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Be Grounded in Justice, Discretion, and Humility,
Compassion and Diligence
Proverbs 12:12 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
12 The wicked man desires the stronghold of evildoers,
but the root of the righteous bears fruit.
On this verse, the Revised Standard Version has a footnote that reads, “The Hebrew of verse 12 is obscure.” The newest semi-literal and literal translations have arrived at basically the same rendering as the essentially literal English Standard Version (ESV), “Whoever is wicked covets the spoil of evildoers, but the root of the righteous bears fruit.”
The wicked man desires the stronghold of evildoers: The Hebrew word rendered wicked (rasha) here is an unrighteous man that is evil, with the focus on his guilt of violating moral standards, and here it is coveting or desiring what other evil ones have. Here the wicked man is strongly desiring the protection, shelter (stronghold), or security of the other evildoers. A stronghold (Heb. matsod) is a strongly fortified defense or military structure, which in this sense is referring to protection or shelter, or security.
but the root of the righteous bears fruit: The Hebrew word here (shoresh) rendered root is literally the underground part of a plant that anchors and nourishes the plant; thus, figuratively speaking, we are talking about the righteous one being stable, secure, and comfortable, healthy, or happy, enabling them to bear fruit, that is, be productive.
How does the wicked man strongly desire the stronghold of evildoers? Seemingly, by coveting, strongly desiring the protection, shelter, or security that the evildoers may be able to provide, which may even come in the way of spoils. The righteous one, on the other hand, is stable, secure, and comfortable, healthy, or happy, being able to bear fruit, that is, be productive. The wicked of this world strongly desire, lust, covet the evil of this world. They have no moral compass and will not hesitate to take advantage of the innocent, the weak, and the naïve. The righteous, on the other hand, are rooted, grounded by their being just, discreet and humble, compassionate and diligent, which allows their prosperity to grow.
This verse teaches us that it is important to have a good heart and to speak wisely.
The word “perverse” in this verse refers to something that is twisted or distorted. The word “mischief” in this verse refers to harm or injury. This verse teaches us that it is important to have a good heart and to speak wisely because if we do not, we will not find good and we will fall into mischief.
Here are some ways that we can apply this verse to our Christian living:
- Have a good heart. We should be kind, compassionate, and loving.
- Speak wisely. We should speak the truth in love, and we should avoid gossip and slander.
- Be careful about what we say. Our words have power, and we should use them wisely.
- This week, I challenge you to have a good heart and to speak wisely. Be careful about what you say, and use your words to build up others.
- The verse specifically mentions that he that is of a perverse heart shall not find good: and he that hath a perverse tongue shall fall into mischief. This is a reminder that it is important to have a good heart and to speak wisely, because if we do not, we will not find good and we will fall into mischief. A person who has a perverse heart will eventually be corrupted and will do harm to others. A person who speaks perversely will eventually be brought down by their own words. A person who has a good heart and speaks wisely will be blessed by Jehovah and will find good in all areas of their life.
- The verse also teaches us that we should be careful about what we say. Our words have power, and we should use them wisely. We should not use our words to gossip, slander, or hurt others. We should use our words to build up others and to promote peace and love.
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