Proverbs 14:12
There is a way which seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, and yet he will be punished if he follows it, for his perverted conscience may arise from his desertion of God, and his refusal of the light He offered. (Comp. Romans 1:28, sqq.)

Proverbs 14:12. There is a way which seemeth right unto a man — There are some evil actions or courses which men may think to be lawful and good, either through gross ignorance, or self-flattery, or through want of necessary diligence in examining them by the rule of God’s word; all which are culpable causes of the mistake, and therefore do not excuse the error; but the end thereof are the ways of death — The event shows that they were sinful and destructive.14:1 A woman who has no fear of God, who is wilful and wasteful, and indulges her ease, will as certainly ruin her family, as if she plucked her house down. 2. Here are grace and sin in their true colours. Those that despise God's precepts and promises, despise God and all his power and mercy. 3. Pride grows from that root of bitterness which is in the heart. The root must be plucked up, or we cannot conquer this branch. The prudent words of wise men get them out of difficulties. 4. There can be no advantage without something which, though of little moment, will affright the indolent. 5. A conscientious witness will not dare to represent anything otherwise than according to his knowledge. 6. A scorner treats Divine things with contempt. He that feels his ignorance and unworthiness will search the Scriptures in a humble spirit. 7. We discover a wicked man if there is no savour of piety in his discourse. 8. We are travellers, whose concern is, not to spy out wonders, but to get to their journey's end; to understand the rules we are to walk by, also the ends we are to walk toward. The bad man cheats himself, and goes on in his mistake. 9. Foolish and profane men consider sin a mere trifle, to be made light of rather than mourned over. Fools mock at the sin-offering; but those that make light of sin, make light of Christ. 10. We do not know what stings of conscience, or consuming passions, torment the prosperous sinner. Nor does the world know the peace of mind a serious Christian enjoys, even in poverty and sickness. 11. Sin ruins many great families; whilst righteousness often raises and strengthens even mean families. 12. The ways of carelessness, of worldliness, and of sensuality, seem right to those that walk in them; but self-deceivers prove self-destroyers. See the vanity of carnal mirth. 14. Of all sinners backsliders will have the most terror when they reflect on their own ways. 15. Eager readiness to believe what others say, has ever proved mischievous. The whole world was thus ruined at first. The man who is spiritually wise, depends on the Saviour alone for acceptance. He is watchful against the enemies of his salvation, by taking heed to God's word. 16. Holy fear guards against every thing unholy. 17. An angry man is to be pitied as well as blamed; but the revengeful is more hateful.A way ... - The way of the fool, the way of self-indulgence and self-will. 12. end thereof—or, "reward," what results (compare Pr 5:4).

ways of death—leading to it.

There are some evil actions or courses which men may think to be lawful and good, either through gross and affected ignorance, or through partiality or self-flattery, or through want of necessary diligence in examining them by the rule of God’s will or word; all which are culpable causes of the mistake, and therefore do not excuse the error: but the event showeth that they were sinful and destructive. There is a way which seemeth right unto a man,.... As the way of sin and wickedness does, it promising much carnal pleasure and mirth; there is a great deal of company in it, it is a broad road, and is pleasant, and seems right, but it leads to destruction; so the way of the hypocrite and Pharisee that trusts to his own righteousness, and despises others, and even the righteousness of Christ; or however does not submit to it, but tramples upon him, and counts the blood of the covenant an unholy thing, and so is deserving of sorer punishment than the profane sinner; yet on account of his good works, as he calls them, fancies himself to be in a fair way for heaven and happiness; so Popery, through the pomp and grandeur and gaudiness of worship, through the lying miracles of the priests, and the air of devotion that appears in them, seems to be a right way;

but the end thereof are the ways of death; which lead unto eternal death; for that is the wages of sin, let it appear in what shape it will.

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 12. - This verse occurs again in Proverbs 16:25. There is a way which seemeth right unto a man. This may refer to the blinding effects of passion and self-will; for these make a man think his own way best and most desirable. But it seems better to take it as a warning against following a perverted or uninstructed conscience. Conscience needs to be informed by God's Word and ruled by God's will to make it a safe guide. When properly regulated, it is able to pronounce a verdict upon contemplated action, and its verdict must always he obeyed. But warped by prejudice, weakened by disuse and disobedience, judicially blinded in punishment and in consequence of sin, it loses all power of moral judgment, and becomes inoperative of good; and then, as to the way that seemed at the moment right, the end thereof are the ways of death (Proverbs 5:5). The man is following a false light, and is led astray, and goes headlong to destruction (comp. Romans 1:28; 1 Timothy 4:2; see on ver. 13). St. Gregory ('Moral.,' 5:12) has some words on this subject: "There are times when we are ignorant whether the very things which we believe we do aright, are rightly done in the strict Judge's eye. For it often happens that an action of ours, which is cause for our condemnation, passes with us for the aggrandizement of virtue. Often by the same act whereby we think to appease the Judge, he is urged to anger when favourable Hence, while holy men are getting the mastery over their evil habits, their very good practices even become an object of dread to them, lest, when they desire to do a good action, they be decoyed by a semblance of the thing, lest the baleful canker of corruption lurk under the fair appearance of a goodly colour. For they know that they are still charged with the burden of corruption, and cannot exactly discern the things that be good" (Oxford transl.). 6 In vain the scorner seeketh wisdom;

   But to the man of understanding knowledge is easy.

The general sentence is concrete, composed in the common historical form. Regarding ואין, necquidquam, vid., at Proverbs 13:4. The participle נקל is here neut. for נקלּה, something which makes itself easy or light. The frivolous man, to whom truth is not a matter of conscience, and who recognises no authority, not even the Supreme, never reaches to truth notwithstanding all his searching, it remains veiled to him and far remote; but to the man of understanding, who knows that the fear of God and not estrangement from God leads to truth, knowledge is an easy matter - he enters on the right way to this end, he brings the right receptivity, brings to bear on it the clear eye, and there is fulfilled to him the saying, "To him that hath it is given."

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