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Proverbs 12 - Corps - January 20 -1982

Format: mp3,pdf
Publication Date: January 20, 1982

Walter J. Cummins graduated from the Power for Abundant Class in 1962. 

He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Ohio State University in 1968 and his Master of Education degree in Secondary School Administration in 1978 from Wright State University.

He was ordained to the Christian by The Way International in 1968. He has studied at The Way International under Victor Paul Wierwille and K.C.Pillai. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he was director of the Research department of the Way International  and served as assistant to the president. 

January 20, 1982 
Proverbs 12
Rev. Cummins
Well, we go to Proverbs chapter 12. And the last time that we were together on Proverbs, I suggested that you might want to read this chapter and that there were some five verses in here that are difficult to understand, or they’re mistranslated. Did you get a chance to look at them? Did you find some that you think might be problem verses? Well, we’re going to look at a couple of them tonight. We’re not going to get into all of them. But remember again as you’re working Proverbs that there are three people…or three types of people that are addressed: the fools versus the wise man, and number two, the wicked versus the righteous man and number three the lazy versus the diligent person. And as you’re working from chapter 10 on, in most of it, you’ll see parallelism. The parallelism is either equal or opposite. So you’ll see that in each of the verses that you’re going through. Either an equal thing, if it’s equal, then you have to ask yourself, well, how is it equal? If it’s opposite, you have to ask yourself, well, what’s the contrast? How is it opposite to the preceding parallel statement.
Now, in chapter 12, I want to pick up the context, before we get down to verse 9. Because verse 9 is the first verse that has been mistranslated.
Proverbs 12:1: Whoso loveth instruction [verse 1] loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.
And in case you don’t know what the word “brutish” means, I looked it up. Because I wasn’t certain myself and it means: savage, gross, stupid, sensual, irrational, etc. I guess the English needed a word that when a person was everything, that they just called them brutish. So anyway, a person that hates to learn, that hates reproof and hates the discipline of learning is brutish.
Proverbs 12:2: [But] a good man [verse 2] obtaineth favour of the LORD: but a man of wicked devices will he condemn.
Now here you have...both of these verses, they’re opposites. Aren’t they? The first thing in verse one was the fellow that loves instruction; the second thing was, he that hates reproof. Just the opposite. In the second verse it’s, a good man obtains favor of the LORD, but in contrast, the opposite, a man of wicked devices, and that word “wicked devices”, is a word I gave you
earlier that meant “evil inventions”. Remember the…when we talked about that “evil inventions”? A man of wicked devices or evil inventions will he condemn. Then verse 3 is contrasting. By the way, verse 2: a good man as opposed to a man of what kind of devices? Wicked; wicked. See? So it’s in the category of the wicked as opposed to the righteous in this section. And you’ll see this all the way from verse 2 down to verse 7, that we’re dealing with the wicked versus the righteous. Verse 3.
Proverbs 12:3: A man shall not be established by wickedness [there’s the word wickedness, see it?]: but the root of the righteous shall not be [what?] moved.
And there’s the righteous. The wicked and the righteous. A man who’s wicked is not going to be what? Established. A tree has roots. It says the righteous, his root is not going to be what? {Moved.} Take a tree with roots. But if you have something that doesn’t have any roots, it’s not going to be established. That’s the wicked. He’s not established, has no root. Verse 4, is a virtuous woman.
Proverbs 12:4: A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.
There you have the virtuous woman. And in verse 5, it’s again the righteous versus the wicked. Verse 6 is the wicked versus the righteous. And verse 7 it’s the wicked versus the righteous. All the way through here, it’s the wicked versus the righteous. And this verse 4 sits right in the middle of it and at first it looks like a verse out of context. Like all of a sudden, he just threw in this verse about the woman, the virtuous woman. But it fits right along with it, because either a woman will be righteous or she’ll be what? Wicked. A righteous woman is a crown to her husband. When she’s righteous, or a virtuous woman...a virtuous woman would be a righteous woman, she is a what? A crown to her husband, but she that maketh ashamed, the wicked woman, like the…(what was it?) the strange woman of Proverbs that we talked about earlier...maketh ashamed is as rottenness or like a cancer in his bones. And that’s what wickedness does to you. Like the virtuous woman. Wickedness is like a cancer working on you, in your bones. But righteousness in contrast to that is a crown to you, like the virtuous woman. See the tremendous parallel between life in the physical and in the mental. And Proverbs does a lot of tying together like this. Here the wicked versus the righteous tied in with the virtuous woman versus the woman that makes ashamed.
Proverbs 12:5: The thoughts of the righteous are right: but the counsels of the wicked are deceit.
Back in verse 3, you had the root of the righteous. Here we’re talking about the thoughts of the righteous, contrasted with the counsels, his thoughts of the wicked. They’re deceitful.
Proverbs 12:6: The words of the wicked [in verse 6] are to lie in wait for blood [his words kill]: but the mouth of the upright shall deliver them.
See mouth and words? So we went from the root, to thoughts, to words. And finally we go to the house. Verse 7.
Proverbs 12:7: The wicked are overthrown, and are not: but the house of the righteous shall [what?] stand.
The house of the righteous is going to stand, but the house of the wicked is going to be overthrown. So we have the root of the righteous is not going to be moved. But the root...there is no root of the wicked, he’s not established. The root of the wicked is not…or there is no root because he’s not established. The thoughts of the wicked are going to be deceitful. The words of the wicked kill, they lie in wait for blood and the house of the wicked is overthrown. But in contrast to that, all the way through here. You have the root of the righteous is not going to be what? Moved. His thoughts are right. His words deliver people instead of killing them and his house stands because it’s got a good root system, a good foundation on it. You know, it’s well constructed like the Corps chalet. And besides that for the righteous man that then in turn would be a crown to him, like the virtuous woman is a crown to her husband as opposed to being cancerous, eating away. So there’s a tremendous foundation laid in those first seven verses.
Then we get to verse 8 and it goes to the fool versus the wise. The key word there, is the word “wisdom” which means insight. This is the word sekel I gave you earlier in a session (S-E-K-E-L), which means insight.
Proverbs 12:8a: A man shall be commended according to his [insight]....
His ability to see into things, his perception and awareness, spiritual perception and awareness as well.
Proverbs 12:8b:
...but he that is of a [confused or distorted] heart shall be despised.
That’s the fool. The fool’s heart is confused. It’s distorted. Whereas the wise man has insight into what’s going on. He can see what’s going on, insight. Then verse 9. Verse 9 is the lazy man. But you would never guess it from the King James. Well, there’s a hint of it, the last two words, “he lacketh bread”. And the lazy man is always tied into lacking things, food especially. So, the Corps can’t be lazy. See that, alright.
Proverbs 12:9: He that is despised, and hath a servant, is better than he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread.
Now what does that mean? “He that is despised, and hath a servant, is better than he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread.” It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Does it? I brought along some of my notes from this verse, out of the International Critical Commentary. They translate it, “Better off is he who is socially low yet has a servant, than he who plays the great man and yet lacks bread.” Now that’s maybe a little better, but it still doesn’t really offer a solution to the problem. The contrast has to be there. Some ancient versions and that means the Aramaic because I checked that, as well as the Septuagint, the Greek of the Old Testament, and some modern expositors rendered the second half of the first clause “and is a servant to himself”. In other words, he who is despised or humbled, socially low (whatever...however that’s translated) and is a servant to himself. In other words, he does his own work, he’s not afraid to get out and do things himself, “...is better than one that honors himself”, but he doesn’t do any work. “...He lacks bread.” He blows about how great he is, but he doesn’t do anything. It’s better to get out and do something, to serve himself. A sense which may be obtained by a slight change in the Hebrew. In other words, the Hebrew doesn’t literally say that. But the Aramaic and the Septuagint do. It gets rid of the statement that the socially unhonored man has a servant.
“The expression ‘acts as servant to himself or is his own servant, or works for himself’ does not offer a distinct antithesis to the ‘lacks bread’ of the second clause.” And that, I disagree with because it does offer an antithesis. If you’re your own servant or you’re self-employed, or you work for yourself, you’re putting your effort into it to produce. You’re not a lazy person. But if you lack bread, what’s the reason you lack bread? Because you’re not diligent. You’re a sluggard. You’re slothful. And so what do…what do you end up with? A lack of bread. You see there is an antithesis. But I think some of these might be too well-acquainted with welfare. And they haven’t figured that out yet. At any rate, Mrs. Jess gave me a literal translation of the Aramaic. “Better is a poor man who serves himself, than one who is proud and without bread.”
Now the Septuagint, I said, was very similar to that. “Better is a man in dishonor serving himself, than one honoring himself and wanting bread.” Very similar to the Aramaic. And the
Anchor Bible I thought was interesting, a little freer translation but it says, “Better to be a common man who has employment, than to give oneself airs and be starving.” I thought that was neat. So you see what it’s saying? It’s better to be somebody that’s not poor in the sense of poverty stricken but where you’re dishonored or you’re not out putting on airs, that kind of thing. And you’re not afraid to work. You’re not afraid to serve yourself. But the lazy man is afraid to serve himself. He’s afraid to…he hides his hands in his bosom, he’s afraid to bring it to his mouth again. You know he’s afraid to work. He wants somebody else to feed him. That’s how lazy he is. But it’s better to serve yourself than to be proud or to honor yourself, and put on the airs but not have any food, because you’re lazy. See it?
So you have in verse 8, the fool versus the wise man, who has insight. Then in 9, the lazy man versus the man who’s not afraid to work, and to get out and work, serve himself. And then in verse 10, the wicked again.
Proverbs 12:10a: A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast:...
Or cares for his beast. To regard is “cares” for the life of his beast, and the beast would be a lesser thing that you would care for. He cares for people but he even cares for his beast. His dogs, see? or whatever animals that he has, ass or mule.
Proverbs 12:10b: ...but [in contrast to that] the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.
Now, what’s tender mercies? You know, it’s tender, mercy. You don’t give judgment to those that deserve it. “The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” Now, what do you call that? It’s a figure of speech. Remember what it was, we had it come up in Ephesians a couple of times, oxymoron. It means wise- folly, because tender mercies are not cruel, are they? It just the opposite. But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel, that’s that figure. The righteous man even cares for his beast but opposite to that is the wicked man whose tender mercies are even cruel. So what’s his untender, lack of mercy going to be? Then in eleven you go back to the lazy man again, versus the diligent.
Proverbs 12:11a: He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread....
The fellow that’s not afraid to work, who’s again rooted in the Word. He’s going to have roots in his life. He’s solid, can’t be moved. He tills his land. He’s going to be satisfied with bread.
Proverbs 12:11b: ...but he that followeth vain persons...
It should be... “persons” of course is in italics but it’s “vain pursuits”. Or he pursues vain things. You know, somebody says, well boy, you ought to jump on this so you can make an easy buck. And boy, he jumps right on it, because he’s lazy. He doesn’t want to work. He follows vain pursuits. And it says:
Proverbs 12:11c: …[he’s] void…[empty of heart].
The word “understanding” is leb in the Hebrew: heart (L-E-B). He has an empty heart. The Anchor Bible translates that last phrase, again it’s a little free translation but it was neat, “but the stupid spends his time chasing rainbows.” [Laughter.] The fellow that’s void of heart, spends his time chasing the wind, chasing rainbows; vain pursuits. There’s no substance there, see it? Vain pursuits, as opposed to the diligent man, who’s not afraid to work, he tills his land and he’s satisfied with bread. Then we get to verses 12 and 13 and 14. These three, all deal with the wicked. Then 15 goes to the fool. But see verse 12.
Proverbs 12:12: The wicked desireth the net…the root of the righteous…
You have the wicked versus the righteous there. Verse 13.
Proverbs 12:13, 14: 13 The wicked is snared by the transgression of his lips: but the just [the righteous] shall come out of trouble. 14 [And then 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.
These follow right upon the wicked of 12 and 13, so it’ll tie in. Okay? By the way, in verse 14, you don’t have an opposite there. “A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth: and the reward of a man’s hands shall be rendered unto him.” It’s saying the same or similar things, see it? However, verse 12 and 13 are both opposite. Now look at twelve because this is another one.
Proverbs 12:12: The wicked desireth the net [of evil] of evil men: but the root of the righteous [yields] fruit.
Now what does that mean?Well, it’s not real clear in English. What is it, to desire the net of evil men? Again the International Critical Commentary says that the text and translation are doubtful. As a matter of fact, he never does come to a conclusion. He mentions the fact that the Hebrew reads just like it here in the King James. “The wicked desireth the net of evil men: but the root of righteousness produces”; he translates “yields”, produces. And then in parenthesis, he puts (literally “gives”). Literally, this word means to give. And if you’d have followed that line of thought, it would have helped to clear this up. Because what it is, it’s the opposite between the righteous who gives as opposed to the wicked whose thing is to take.
He says if we understand the net of the first clause to be that which bad men spread for others then you would translate it, “The wicked desire the net of the wicked”, but if the net be that which bad man are caught in, then you would translate it, “The wicked desire the net which entraps the wicked.”Which doesn’t make much sense. Somebody translates it, “The prey of evil men.” With a sense that the wicked seek to enrich himself by unrighteous gain and I think that that might be closer to what this is saying. But they omit this word “net”. Well he…no, they translated it the prey of evil men. But there’s something deeper to it than that. Plus, he brings up a problem with the second clause that, “The tree produces fruit, but the root doesn’t produce fruit.” The root of the righteous, it says, yields or produces. But that’s where, if you translate it “gives”, it’ll fit. Now, the Aramaic reads, “The wicked desires to do evil”, where they totally avoid this word net when they didn’t translate it. “The desires of the wicked are evil”, is the Greek Septuagint. It’s very similar.
But this word “net” is the Hebrew word matsod, M-A-T-S-O-D (M-A-T-S-O-D, matsod). It’s only used four times; it’s a rare word and that’s one reason why they had trouble translating it, knowing what it meant. It’s used in Job 19:6 and of course here in Proverbs and then in Ecclesiastes 6:26 and then in Ecclesiastes 9:14. In Ecclesiastes 7:26, it’s translated “snare”. In Ecclesiastes 9:14 it’s translated “bulwark”; B-U-L-W-A-R-K. I’d like you to look at the one in Ecclesiastes 9:14. The other two are rather general and it’s difficult to tell from the context anything more specific. But this one in Ecclesiastes 9, sort of draws a picture for you, 9:14.
Ecclesiastes 9:14: There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it:
Now you would know that if he built great bulwarks against this city, to attack a city, you need more than a net. This is not the normal word for “net”. There is another word that’s normally translated “net”. This is…it’s always used of an offensive weapon though. It is translated net in Job, and it’s translated snare in the other place, but it has to be bigger than that to fit with its usage here. Because it’s some type of offensive weapon used to besiege a city.
Now the picture that comes to my mind right away is the…you know, these towers that were on wheels that they would move up to the city walls or other things that they would use in order to attack the city. But whatever it was, it was some type of offensive weapon used against a fortress. And this word, by the way, is related to the word for fortress. So you can call it an anti-fortress weapon or whatever, but that’s the idea of it. And keep in mind that evil is a parasite. Evil cannot exist on its…by its own, on its own; it has to exist on good. It lives off of good. So it has to attack the fortress of good to survive. That’s why in Proverbs 12, the wicked desires that offensive parasitic evil anti-fortress weapon, whatever it is, so he can take, he can attack the city of good, to take, to steal, to kill, to destroy. Whereas the righteous does what? Gives. The desire of the wicked is to take, to steal. This net or “evil parasitic anti-fortress device”, whatever you want to call it. You know, it’s a rare word in the Hebrew, matsod. But it’s related to fortress and it has to do with some type of offensive weapon used to take a city. The wicked desires that type of a device. And it fits right with what we read in verse 2.
Proverbs 12:2: A good man obtaineth favour of the LORD: but a man of [what?] wicked devices will he condemn.
The man of wicked devices, the one who’s always thinking up evil inventions, how to take something from others. And so the man shall not be established in verse 3, by wickedness, he has no root. He’s not going to be established, as opposed to the righteous who has roots and he’s not going to be moved. Here that root of the righteous gives. But the wicked who has no root, who is not established, he has to always be taking. Now you see the contrast between the two parallel phrases? Isn’t that neat? The wicked desires the evil parasitic anti-fortress device, but the root of the righteous “gives” as opposed to being a parasite. Then look at verse 13.
Proverbs 12:13a: The wicked is snared by the transgression of his lips:…
See he’s out to take, but he’s caught in his words.
Proverbs 12:13b: …but the just [the righteous] shall come out of trouble.
The righteous is always out giving, his root is to give.
Proverbs 12:14: A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth:…
First you have a root, the root gives. Then you have what? Fruit.
Proverbs 12:14: …the fruit of his mouth, and the recompence [or reward] of a man’s hands shall be rendered unto him.
After you have fruit, what do you get? Rewards. So you have a root, then you have fruit, then you have reward. If you root…if you don’t have any root or your root is shallow, it’s wicked, you’re only out to take, to see what you can get, to steal, to kill, to destroy, then your fruit is going to be corrupt and there’s no rewards. But if you’re the righteous, then your root…the root of the righteous gives. That’s the attitude of the righteous, he’s established. Because giving is a principle, giving equals receiving. As you give you receive. So if your root, that’s your root, you’re giving, then what’s your fruit? It’s going to be good fruit. And you’re going to be satisfied with that fruit. And as a result there’s going to be what? reward. Isn’t that beautiful? The righteous versus the wicked. And who wins again? The righteous. Right!
So keep working all the proverbs you run across. Some of them like verse 12, verse 9 are difficult to…because you have to look deeper into the text, but the others, most of them, you can read and you can see the contrast or where it’s equal. And next time we get a chance to work on this, we’re going to look at verses 26, 27 and 28, because they have some difficulties in them too. But the rest should be pretty well explan…self-explanatory.
[Dr. Wierwille:]Walter that…the “Masada”, Israel, it must come from that word?
[Walter Cummins:] Could be Matsod?
[Dr. Wierwille:] Right. Fortress.
[Walter Cummins:] Fortress, right.
[Dr. Wierwille:] It’s really great. Thank you Walter, it’s wonderful.