The Wisdom Literature Lesson #11

Two Ways Contrasted

Introduction

  • This lesson introduces us to the four principle characteristics in Proverbs. Two ways are contrasted in the book: the wise and the fool, the righteous and the wicked.
  • Which one are you? Being a “baptized believer” or a “Christian” does not necessarily mean that you are acting wisely and righteously. Furthermore, a person can be “smart” (intellectual), but not “wise.”

The Wise And The Fool

  • Wisdom and folly defined.
    • Terms associated with wisdom.
      • “Wisdom” — Hebrew chokmah from chokam, meaning “to be wise in mind, word or act.”
      • “Understanding” or “discernment” — Hebrew biynah from biyn, meaning “to separate mentally (or distinguish), i.e., understand.”
      • “Knowledge” — Hebrew da’ath from yada’, meaning “to know, to ascertain by seeing.”
      • “Discretion” — Hebrew mezimmah from zamam, meaning “to plan, usually in a bad sense;” mezimmah means “a plan, usually evil (machination), sometimes good (sagacity).”
      • “Prudence” — Hebrew ’aruwm from ‘aram, meaning “to be or make bare; but used only in the derivative sense … to be cunning.”
      • “Counsel” — Hebrew ‘etsah form ya’ats, meaning “to advise; reflexive, to deliberate or resolve.”
      • “Correction” — Hebrew muwsar from yasar, meaning “to chastise, literally with blows or figuratively with words; hence to instruct.”
      • “Rebuke” — Hebrew towkechah from yakach, meaning “to be right (i.e., correct);” towkechah means “chastisement; figuratively (by words) correction, refutation, proof (even in defense).”
      • “Teaching” (law) — Hebrew torah from yara, meaning “to flow; to lay or throw; to point out, to teach;” torah means “a precept or statute.”
      • “Command” — Hebrew mitsvah from tsavah, meaning “to constitute, to enjoin;” mitsvah means “a command, whether human or divine.”
    • Terms associated with folly.
      • “Fool” — Hebrew kesiyl from kasal, meaning “to be fat, i.e., figuratively stupid or silly.”
      • “Fool” — Hebrew ‘eviyl, meaning “to be perverse; figuratively, silly.”
      • “Fool” — Hebrew nabal from nabel, meaning “to wilt; generally to fall away, fail, faint; figuratively to be foolish or (morally) wicked;” nabal means “stupid; wicked (especially impious).”
      • “Simple” — Hebrew pethiy from pathah, meaning “to open, i.e., be roomy; usually figuratively to be simple or delude;” pethiy means “silly (i.e., seducible).”
      • “Mocker,” “scoffer” or “scorner” — Hebrew luwts, meaning “to make mouths at, i.e., to scoff.”
      • “Sluggard” — Hebrew ‘atsel from ‘atsal, meaning “to lean idly, i.e., to be indolent or slack.”
      • “Deceit,” “liar” and “lying” — “Deceit” comes from the Hebrew mirmah from ramah, meaning “to hurl; specifically to shoot; figuratively to delude or betray (as if causing to fall).” “Liar” comes from the Hebrew kazab meaning “to lie (i.e., deceive).” “Lying” comes from the Hebrew sheqer from shaqar, meaning “to cheat, i.e., be untrue (usually in words).”
  • The way of wisdom.
    • Wisdom’s invitation.
      • Wisdom should be sought out (1:20-21; 8:1-7; 9:1-6; 24:3-4).
      • Wisdom should be acquired (1:1-6; 4:1-5; 18:15; 19:20; 23:22-23).
      • Wisdom should be maintained (7:1-4; 8:32-34; 23:12, 19, 26).
    • Wisdom’s characteristics.
      • The wise listen to wisdom (5:1-2; 16:21).
      • The wise benefit from good advice (11:14; 15:22; 20:18; 24:6).
      • The wise accept and value rebuke (15:31; 25:12).
      • The wise use self-control to appease anger and to avoid danger (16:14; 19:11; 23:1-3; 25:28).
      • The wise are righteous and just (2:20-22; 8:8-9).
      • The wise have inner power and strength (16:32; 21:22; 24:5).
      • The wise have protection (2:9-15; 4:6).
      • The wise find wisdom attractive and pleasant (1:8-9; 3:21-26; 4:8-13; 24:13-14; 27:9).
      • The wise value wisdom highly (3:1-2, 13-18; 4:7; 8:10-21; 16:16; 19:8; 20:15).
    • Wisdom’s benefits.
      • Life and health (4:20-23; 6:20-23; 11:30; 13:14; 15:24).
      • Rejoicing parents (23:15-16, 24-25; 27:11).
    • Wisdom’s rejection.
      • Disaster, calamity, distress and trouble (1:20-33; 19:27).
      • Discipline (15:10).
      • Death (1:32; 21:16).
  • The way of folly.
    • Folly’s characteristics.
      • The fool repeats his foolishness (26:11).
      • The fool has zeal without knowledge (19:2).
      • The fool rejects knowledge (14:7; 18:2; 23:9; 26:4-5).
      • The fool detests turning from evil (13:19; 24:8-9).
      • The fool is quick-tempered (14:17).
      • The fool is dangerous, quarrels, vexes and arouses hostilities (17;12; 22:10; 27:3; 30:32-33).
      • The fool is arrogant (17:7; 21:24; 26:12).
      • The fool is slanderous (10:18).
      • The fool is useless to others:
        • As a messenger (26:6).
        • As an employee (26:10).
      • The fool finds certain objects useless.
        • Money (17:16).
        • Luxury (19:10).
        • Honor (26:1, 8).
        • Proverbs (26:7, 9).
    • Folly’s results.
      • The fool receives penalties, beatings and death (19:29; 20:30; 26:3; 27:22).
      • The fool comes to ruin (10:10).
      • The fool brings grief to his parents (17:21, 25; 19:13).
  • Wisdom and folly contrasted.
    • The wise acquire wisdom with ease; the fool acquires wisdom with difficulty (14:6, 33; 24:7).
    • The wise enjoy wisdom; the fool enjoys evil (10:23; 17:24).
    • The wise do not trust in themselves; the fool trusts in himself (26:16; 28:26).
    • The wise follow knowledge; the fool displays his foolishness (12:23; 13:16; 14:18; 15:14, 21).
    • The wise think; the fool is misguided (14:8, 15).
    • The wise listen to the advice of others; the fool follows his own advice (12:15; 13:10).
    • The wise are humble; the fool is proud (11:2; 16:18; 18:12; 25:6-7; 29:23).
    • The wise exercise self-control; the fool is quick-tempered (12:16; 14:9, 29, 35; 20:3; 29:8-9, 11).
    • The wise build up; the fool tears down (14:1).
    • The wise learn; the fool experiences trouble (10:8, 14, 21; 13:20; 22:3; 27:12).
    • The wise are rewarded; the fool suffers (9:12; 10:13; 13:15; 16:22).
    • The wise accepts discipline, correction and rebuke; the fool rejects all of these (9:7-9; 10:17; 12:1; 13:1, 13, 18; 15:5, 12, 32; 17:10; 19:16, 25; 21:11; 29:1).
    • The wise are praised; the fool is despised (12:8).
    • The wise become wealthy; the fool lives in poverty (14:24; 21:5, 20).
    • The wise bring joy to their parents; the fool brings grief to his parents (10:1; 15:20; 28:7; 29:3).

The Righteous And The Wicked

  • Righteousness and wickedness defined.
    • Terms associated with righteousness.
      • “Righteous” — Hebrew tsaddiyq, meaning “to be right (in a moral or forensic sense).”
      • “Justice” — Hebrew mishpat from shaphat, meaning “to judge, i.e., to pronounce sentence (for or against); by implication to vindicate or punish; by extension to govern; passively to litigate.”
      • “Integrity” — Hebrew tummah from tom, meaning “completeness; figuratively prosperity; usually (morally) innocence.”
      • “Upright” — Hebrew yashar, meaning “to be straight or even.”
      • “Good” — Hebrew towb, meaning “to be (do or make) good (or well) in the widest sense.”
    • Terms associated with wickedness.
      • “Wicked” — Hebrew rasha’, meaning “morally wrong; concretely a (actively) bad person.”
      • “Evil” — Hebrew ra’ from ra’a’, meaning “to spoil (literally by breaking into pieces); figuratively to make (or be) good for nothing, i.e., bad (physically, socially or morally).”
      • “Sin” — Hebrew chatta’ah from chata’, meaning “to miss; hence (figuratively and generally) to sin.”
      • “Transgression” — Hebrew pesha’ from pasha’, meaning “to break away (from just authority), i.e., trespass, apostatize, quarrel.”
      • “Perverse” — Hebrew tahpukah from haphak, meaning “to turn about or over; by implication to change, overturn, return, pervert;” and the Hebrew word ‘iqqesh from ‘aqash, meaning “to knot or distort; figuratively to pervert (acts or declare perverse).”
  • The way of righteousness and the way of wickedness.
    • Qualities of the righteous and the wicked.
      • The walk of the righteous and the wicked.
        • The walk of the righteous (4:18-19; 13:9).
        • The walk of the upright (11:3; 15:19; 21:8; 25:19).
        • The walk of integrity (4:25-27; 11:5; 13:6; 16:17; 20:7).
        • The walk of the wicked (4:14-17; 17:11; 21:10).
      • The plans of the righteous and the wicked.
        • The just plans of the righteous (12:5).
        • The evil plans of the wicked (1:10-19; 16:27, 29-30; 21:7; 30:11-14).
      • The justice of the righteous and the wicked.
        • The righteous care about justice (18:17; 29:7).
        • The wicked pervert justice (17:23, 26; 18:5; 19:28; 24:23-26; 28:21).
      • The possessions of the righteous and the wicked.
        • The righteous are generous (12:10).
        • The wicked are never satisfied (12:25-26; 27:20; 30:15-16).
      • The attitude of the righteous and the wicked.
        • The righteous are careful, but the wicked do not think (12:26; 21:29).
        • The righteous are humble, but the wicked are proud (6:17; 21:4).
        • The righteous keep the law, but the wicked disobey the law (29:18).
        • The righteous hate what is false and disobedient, but the wicked promote shame (13:5; 18:3; 29:26; 29:10, 27).
        • The righteous are bold and strong in spirit, but the wicked are weak in spirit (24:15-16; 28:1, 5).
  • God’s evaluation of the righteous and the wicked.
    • Conduct indicates character (20:11).
    • The righteous are polluted when they give way to the wicked (25:26).
    • Better to be righteous and poor, than wicked and prosperous (16:8, 19; 19:1; 28:6).
    • People are happy with the righteous, but unhappy with the wicked (11:10; 28:12, 28: 29:2).
    • The religion of the wicked is detestable (21:27; 28:9).
  • Results of being righteous or wicked.
    • The righteous avoid trouble, but the wicked encounter trouble (10:2; 11:4, 6, 8, 21; 12:21; 13:17; 22:5, 8; 24:1-2).
    • The righteous are secure, but the wicked fall (6:12-15; 10:9, 25, 30; 12:3, 7; 14:11, 32; 28:18).
    • The righteous attain to life, but the wicked are led to death (10:11, 16; 11:19; 12:28; 14:12; 16:25, 31; 20:20; 21:21; 24:19-20; 28:15-16, 24; 30:17).
    • The righteous get what they want, and the wicked get what they want.
    • General principle stated (10:6-7, 24; 11:18, 31; 14:14, 22-23, 27; 17:13; 28:20).
    • Specific examples:
      • Prosperity vs. poverty (11:28; 12:12; 13:21-22, 25; 15:6; 28:10).
      • The wicked are victimized (5:22-23; 26:27).
      • Joy vs. terror (10:28; 12:20; 21:15; 29:6).
      • The wicked are tormented (28:17; 29:24).
      • Honor vs. disgrace (14:34; 16:12; 20:28; 25:4-5; 29:4, 14).
      • Win vs. lose (14:19; 21:18; 29:16).
      • Sin is to be confessed (20:9; 28:13).

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