Four Types of People (Proverbs 18:1-4) (Part 2)

The Wicked People

Proverbs 18:3 “When the Wicked cometh, then cometh also contempt and, with ignominy (humiliation), reproach (criticism).” (NIV) “When Wickedness comes, so does contempt, and with shame comes disgrace.” – Wicked Person keeps miserable company of: “Contempt {shame}, ignominy {humiliation}, and reproach {scandal}.

The two lines of Proverbs are arranged synthetically, the three term (contempt {shame}, ignominy {humiliation}, reproach {scandal}) telescoping out in a description of the ever-increasing ignominy {humiliation} that befalls the “Wicked-Person.

  • Wickedness brings “contempt” (shame).
  • Wickedness leads to “ignominy” (humiliation).
  • Wickedness leads to “reproach” (scandal).

When the Wicked Person comes, all these evils (contempt {shame}, ignominy {humiliation}, reproach {scandal}) followed him (Perowne). Wickedness is both a contemptible (disgraceful) and a contemptuous (scornful) thing (Thomas). Wickedness brings with it “contempt” {shame}, “ignominy” {humiliation} and “reproach” {scandal}.

Pride and Selfishness are the characteristic of the Wicked, as the Wicked Person comes, he is apt to cast contempt (shame), ignominy (humiliation) and reproach (scandal) on every man’s face (Bishop Hall). His neighbour’s circumstances or illnesses provides him with an opportunity to ridicule (mock) his (Wicked) neighbour; and God’s Word finds no favour in his (Wicked Person’s) sight. God’s people are the object of his (Wicked) contempt.

When the Wicked Person comes, he is accompanied by “contempt” (buz). The attitude of contempt characterizes the Wicked Person, we may say that “contempt” is with him wherever he goes. “Ignominy” (qalon – humiliation) parallels “wicked,” indicating that the Wicked Person is the Person without grace, thus, bringing humiliation to himself. He is accompanied by “reproach” (herep – scandal), the lack of honour that he directs toward those who are around him.

The Wise Man

Proverbs 18:4 (KJV) “The words of a man’s mouth are like deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom like a flowing brook.” (NIV) “The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.” –  The description of the Wise-man of Proverbs 18:4 expresses the depth, the abundance, the clearness, and the force of the thoughts of the Wise-man, which is “the spring of life,” honest and revealing truth:

  • The “wellspring of wisdom” is parallel to the “deep waters.” – that is, there is “depth” in the Wise-Person thoughts and attitude, and the things he does
  • The Wise Person is full of useful things and is always able to contribute profitably on many matters. His deep insight (“deep waters”) is drawn from “the Fountain of Living Water” – John 7:38-39 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of Living Waters……of the Holy Spirit”
  • The Wise-Person’s Word flows like a spring brook, clear, clean, and cleansing that edify, exhort, and comfort, and encourage and refresh the Hearers.  
  • When the Person has immersed himself in God’s Wisdom, his words in themselves deep waters, and as he speaks, he become a fruitful as “a bubbling brook.”   This is a picturesque description of the value of wisdom.

The parallelism requires that the “words of a man’s mouth” be wise words. These are “deep-waters” (Proverbs 20:5), profound and providing an inexhaustible supply of counsel and blessing. Verse 4b explains verse 4a, the “Well-spring” (or “Fountain”) of Wisdom “being an emblematic (symbolic) portrayed of wise speech. This is “a bubbling brook,” a limitless source of God’s Wisdom. 

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