Category: People

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. 

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

The Statement

Proverbs Chapter 18 has no single theme, but underlying it is the whole subject of the Character and Conduct of the Wise. No Person can get far in life before coming up against the issues touched on in Proverbs Chapter 18: Companionship, Depravity, Words, Fairness, Security. There are some profound observations on these points:

The Conceited Person –

Proverbs 18:1 (KJV) “Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.” (NIV) “An unfriendly man pursues selfish ends; he defiles all sound judgement.” The Phrase: “one who separates himself?” (KJV) refers to dividing people. Thus, Proverbs 18:1 has been taken both in a negative sense and in a positive sense (Matthew Henry) – The negative sense, however, fits the text of Proverbs 18:1, better (Matthew Henry).

  • Conceited – Proverbs 18:1, taken in the right context, speaks of the Person who is conceited and a lone-Ranger, the anti-social Individualist, who will not listen to others. The Conceited Person finds his identity in his non-conformity and obstinately sets himself apart, independently, from those around him. In simple term, the Conceited Person is a Selfish-Person, all this thoughts and actions lead to himself. He measures everything by his thoughts and his wishes, his comfort, his perspective.
  • Quarrelsome – The word “intermeddleth” (KJV, “Gala” {Proverbs 17:14}) is better translated “quarrel.” Conceited Person “quarrels” against all sound wisdom. The word “intermeddleth” comes from a root meaning: “To show one’s teeth” or “to break forth in hostilities.” – This root “quarrel {intermeddleth}” is found three times in the Book of Proverbs (Proverbs 17:14 {starting quarrel, NIV}; Proverbs 18:1 {intermeddleth = quarrel, KJV}; Proverbs 20:3 {quick to quarrel, NIV}). Fierce independence snarls and growls at all attempts from others to counsel or guide him. In the end, the doggedly self-willed Conceited Person may get “his desire,” but lose “sound wisdom.” Conceited Person forfeited God’s treasure of Wisdom.  
  • Sound-Wisdom – Conceited Person lacks sound wisdom. The term “sound-wisdom” has the idea of “sound-judgement” and that which flows from it, that is, abiding success in the practical affairs of life – Proverbs 2:7a “He (God) stores up sound wisdom for the upright.”
  • Isolationist – The Conceited Person is “a quarrelsome Isolationist.” (Perowne) opts for the RV rendering where “desire” is taken to mean “his own self-indulgent” desire.
  • Versions we consulted have followed this lead. The Conceited Person is “a boorish {rude} irresponsibility” (Perowne).

Versions give “rages against quarrels with, or shows contempt,” and say it is about “the evil of isolation,” showing forth “a self-conceited, hair-brained Person seeking to satisfy his fancy” (Schultens). The Conceited Person who separates himself from conventional wisdom, following his own self desires, puts himself in the position of warring against sound wisdom. Proverbs 18:1 warns against headstrong, self-centred decision (“Zockler, pg.166). As Proverbs 15:22 says, “a multitude of Counsellors” help to establish the Individual’s Plan.

The Foolish Person

Proverbs 18:2 (KJV) “A Fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.” (NIV) “A Fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinion.” This antithetical (adversative) Proverbs (Proverbs 18:2), The Fool is not intellectual deficient but attitudinal deficient. Thus, a Fool lays bare the unteachable, and arrogant Person (Fool).

  • The first line Proverbs 18:2a, makes its point by stating the opposite – “A Fool hath no delight in understanding” (Proverbs 18:2a) – that is, he despises understanding – that is, the Fool has no interest in listening or learning.
  • The second line, Proverbs 18:2b reveals, the Fool only interest is to expose what is on his mind – “But delights in airing his own opinion.” (NIV). The root of the verb “revealing” (discover) mean to uncover, to reveal, to be away or to go away. The form shown here is found only one other time in the O.T. in Genesis 9:21, where Noah got drunk and uncovered himself, sleeping naked in his tent.

Thus, it would not be a stretch to understand that the Fool of Proverbs 18:2, is descriptive of the Person (Fool) who has the tendency of an exhibitionist = show-off – the Fool, to his own shame, of his thoughts, opinions, musings, and vaunted (overhyped) insights. As a Fool, he lives in a delusional world of his own making.

The Book of Proverbs has often underscored the inability of the Fool to constrain his speech, and thus, his tendency to make public display of his Folly:

  • Proverbs 12:23b “The heart of the Fools proclaim s foolishness.”
  • Proverbs 13:16b “But a Fool lays open his folly.”
  • Proverbs 15:2b “But the mouth of the Fools pours forth foolishness.”   

Proverbs teaches that “He who restrains his words has knowledge…Even a Fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is counted prudent” (Proverbs 17:27a, 28). However, the Foolish Person has “a close mind but open mouth” in which he puts both feet, thus discovering, exposing his heart, pouring out his ignorance.

  • The disposition of the Fool is entirely opposite to that of the Wise-Person, for he has no pleasure in understanding – Proverbs 18:2a “A Fool hath no delight in understanding.”
  • The Foolish Person does not “delight” (hapes) in those matter that will give him greater understanding of life. The word “hapes” describes a deep emotional involvement, as his whole desire is to pour out his own frivolity {triviality}.

The Fool’s antipathy {opposition} toward understanding, then, comes from his emotional preoccupation with less important matters (trivialities). Fool has no concern for wisdom. In particular, he concerns himself “that his heart may discover itself.” = He wants to reveal his own opinions. His own thoughts are all more important to him that others’ views. – Proverbs 18:13 (KJV) “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” (NIV) “He who answers before listening – that is folly and his shame.”  

Stay Tuned….. To be continued