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Deeper Commentary

Pro 12:1 Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid-
Solomon here quotes his father's words in Ps. 50:17 "since you hate instruction". Solomon thus accuses any who refuse his Proverbs of doing just this, hating instruction, which in the context of Ps. 50:17 means 'You are condemned' (s.w. Prov. 5:12; 12:1; 15:10).

Pro 12:2 A good man shall obtain favour from Yahweh, but He will condemn a man of wicked devices-
God's "favour" isn't predicated upon our intellectual prowess in mastering "wisdom" (Prov. 8:35) nor upon our good works (Prov. 12:2). Academic truth and / or good living isn't as it were the key which opens up access to God's grace. For otherwise Divine "favour" would be a reward, and grace would no longer be grace.

Pro 12:3 A man shall not be established by wickedness, but the root of the righteous shall not be moved-
"Not... moved" is alluding to how David considered that his inheritance and dynasty would not be moved (Ps. 16:8). The context is of David's desire to take the hill of Zion from the Jebusites, and for it to become his by conquest. He was confident he could do this in God's strength, and by saying "I shall not be moved" he identifies himself with Zion which "shall not be moved" (Ps. 46:5). And indeed God came through for David. Because he put Yahweh "always before me", he was given mount Zion and established his kingdom there; but he looked forward to resurrection as the ultimate means of receiving the inheritance (Ps. 16:8-10). This passage is then quoted about the Lord Jesus- who likewise shall establish His Kingdom upon David's throne in Zion (Lk. 1:34,35) because of His trust in Yahweh. But Solomon, as the son of David, liked to imagine that his dynasty would continue unmoved anyway; he failed to perceive that the unmoved dynasty was due only to God's grace through the Lord Jesus.

"He will never be shaken" is spoken in Ps. 112:6 in the context of the outcome of the final judgment. Being unmoved or never shaken is a major theme of the Psalms of David. Human beings naturally seek for stability, but look for it in the wrong places, imagining that their idols shall never be shaken (s.w. Is. 40:20; 41:7). It is only the receipt of eternal salvation at the last day which means we shall never be moved; that is the only ultimate stability (Ps. 62:2,6 s.w.). Their stability will be associated with that of God's eternal Kingdom to be centered upon Zion (s.w. Ps. 125:1). For in secular life under the sun, the righteous do suffer and their lives are "shaken". Solomon's statements that the righteous shall never be shaken / moved (Prov. 10:30; 12:3) are only ultimately true in this sense; but whether he spoke them with that understanding is debatable.   

Pro 12:4 A worthy woman is the crown of her husband, but a disgraceful wife is as rottenness in his bones-
This is true, but as ever Solomon has his own self justification in view. For "a worthy woman" is the term used of his ancestor Ruth (Ruth 3:11), and he uses it of his mother Bathsheba (Prov. 31:10). The wife who brings disgrace may refer to David's wife Michal, Saul's daughter, whom he divorced. 

Pro 12:5 The thoughts of the righteous are just, but the advice of the wicked is deceitful-
True enough, but probably another swipe at David's advisor Ahithophel, Solomon's great grandfather.

Pro 12:6 The words of the wicked are about lying in wait for blood, but the speech of the upright rescues them-
Lie in wait" is the word for ambush. Solomon often uses the word, as if it is for him a major characteristic of sinners (Prov. 1:11,18; 7:12; 12:6; 23:28; 24:15). But it's a rather specific word to use so often. It's as if Solomon is consciously alluding to his father's experiences at the hands of the house of Saul (s.w. Ps. 10:9; 59:3), whom Solomon considered a threat to his own kingship. And so he seems to rather like using the term about sinners, as if using his wisdom to have a dig at his immediate opposition.

Solomon repeatedly condemns "the mouth of the wicked" (Prov. 10:6,11,32; 11:11; 12:6; 15:28; 19:28). All he says is true enough, but he clearly enough has in view how his father David had condemned the supporters of Saul and Absalom as having "the mouth of the wicked" (Ps. 109:2). And these were the groups who were threatening his power and throne. Solomon presents himself by implication as having the mouth of the just / righteous. And yet we must note that David too had spoken multiple words of deceit in relation to the murder of Uriah. Indeed the phrase is used in Is. 53:9 as if the Lord Jesus was the only man who didn't have a "mouth of deceit". Solomon like David was in denial of the fact that we all sin with our mouths, as James makes clear in James 3:1-3.

Pro 12:7 The wicked are overthrown, and are no more, but the house of the righteous shall stand-
The implication is that the house of the wicked is overthrown, but the house of the righteous is established. True as this is, the subtext is that Solomon is reflecting upon how the house of Saul and other opponents was "no more", but the house of David through himself was established.

Pro 12:8 A man shall be commended according to his wisdom, but he who has a warped mind shall be despised-
Solomon of course was the man well known for his wisdom. But that wisdom had been given him by God for the purpose of leading Israel. But Solomon went on to conclude that there mere possession of wisdom is what commends a man personally; and all others are therefore "warped" and to be "despised". His possession of wisdom didn't save him personally. This problem is commonly experienced especially in small time Protestant groups; the assumption is that there mere possession of Divine truth is enough to justify a man and commend him before God and man.

Pro 12:9 Better is he who is lightly esteemed and has a servant, than he who honours himself, and lacks bread-
Perhaps a reference to David, who considered himself "lightly esteemed" (1 Sam. 18:23). We could translate "the lightly esteemed servant", as David was at that time to Saul. The only other reference to a man who "lacks bread" is David's curse upon Joab (2 Sam. 3:29 s.w.), whose family were contenders against Solomon for the throne. So the unsuccessful power grab by Joab is alluded to, and Solomon hints that any who tried to take the throne from him were merely honouring themselves in their own minds.  

Pro 12:10 A righteous man respects the life of his animal, but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel-
Solomon may have in view Balaam's unreasonable beating of his donkey. What he writes is true, but it reflects his simplistic, dualistic view; even when a wicked man [as Solomon defines him] shows tender mercy to his animal, Solomon sees that as cruelty. He utterly fails to recognize that human behaviour is a jagged graph, good people sin, and bad people do good things; we are saved not by consistent, stellar living before God, but by faith in His grace. But he fails to perceive this, when he should have learnt it from his father's experiences and his Psalms.

Pro 12:11 He who tills his land shall have plenty of bread, but he who chases fantasies is void of understanding-
Solomon speaks often of how hard work will "satisfy with bread" (Prov. 12:11; 20:13; 28:19). David his father uses the phrase in the context of saying that being 'satisfied with bread' is part of God's gracious blessing (Ps. 132:15). We see here how Solomon became focused upon works, rather than faith in the blessings which come from Divine grace. And yet he uses the words his father had used; but he interprets them as justification of works rather than acceptance of grace.

Pro 12:12 The wicked desires the plunder of evil men, but the root of the righteous flourishes-
Solomon may be using "root" in the sense of 'the offspring of the root', for the root of David is his Messianic descendant (Is. 11:10; Rev. 5:5; 22:16). And this was who Solomon wrongly perceived himself to be. He could have been the offspring of that root, but that was conditional upon his personal spirituality. But he considered that mere descent by the flesh was enough; an error made by Israel throughout their history.  

Pro 12:13 An evil man is trapped by the sinfulness of his lips, but the righteous shall come out of trouble-
As noted on :10 and often, Solomon assumes the righteous never sin with their lips. Whereas James 3:1-5 explains what we all sadly know from honest experience; that nobody fails to sin with their lips, even the best of us. He utterly fails to recognize that human behaviour is a jagged graph, good people sin, and bad people do good things; we are saved not by consistent, stellar living before God, but by faith in His grace. But he fails to perceive this, when he should have learnt it from his father's experiences and his Psalms. The righteous don't always come out of trouble in this life, the Lord Jesus being the parade example. Their victory is only ultimately in the future day of judgment and the Kingdom, which concepts Solomon chose not to understand, as he assumed that his kingdom was God's Kingdom, and he was Messiah.

Pro 12:14 A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth; the work of a man’s hands shall be rewarded to him-
Solomon correctly parallels words and actions, as the Scriptures often do. But as noted on :13, he assumes the righteous never sin with their lips. Whereas James 3:1-5 explains what we all sadly know from honest experience; that nobody fails to sin with their lips, even the best of us. And he continues to teach justification by the works of human hands. We shall indeed be given as our works shall be (Rev. 22:12), but not in this life; only at the day of final judgment.

Pro 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who is wise listens to counsel-
Not being 'wise in our own eyes' is a major theme of Solomon's Proverbs (Prov. 3:7; 12:15; 26:12,16; 28:11). We are to recognize that there is no inherent wisdom in man; it must be taught to us from God's word. And yet we live in a postmodern world, where what seems or feels good to our own gut is taken to be the highest personal truth. This was what led Judah to condemnation (s.w. Is. 5:21), because trusting in their own opinions and gut feelings left them insensitive to God's word. Paul quotes the idea in Rom. 12:16; to be wise in our own eyes means that we ignore those whom we naturally consider worthy of being ignored. But that is not necessarily the way of the Spirit. But when Solomon lost his faith, he comments that whether a man has wise eyes or not (s.w.) is irrelevant in the face of death (Ecc. 2:14). He clearly conceived wisdom as only helpful for this life; he had no real personal faith in the resurrection of the dead or the establishment of the future Kingdom of God. And this led him to ultimately despise his own wisdom as futile.   

Pro 12:16 A fool shows his annoyance the same day, but one who overlooks an insult is prudent-
There's a definite link between shame and anger. Take a man whose mother yelled at him because as a toddler he ran out onto the balcony naked, and shamed him by her words. Years later on a hot Summer evening the man as an adult walks out on a balcony with just his underpants on. An old woman yells at him from the yard below that he should be ashamed of himself. And he's furiously angry with her- because of the shame given him by his mother in that incident 20 years ago. Shame and anger are clearly understood by God as being related, because His word several times connects them: "A fool's anger is immediately known; but a prudent man covers his shame" (Prov. 12:16); A king's anger is against a man who shames him (Prov. 14:35). Or consider 1 Sam. 20:34: "So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and did eat no meat the second day of the month... because his father had done him shame". Job's anger was related to the fact that he felt that ten times the friends had shamed him in their speeches (Job 19:3). Frequently the rejected are threatened with both shame and anger / gnashing of teeth; shame and anger are going to be connected in that awful experience. They will "curse [in anger]... and be ashamed" (Ps. 109:28). The final shame of the rejected is going to be so great that "they shall be greatly ashamed... their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten" (Jer. 20:11). Seeing they will be long dead and gone, it is us, the accepted, who by God's grace will recall the terrible shame of the rejected throughout our eternity. Their shame will be so terrible; and hence their anger will likewise be. Because Paul's preaching 'despised' the goddess Diana, her worshippers perceived that she and they were somehow thereby shamed; and so "they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians" (Acts 19:27,28). It's perhaps possible to understand the wrath of God in this way, too. For His wrath is upon those who break His commands; and by breaking them we shame God (Rom. 2:23); we despise his desire for our repentance (Rom. 2:4).

Pro 12:17 He who is truthful testifies honestly, but a false witness lies-
This may sound like a pointless statement of the obvious an axiomatic. But we likely need to read in an ellipsis; the truthful always testify honestly, and liars always lie. But this is simply not the case. Solomon utterly fails to recognize that human behaviour is a jagged graph, good people sin, and bad people do good things; we are saved not by consistent, stellar living before God, but by faith in His grace. But he fails to perceive this, when he should have learnt it from his father's experiences and his Psalms.

Pro 12:18 There is one who speaks rashly like the piercing of a sword, but the tongue of the wise heals-
This uses the language of David, in complaining that his opponents in the house of Saul and the followers of Solomon's half brother Absalom have tongues which pierce like swords (Ps. 57:4; 64:3). Again, what Solomon says is true, but he is using Divine truth to have a dig at his potential competitors for the throne, and to historically justify his father David. 

Pro 12:19 Truth’s lips will be established forever, but a lying tongue is only momentary-
"Established forever" is the language of the eternal establishment of the Davidic line through his Messianic son; which Solomon wrongly assumed must automatically refer to himself. David led him into this wrong assumption by dedicating "Kingdom" Psalms like Ps. 72 to Solomon. Solomon's fulfilment of the role of David's greater prophetic son was strictly conditional; and he failed totally to meet those conditions. But he uses his possession of wisdom, and teaching of it with his lips, as a reason to wrongly think that he fulfilled the role (Prov. 12:19; 29:14).

Pro 12:20 Deceit is in the heart of those who plot evil, but joy comes to the promoters of peace-
"Plot evil" is the phrase used of Saul's plots against David (1 Sam. 23:9). Saul likely still had his supporters even in Solomon's time, and Solomon came to the throne after  period of continual attempts to take the throne from the Davidic line through Absalom. And he uses his Proverbs, true as they are, to do down any potential opposition, and to present support of him as the only way to national peace and unity- an old ploy.

Pro 12:21 No mischief shall happen to the righteous, but the wicked shall be filled with evil-
Again Solomon presents an over simplistic picture. Mischief / evil does happen to the righteous, and the sufferings of the Lord Jesus are the parade example. David also had suffered much evil. And the wicked prosper in this life. These words are only true within the perspective of a future judgment and a future Kingdom of God on earth when the eternal outcomes of human behaviour will be manifest. But Solomon refused to factor this in, and saw wisdom as having an immediate effect and reward in this life. He had totally refused to learn the lessons of the book of Job, which was extant scripture at his time.

Pro 12:22 Lying lips are an abomination to Yahweh, but those who do the truth are His delight-
Abomination" is the common word for idols (e.g. Dt. 7:25,26). Idolatry is here interpreted as things like pride and telling lies (:17). These seven things are the essence of idolatry. There is a recurring nature to them, just as idols got a grip on the mind of the worshipper. Solomon often uses the word for quiet, secret sins, words and the matters of the heart, internal attitudes and judgments (Prov. 11:1,20; 12:22; 13:19; 15:26; 16:5; 17:15; 20:10,23; 24:9; 26:25; 28:9; 29:27). And this of course is the essence of idolatry in our age; this is the practical force to us of all Biblical teaching about idolatry.

Pro 12:23 A prudent man keeps his knowledge, but the hearts of fools proclaim foolishness-
We may be intended to understand the silence of the lips of the prudent as contrasted with the heart of the foolish speaking freely. In this case, the heart and the tongue are paralleled, as often in scripture; for out of the heart, the mouth speaks (Lk. 6:45). 

Pro 12:24 The hands of the diligent ones shall rule, but laziness ends in slave labour-
See on Prov. 6:7. Solomon's reign concluded with him putting people into slave labour and whipping them. He sees this as fair punishment for their laziness. But by enslaving people and whipping them for their supposed laziness, he was acting like Pharaoh.

Pro 12:25 Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, but a kind word makes it glad-
"Weights it down" is the usual word for 'to bow down', and may continue the theme of :24; that the diligent Solomon would have men down to him, although he considers that his words could also lift them up with gladness. Again, these things are all true, but they are being used to justify Solomon's rulership style, which was far from spiritual and was often abusive, especially at the end of his reign.

Pro 12:26 A righteous person is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray-
The need to choose friends wisely is true, and yet it would appear justification for how Solomon filled his cabinet with "yes men".

Pro 12:27 The slothful man doesn’t roast his game, but the possessions of diligent men are prized-
The slothful man catcheth / roasteth not that which he  took in hunting” (Prov. 12:27 RVmg.) may be one of the Proverbs’ historical commentaries- in this case, on Jacob. The implication would be that Jacob was lazy in staying in the tent and not hunting. But again we see a glorification of works, rather than of grace and faith.

Pro 12:28 In the way of righteousness is life; in its path there is no death
LXX "In the ways of righteousness is life; but the ways of those that remember injuries lead to death". This is true, but Solomon would be hinting that any legitimate complaints about the behaviour of himself or his father were wrong because love doesn't remember past abuses. That argument is faulty on various counts, but the point is that Solomon is yet again seeking to whitewash his father and himself, and place them beyond any criticism.

The term "way of righteousness" is found in Prov. 8:20 "I walk in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of justice". Again it seems that Solomon's personification of wisdom leads him to come out with things which he clearly enough saw as descriptions of himself. He saw himself as wisdom personified, walking always in the right way, and always judging justly. And the one who walked in "the way of righteousness" would never die (Prov. 12:28 s.w.). Solomon saw his possession of Divine truths as the guarantee of itself that he was the eternal Messianic king. He had been warned that he must walk in the way of God if he was to have long life (s.w. 1 Kings 3:14); but he assumed that the mere possession of Divine wisdom meant he was in that "way". As he got older and was reminded of his own mortality, he would have realized that he had to recalculate his position; and he ended up with the cynicism about his own wisdom seen in Ecclesiastes.  And yet his injustice to his own people was evidence enough that he didn't do this in reality, but only in his own mind (1 Kings 12:11).