Proverbs 12:12
The wicked desires the net of evil men: but the root of the righteous yields fruit.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) The wicked desireth the net of evil men—i.e., to enrich himself by prey as they do; but the “root of the righteous yieldeth fruit,” by their own exertion they gain all they require without injuring others.

Proverbs 12:12. The wicked desireth the net of evil men — He approves and uses those cunning and deceitful arts which evil men employ, like nets, to insnare others, and to take their goods to themselves. The word מצוד, however, here rendered net, may be translated fortress, as it is in the margin, and then the clause will be, he desires the fortress of wicked men, or of wickedness, that is, he seeks to fortify and establish himself by wicked practices. But the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit — That justice and piety in which he is rooted, and which is the root of his actions, doth of itself, without the aid of any indirect and sinful courses, yield him sufficient fruit, both for his own need, and for doing good to others.12:10. A godly man would not put even an animal to needless pain. But the wicked often speak of others as well used, when they would not endure like treatment for a single day. 11. It is men's wisdom to mind their business, and follow an honest calling. But it is folly to neglect business; and the grace of God teaches men to disdain nothing but sin. 12. When the ungodly see others prosper by sin, they wish they could act in the same way. But the root of Divine grace, in the heart of the righteous, produces other desires and purposes. 13. Many a man has paid dear in this world for the transgression of his lips.The meaning seems to be: The "net of evil men" (compare Proverbs 1:17) is that in which they are taken, the judgment of God in which they are ensnared. This they run into with such a blind infatuation, that it seems as if they were in love with their own destruction. The marginal rendering gives the thought that the wicked seek the protection of others like themselves, but seek in vain; the "root of the just" (i. e., that in them which is fixed and stable) alone yields that protection. 12. the wicked … evil—They love the crafty arts of deception.

the root … fruit—their own resources supply them; or, it may be rendered: "He (God) giveth, or, sets (Eze 17:22) the root of the righteous," and hence it is firm: or, the verb is impersonal; "As to the root … it is firm" (Pr 17:19).

The wicked desireth the net of evil men; he approveth and useth those cunning and deceitful arts, which wicked men use like nets to insnare other men, and to take their goods to themselves. Or, he desireth the fortress of wicked men, or of wickedness, i.e. he seeks to fortify and stablish himself by wicked practices.

The root of the righteous yieldeth fruit; that justice and piety in which he is rooted, and which is the root of his actions, doth of itself, without the aid of any indirect and sinful courses, yield him sufficient fruit, both for his own need, and to do good to others. But because the word fruit is not in the Hebrew, and may seem to be too great a supplement, it is and may be rendered thus, the root of the righteous giveth it, to wit, that fortress or security which others seek in wickedness. The wicked desireth the net of evil men,.... To be master of all the wicked arts and methods evil men use to ensnare and oppress others; to get them and their substance into their hands; or "desireth the evil net", as the Targum; the evil net of antichrist, which he lays for the poor, whom he draws into it and catches them; see Psalm 10:9. Jarchi understands it of "hunting" (t) and of wicked men desiring to be fed and nourished with what evil men get by hunting; compare with this Ezekiel 13:18. Some render it the "fortress" or "strong hold" (u) of evil men, in which they fortify and secure themselves to do mischief to others, and to prevent any besieging them, so Gersom; and this is what all wicked men are desirous of;

but the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit; or "shall give" (w) that; that security and protection from real evil and mischief which the wicked cannot obtain; or he, that is, God, "shall give the righteous root" (x), firmly fix them that they shall not be moved; or as we supply it, and so Aben Ezra, "yieldeth fruit", much more desirable than the net of evil men the wicked covet: righteous men are compared to trees, they are called "trees of righteousness", Isaiah 61:3; these have a root in the love of God, in the person of Christ, and in the grace of the Spirit, and this root yieldeth fruit; the love of God is the root and source of all good things, of all the blessings of grace, of the fruit of grace, faith, hope, and love, and of evangelical obedience; the person of Christ is the source of all spiritual blessings, of salvation and eternal life; the righteous have their being in him as a root; they are bore by him, have all their life, grace, holiness, fruitfulness, and perseverance therein, from him; and the grace of the Spirit in the heart, which is the root of the matter, the hidden man of the heart, from hence are fruits meet for faith and repentance, and good works, which are both pleasant and profitable. The Targum is,

"the root of the righteous shall remain, or be established;''

see Proverbs 12:3.

(t) "venationem", Munster, Schultens; "venatum", Tigurine version. (u) "Praesidium", Mercerus, Junius & Tremelllus, Piscator. (w) "dabit", Pagninus, Montanus, Baynus, Mercerus. (x) "Radicem justorum dabit Deus", Gejerus, Michaelis.

The wicked desireth the {e} net of evil men: but the {f} root of the righteous yieldeth fruit.

(e) Continually imagines ways to harm others.

(f) Meaning, their heart within, which is upright, and does good to all.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. net] This rendering, which is retained in R.V. text, and on which the rendering prey, R.V. marg., is only a gloss (prey=net, for what it catches), gives a good and forcible antithesis to the proverb. There is perhaps an intended contrast between the restless and often fruitless activity of the hunter with his net, and the calm, stedfast fruit-bearing, as by a natural process, of the firmly-rooted tree. So St Paul contrasts the “works” of the flesh with the “fruit” of the spirit, and “the unfruitful works of darkness” with “the fruit of the light” (Galatians 5:19; Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 5:9-10, R.V.).

The abrupt change of figure from the “net” to the tree is quite in accordance with Hebrew modes of thought. In like manner in Psalms 1 the righteous is the flourishing and fruitful tree, and the wicked, not as we might have expected the barren and withered tree, but the chaff scattered by the wind as it sweeps across the bare hill-top of the summer threshing-floor.

The rendering fortress (A.V. marg., the munimentum of the Vulgate) is explained to mean, that the protection which a wicked man seeks by associating with men like himself, and so finding security in numbers, the righteous has in his own innate stability. But this is far-fetched, and the rendering disappears altogether in R.V.Verse 12. - Modern commentators have endeavoured to amend the text of this verse by various methods, which may be seen in Nowack's note on the passage; but the existing reading gives an appropriate sense, and alteration is not absolutely needed, though it is plain that the LXX had before them something different from the Masoretic text. The wicked desireth the net of evil men (Ecclesiastes 7:26), that he may use the means which they take to enrich themselves; or matsod may mean, not the instrument, but the prey - "such booty as evil men capture;" or yet again, the word may mean "fortress," i.e. the wicked seeks the protection of evil men. So the Vulgate, Desiderium impii munimentum est pessimorum, "What the wicked desire is the support of evil men," or, it may be, "the defense of evil men," i.e. that these may be secured from suppression and interruption. Another interpretation, which, however, seems somewhat forced, is that "the net" is a metaphor for the judgment of God, which overtakes sinners, and into which they run with such blind infatuation that they seem to "desire" it, The safest explanation is the second one given above, which signifies that the wicked man seeks by every means to obtain the prey which he sees sinners obtain, and, as is implied, gets small return for his labour, does not advance his interests. But the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit. The root supplies the sap and vigour needed for healthy produce. Without any evil devices or plotting, the righteous gain all that they want as the natural result of their high principles. Another hindering is, "He (the Lord) will give a root of the righteous," will enable them to stand firm in time of trial. Septuagint, "The desires of the impious are evil; but the roots of the pious are in strongholds," i.e. are secure. 6 The word of the godless is to lie in wait for the blood of others,

   But the mouth of the upright delivereth them.

Our editions have דברי רשׁעים, but the right sequence of the accents (in Cod. 1294 and elsewhere) is דברי רשׁעים; the logical relation in this transformation, which is only rhythmically conditioned, remains the same. The vocalization wavers between ארב־, which would be imper., and ארב־, which is infin., like אמר־, Proverbs 25:7, ענשׁ־, Proverbs 21:11, אכל־, Genesis 3:11. However one punctuates it, the infin. is intended in any case, in which the expression always remains sketchy enough: the words of the godless are lying in wait for blood, i.e., they are calculated to bring others to this, into the danger of their lives, e.g., before the tribunal by false charges and false witness. דּם is the accus. of the object; for instead of ארב לדם (Proverbs 1:11), to lurk for blood, a shorter expression, ארב דּם, is used (Ewald, 282a). The suffix of יצּילם

(Note: Elias Levita, in his note to the root פה in Kimchi's Wrterbuch, reads תּצּילם, and so also do 6 codd. in Kennicot. But פּה is masculine.)

might appear, after Proverbs 11:6, to refer back to the ישׁרים; but the thought that their mouth saves the upright, that they thus know to speak themselves out of the danger, is by far less appropriate (vid., on the contrary, בדעת, Proverbs 11:9) than the thought that the mouth of the upright delivereth from danger those whose lives are threatened by the godless, as is rightly explained by Ewald, Bertheau, Elster. The personal subject or object is in the Mashal style often to be evolved from the connection, e.g., Proverbs 14:26; Proverbs 19:23.

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