eternity for others is condemnation outside the presence of God for eternity.
Daniel 12:2 “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”
Matthew 18:8 “Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.”
Matthew 25:41 & 46 “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels….And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”
2 Corinthians 5:1, 6 & 8 “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens….therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord…We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”
2 Thessalonians 1:7–9 “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power….”