posted on Mar, 8 2019 @ 05:06 PM
The collector of the Old Testament Proverbs makes his purpose clear from the beginning.
“That men may know wisdom and instruction, understand words of insight” (ch1 v2).
Then he further defines this wisdom as “fear of the Lord” (v7). This phrase, when used in the Bible, means respect and willingness to obey.
I’m studying the different characters of Proverbs, as one way of organising and understanding the teaching.
The man who lives by this Wisdom is called a Righteous Man.
“He who walks in uprightness fears the Lord” (ch14 v2).
This means that he necessarily “turns away from evil” (ch12 v26).
This righteousness begins in the mind;
“The thoughts of the righteous are just” (ch12 v5).
It continues in his speech;
“The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom…
The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable” (ch10 vv31-32).
That is why “ the tongue of the righteous is choice silver” and “the lips of the righteous feed many” (ch10 vv20-21).
The righteous man loves to see justice in action;
“When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous, but a dismay to evildoers” (ch21 v15).
The other side of the coin is that he “hates falsehood” (ch13 v5).
“A righteous man knows the rights of the poor” (ch29 v7).
His nature is to be generous to others;
“The righteous gives and does not hold back” (ch21 v26).
Indeed he has regard even “for the life of his beast” (ch12 v10).
The righteous man is not taken captive by sin;
“The righteousness of the blameless keeps his way straight” and consequently “the righteousness of the upright delivers them”-(ch11 vv5-6).
“An evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, but the righteous escapes from trouble” (ch12 v13).
He escapes from trouble because the Lord protects him;
“The Lord is a stronghold to him whose way is upright” (ch10 v29).
“The righteous man falls seven times and rises again” (ch24 v16).
“The desire of the righteous will be granted” (ch10 v24), “the Lord does not let the righteous go hungry” (ch10 v3), and no ill befalls him
In short, it can be said that “Blessings are on the head of the righteous” (ch10 v6).
His righteousness does not benefit himself alone.
While the wicked man wants to kill, the righteous man wants to give life;
“The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, but the mouth of the upright delivers men” (ch12 v6).
If he saves lives through his words, that must be the effect of his teaching.
That is, he persuades them to join him in fearing the Lord.
That is why “when all goes well with the righteous the city rejoices”, because “by the blessing of the upright a city is exalted” (ch11
The real key to all this blessing is the security from judgement;
“He who walks in integrity walks securely” (ch10 v9).
For this reason; “Be assured, an evil man will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will be delivered” (ch11 v21).
When the day of wrath comes, it will be found that “riches do not profit”, and only righteousness “delivers from death” (ch11 v4).
We are told that “The fear of the Lord prolongs life” (ch10 v27), which is the obvious consequence of the fact that the righteous man escapes
And again, “He who is steadfast in righteousness will live, but he who pursues evil will die” (ch11 v19).
This is the “sure reward” which belongs to the man who sows righteousness (ch11 v18).
But this life does not come to an end.
Thus “when the tempest [of judgement] passes, the wicked is no more, but the righteous is established for ever” (ch10 v25).
While the wicked will not dwell in the land, “the righteous will never be removed”.
This is as close as the Old Testament tends to get to the difference between having and not having eternal life.
In fact “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,” (ch11 v30).
The truly righteous man, by “fearing the Lord”, is able to restore the Tree of Life which was lost through disobedience.