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Beware of the Ruthless and their Wickedness
Proverbs 6:12-15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
12 A worthless man, a wicked man,
goes about with crooked speech,
13 winks with his eyes, scrapes with his feet,
points with his finger,
14 with perverted heart devises evil,
continually sowing discord;
15 therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly;
in a moment he will be broken beyond healing.
A worthless man, a wicked man: Here a worthless is a person who is of morally objectionable behavior, who does not conform to a biblical standard (worldview or mindset), who does evil, so he is of little worth. Man is the translation of the Hebrew ’adam, which is masculine but applies to either a male or a female. A wicked (Heb. ʾā·wěn) man is an evil person who essentially is erring, acting illegally or wrongly. This aspect of sin refers to committing perverseness, wrongness, lawlessness, law-breaking, which can also include the rejection of the sovereignty of God. It is an act or a feeling that steps over the line of God’s moral standard, as something God forbids, or the person ignores carry out (doing) something that God requires, whether it be by one’s thoughts, feelings, speech, or actions. It also focuses on the liability or guilt of one’s wicked, wrongful act. This error may be deliberate or accidental; either willful deviation of what is right or unknowingly making a mistake. (Lev. 4:13-35; 5:1-6, 14-19; Num. 15:22-29; Ps 19:12-13) Of course, if it is intentional; then, the consequence is far more serious. (Num. 15:30-31) Error is in opposition to the truth, and those willfully sinning corrupt the truth, a course that only brings forth flagrant sin. (Isa 5:18-23) We can be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. – Ex 9:27, 34-35; Heb. 3:13-15.
Goes about with crooked speech: Here to go about is referring to persons who go about (here and there) living a morally objectionable life. Crooked (ʿiq·qešûṯ) speech is literally “crookedness of mouth.” Crooked speech is unwise speech in that it is false speech, lies, and deception. This speech is a perversion, a moral corruptness that deviates from what is right and just. The true servant of God speaks the truth by his words and by the life he lives.
Winks with his eyes, scrapes with his feet: Here winks (Heb. qā·rǎṣ) is a gesture where the worthless, wicked person signals insincerity and deceit with a smirk on his face. Scrapes (Heb. mā·lǎl) … feet is also a silent gesture of insincerity and deceit from the worthless, wicked person, which is only found once, here in the Old Testament.
Points with his finger: Another non-verbal, silent gesture, attempting to divert attention away from his insincerity and deceit, his worthless, evil ways.
With perverted heart devises evil: The perverted (Heb. tǎh·pǔ·ḵôṯ) man has rejected what is right in life, his ability to distinguish between right and wrong has become distorted so that he now twists the truth by cooked speech and distortion of the truth; persuading others to join him on his course of life. He deliberately deviates from what is good. Crooked speech (false speech, lies, and deception) is characteristic of those who reject wisdom (cf. Prov. 8:13; 10:31-32). The reference to the perverted heart is discussing images of the mind, thoughts that are evil.
Continually sowing discord: Without letup, this wicked, worthless man is causing discord (Heb. meḏān) in the life of others. Discord is a bitter conflict that can get heated to the point of violent dissension.
Verses 12-14 layout a description of a worthless man, which literally means a “man of Belial,” a description that would later be attributed to the Devil. The description is of one who is a “useless” or “good for nothing” person, possessing deceptive words. Just as Jesus rebuked the Jewish religious leaders of his day, saying, “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father!” What are those desires? Jesus said of the Devil, “He … does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44) The desires of this worthless man are deceitful speech.
So much so that his body language works in concert with his deceptive words, the winking of the eye, shuffling his feet, and pointing fingers, which are an aid to his accomplices. All of this indicates this worthless man is planning evil against someone. The question is, ‘how will this end for this good for nothing man?
Verse 15 helps us to see that no lie, no deception can last forever, it all must see the light of day eventually. At the very moment that he is exposed, suddenly the calamity of a ruined reputation is upon him. Even if such a deceiver should somehow fool everyone throughout his life, judgment will come from Jehovah God himself, and that will certainly come quickly.