Summary: The emphasis of the passage is on the dangers of perversity and the disastrous fate of its perpetrator. We here have a description of a person who deceives and stirs up strife & how to spot the scoundrel.

PROVERBS 6: 12-15


[Genesis 37:29-35]

What and how we communicate is important to God. There are those who are skilled in the methods of communication but deceitfully use their skills to spread slander and strife. This description is not a picture of a real friend or a good neighbor. To a stable community such a person spells disruption. The young leaders to whom Proverbs is addressed had to be put on guard against him. For they would meet his kind and would needed to recognize him quickly and deal with him or steer clear of him, as the situation warranted.

The emphasis of our text is on the dangers of perversity and the disastrous fate of its perpetrator (CIT). First we have a description of a person who deceives and stirs up strife (vv.12-15) and then the activities such a person engages in (vv. 16-19) which we will look at next time. Solomon urged his son to avoid disaster (v.15) and God's hatred (v. 16). So let's look at this teaching on how to spot a scoundrel.




If the slothful are to be condemned, who do nothing, much more those who do evil. Observe how such a man is described. He says and does his thing artfully, and with design. In verse 12 we learn his motives are despicable for he's out to deceive people with his words. "A worthless person, a wicked man, is the one who walks with a perverse mouth,"

The "scoundrel and villain" refer to the same person, as evidenced by the use of singular verbs in verses 12-15. "Scoundrel" (16:27; 2 Sam.16:7; 1 Kings 21:10) is literally, "man of belial," [Hebrew belyaal] someone who is worthless and wicked. Later the word belial came to be used of the devil, the most worthless, wicked person of all (2 Cor. 6:15). His life brings no true profit, for sin is not only destructive, it is also unproductive.

A scoundrel is known by his corrupt (lit. "twisted"; Prov. 2:15) or perverse mouth (4:24), or, by his false and deceptive words. Because of his ambitious corruption his life is a zero, void of God's truth, goodness, righteousness, and justice (inferred by the Hebrew word used here for wicked, wen; see 6:18; 10:29; 11:7; 12:21; 17:4; 19:28; 21:15; 22:8; 30:20; Hos. 6:8; Amos 5:5; Mic. 2:1). His speech ("mouth") betrays his crookedness. Because he works with deception or with crafty hidden motives, he cannot be trusted.


In verse 13 we learn that the scoundrel's manners are malicious also. "Who winks with his eyes, who signals with his feet, who points with his fingers;"

In order to engage others in his plot he ensnares them with signals. The idea of winking with your eyes, speaking with your feet, and teaching with your fingers infer doubletalk—saying one thing but meaning another. By body language the scoundrel's actions contradict what he says. By winking (insinuating, 10:10; 16:30; Ps. 35:19) or gesturing in some way with his eyes, feet and fingers he signals or "texts" his fellow conspirators.

The body language many imply more than shiftiness or subterfuge, though both are involved. The signs may suggest magic or witchcraft. Hexes, spells, evil eyes, harmful omens—these are part of his bag of tricks. They are also evidences of the insidious yet explosive danger of such devices. Biblical faith is dead-set against these practices not only because they give evil persons the power of fear and anxiety over their fellow citizens but especially because they want to seize control of situations from God and seek to replace Him as the director of what should be happening (Deut. 18:9–14).

Watch out for schemers. [There is no honorable way to get rich without applying ourselves because God's purpose is to develop us.]

The book of Proverbs describes people in the ancient world who used body language in an attempt to destroy others. They winked, motioned, or gave a shrug to work their slander and they felt safe in their attacks. After all, it is difficult to refute a gesture or to prove evil in a wink. Their actions were subtle, yet as deadly as bullets piercing the heart.

Slanderers are scoundrels and villains with hidden hatred in their hearts and deceit in their mouths. Some people have turned slander into a fine art. They would never use a meat cleaver to cut down another person. They are more subtle than that. They have learned to slander not only with words but with a gesture, a wink, or an evil smile.

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, "The cruelest lies are often told in silence." When someone is attack in conversation, the listeners can join the mugging with a nod.

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