Proverbs 6:12
A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth.
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(k). Eleventh Discourse:Against Deceit and Malice (Proverbs 6:12-19).

(12) A naughty person.—According to its original meaning, a “worthless” person, Heb. a man of Belial,

Froward mouth.—Comp. Proverbs 4:24.

Proverbs 6:12-15. A naughty person — Hebrew, a man of Belial, a wicked man, whose continual practice it is, in one way or other, to work wickedness; walketh with a froward mouth — Makes it his business, by lies; or flatteries, or slanders, or perjuries, to maintain himself in his idle courses. And if the slothful are to be condemned that do nothing, much more those that act wickedly, and contrive to do all the ill they can. He winketh with his eyes, &c. — He vents his wickedness, as by his speech, so also by his gestures, by which he secretly intimates what he is ashamed or afraid to express openly to his accomplices, his intentions or desires of doing some evil to some one; he teacheth with his fingers — Having declared his designs by the motion of his eyes, or feet, he points out the particular person by his fingers. Frowardness is in his heart — Perverse or wicked thoughts and desires. He soweth discord — Either out of malice against others, or out of a base design of improving it to his own advantage. Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly — And prove his utter ruin; suddenly shall he be broken — When he fancies he has conducted his matters so craftily that nobody discerns his villany, he shall, on a sudden, be looked upon as the pest of mankind, and, like a vessel broken in small pieces, shall be incurably undone.

6:12-19 If the slothful are to be condemned, who do nothing, much more those that do all the ill they can. Observe how such a man is described. He says and does every thing artfully, and with design. His ruin shall come without warning, and without relief. Here is a list of things hateful to God. Those sins are in a special manner provoking to God, which are hurtful to the comfort of human life. These things which God hates, we must hate in ourselves; it is nothing to hate them in others. Let us shun all such practices, and watch and pray against them; and avoid, with marked disapproval, all who are guilty of them, whatever may be their rank.A naughty person - literally, "a man of Belial," i. e., a worthless man (see the Deuteronomy 13:13 note). This is the portrait of the man who is not to be trusted, whose look and gestures warn against him all who can observe. His speech is tortuous and crafty; his wink tells the accomplice that the victim is already snared; his gestures with foot and hand are half in deceit, and half in mockery. 12. A naughty person—literally, "A man of Belial," or of worthlessness, that is, for good, and so depraved, or wicked (compare 1Sa 25:25; 30:22, &c.). Idleness and vice are allied. Though indolent in acts, he actively and habitually (walketh) is ill-natured in speech (Pr 4:24). He showeth the haughtiness of his heart by the wickedness of his talk and discourses, to which he doth accustom himself, as walking implies.

A naughty person, a wicked man,.... Or, "a man of Belial, a man of iniquity" (w). The former signifies an unprofitable man, a man good for nothing, that is of no use to God or man; or one that is lawless, that has thrown off the yoke of the law, and will not be subject to it; Belial is the name of the devil; and here it may design such as are his children, and will do his lusts: the latter phrase signifies one that is wholly given up to work wickedness. The characters well agree with the the lawless one, the man of sin and son of perdition, antichrist, 2 Thessalonians 2:3. Who

walketh with a froward mouth; speaking perverse things, things contrary to the light of nature and reason, to law and Gospel; uttering lies, and deceit, and blasphemies against God and man; to which he has used himself, and in which he continues, as the word "walketh" signifies: so antichrist has a mouth opened in blasphemies against God and his saints, Revelation 13:5.

(w) "homo Belijahal, vir iniquitatis", Montanus, Vatablus, Baynus, Michaelis.

A naughty person, {f} a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth.

(f) He shows to what inconvenience the idle persons and sluggards come, by calling them unthrifty, or the men of Belial, and slanderous.

12. a naughty person] Lit. a man of Belial. The Heb. word Belial means, “of no profit,” “worthless,” and, according to the Heb. idiom, a man of, or a son of (Deuteronomy 13:13) Belial, is an unprofitable or worthless person. Here, however, the word “Belial” is in apposition with “man,” “a man (who is) worthless, a good-for-nothing fellow.” The word appears to have been personified by the later Jews, and is used in the form Belial, or Beliar, to denote Satan (2 Corinthians 6:15, where see note in this Series).

walketh] The R.V., following the Heb. pointing, is more abrupt and forcible:

A worthless person, a man of iniquity;

He walketh with a froward mouth.

Thirteenth Address. Chap. 6. Proverbs 6:12-19. The Worthless Person

This short section might seem at first sight to break itself into two (Proverbs 6:12-19). But the note of character, “he soweth discord,” repeated in Proverbs 6:19 from Proverbs 6:14, helps to identify the worthless person as being the subject throughout, and a closer examination exhibits the connection. Would you recognise the worthless man? Here is his description, Proverbs 6:12-14. Would you understand his end? Here is his destiny, Proverbs 6:15. Would you know what God, the Judge of all, sees in him to hate and punish? Here are the six, yea seven things that undo him, Proverbs 6:16-19. The connection is well worked out by Mr Horton, The Book of Proverbs, pp. 84–91.

Verses 12-19. - 11. Eleventh admonitory discourse. Warning against mischievousness as a thing hateful to God. The connection of this with the preceding discourse is not at first sight very clear, but it may be found in the fact, attested only too unhappily by experience, that sloth leads those who indulge in it to such vices as are next enumerated. The sluggard may develop into a treacherous and deceitful man, and even if such should not happen, the characteristics of the two are nearly allied, and their end is much the same. St. Paul, in his First Epistle to Timothy, observes this same combination of character, and remarks that idlers are "tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not" (see 1 Timothy 6:13). The intention of the discourse is obviously to dissuade all, and especially the young, from the vices, and to preserve them from the ruin, of those men of whom "the naughty person and wicked man" is the type. Verse 12. - A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth. The teacher begins by stating in general terms the nature and character of the man whom he now holds up as a warning to others, and then proceeds to point out the various features in his conduct and behaviour by which he may be known. In concise terms he is described as "a naughty person, a wicked man." This is pre-eminently his character, and the first feature in it is that his life is one of wilful and injurious misreprescntation of the truth. A naughty person, a wicked man. In apposition and mutually explanatory. The grammatical arrangement of the sentences which follow, each of which is introduced by a participle, and is thus coordinate to the ethers, as well as the parallel terms, "person" (adam) and "man" (ish), determine this apposition. So Bertheau and Delitzsch. Others (as Zockler, Noyes, Kamph), however, connect the second expression with the series of characteristics which follow, and render, "A worthless person is a deceiver, who," etc., but wrongly. A naughty person (Hebrew, adam b'liyyaal); literally, a man of Belial; Vulgate, homo apostata; LXX., ἀνὴρ ἄφρων. The word "Belial" is derived from b'li, "without," and yaal, "profit" (i.e. "without profit"), or from b'li and ol, "yoke" (i.e. "without yoke"), and strictly signifies either a worthless or a lawless person. The latter derivation is, however, rejected by Gesenius and others. Its abstract signification is worthlessness, uselessness; its concrete or adjectival, worthless. The word "naughty" (Anglo-Saxon, naht, ne aht, "not anything," equivalent to "nothing"), in the sense of good-for-nothing, ne'er-do-well, adopted in the Authorized Version, exactly reproduces its strict etymological meaning. The word, however, always carries with it the idea of moral turpitude. In the present instance its meaning is determined by the appositional phrase, "a man of iniquity," or "a wicked man," and such iniquity as takes the form of mischief making, deceit, and sowing discord among brethren. The "man of Belial" is not therefore simply, as its etymological derivation would imply, a worthless individual, one who is of no use either to himself or to the community at large, but a positively wicked, iniquitous, and despicable character. The meaning of the word varies in other passages. Thus in Deuteronomy 13:13, where it first occurs, it is used to designate those who have fallen sway into idolatry, and induce others to follow their example. In this sense it corresponds with the Vulgate, apostata, as signifying a defection from the worship of the true God. Again, in 1 Samuel 1:16 it is applied to the profanation of sacred places. When Hannah is accused by Eli of drunkenness in God's house at Shiloh, she replies, "Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial." In the historical books (e.g. Judges, 1 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Chronicles), where it is of frequent occurrence, it has the general meaning of "wickedness," under whatever form it appears. So in the Psalms (Psalm 18:4; Psalm 41:8; Psalm 101:3) and Nahum (Nahum 1:11, 15). In the Book of Job (Job 34:18, once only) it is used adjectively and as a term of reproach, "Is it fit to say to a king, Thou art wicked [b'liyyaal; i.e. 'worthless']?" Individuals possessing the qualities of worthlessness, profanity, or wickedness are designated in Holy Scripture either as "sons," "children," "daughters," or "men of Belial." The word only occurs in two other passages in the Proverbs - Proverbs 16:27 and Proverbs 19:28. In the New Testament (2 Corinthians 6:15) the word "Belial" (Greek, βελίαρ or βελίαλ) appears as an appellative of Satan, ὁ πονηρὸς, "the evil one," as the representative of all that is bad, and as antichrist. A wicked man (Hebrew, ish aven); literally, a man of vanity or iniquity; Vulgate, vir inutilis; LXX., ἀνὴρ παράνομος. The radical idea of aven (from un, "nothing") is that of emptiness or vanity, and has much, therefore, in common with b'liyaal. Its secondary meaning, and that which it usually bears in Scripture, is iniquity. "A man of iniquity" is one who is altogether deficient in moral consciousness, and who goes about to work wickedness and do hurt and injury to others (cf. ver. 18 and Job 22:15). Walketh with a froward mouth. His first characteristic, as already observed. His whole life and conduct are marked by craftiness, deceit, perversion, and misrepresentation, and an utter want of truth. "Walking" is here, as elsewhere in Scripture, used of some particular course of conduct. So we find the LXX. paraphrase, πορεύεται ὁδοὺς οὐκ ἀγαθάς. "he enters or walks not in good ways." With a froward mouth (Hebrew, ik'shuth peh); literally, with perversity of mouth; Vulgate, ore perverse. Symmachus has στρεβλύμασι στόματος, "with perversity of mouth." The mouth, or speech, is the vehicle by which this person gives outward expression to the evil thoughts which are inwardly filling his heart. The phrase occurs before in Proverbs 4:24. The meaning of the passage is well illustrated in Psalm 10:7, "His mouth is full of misery, deceit, and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity." Proverbs 6:12There follows now a third brief series of instructions, which run to a conclusion with a deterring prospect similar to the foregoing.

12 A worthless man, a wicked man,

     Is he who practiseth falsehood with his mouth;

13 Who winketh with his eyes, scrapeth with his foot,

     Pointeth with his fingers.

14 Malice is in his heart,

     He deviseth evil at all times,

     He spreadeth strife.

15 Therefore suddenly his destruction shall come,

     Suddenly shall he be destroyed, and there is no remedy.

It is a question, what is the subject and what the predicate in Proverbs 6:12. Thus much is clear, that upon him who is here described according to his deceitful conduct the sentence of condemnation shall fall. He who is so described is thus subject, and אדם בּליּעל is without doubt predicate. But does the complex subject begin with אישׁ און? Thus e.g., Hitzig: "A worthless man is the wicked man who...." But the interchange of עדם and אישׁ is a sign of parallel relation; and if 12b belonged attributively to אישׁ און, then since אישׁ האון is not used, it ought at least to have been continued by ההולך. The general moral categories, 12a, are thus predicates, as was indeed besides probable; the copious division of the subject demands also in point of style a more developed predicate. Proverbs 16:27 is simpler in plan, and also logically different. There the expression is, as is usual, אישׁ בליעל. Since אדם און is not possible, the author uses instead בליעל. This word, composed of בּלי and יעל (from יעל, ועל, to be useful, to be good for), so fully serves as one word, that it even takes the article, 1 Samuel 25:25. It denotes worthlessness, generally in a chain of words in the genitive, but also the worthless, Job 34:18; and it is to be so taken here, for אדם does not form a constructivus, and never governs a genitive. בליעל is thus a virtual adjective (as nequam in homo nequam); the connection is like that of אדם רשׁע, Proverbs 11:7, and elsewhere, although more appositional than this pure attributive. Synonymous with בליעל is און (from an, to breathe), wickedness, i.e., want of all moral character. Thus worthless and wicked is he who practises deceit with his mouth (cf. Proverbs 4:24), i.e., who makes language the means of untruthfulness and uncharitableness. עקּשׁוּת פּה is meant in a moral sense, but without excluding that distortion of the mouth which belongs to the mimicry of the malicious. It is the accus. of the object; for הלך is also bound in a moral sense with the accusative of that which one practises, i.e., dealing with, exercises himself in, Proverbs 2:7; Proverbs 28:18, Isaiah 33:15.

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