Proverbs 2:22

But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.
– Proverbs 2:22

Chapter 2 closes with drawing attention to the two ways. One way is a way of wisdom and of life. The other is the way of folly and of death. This verse continues the reference to Israel and the law. Just as the righteous will inherit the promises, the wicked will be cut off from the inheritance of Israel. More generally here, it is that the wicked and transgressors will be cut off from the blessings and promises of wisdom. They will not enter into life. Wicked means a guilty person and is sometimes translated ungodly. Transgressor means someone unfaithful or treacherous. It relates to interpersonal relations and points to a person who deals deceitfully. The result is the same for both—no part in the life to come.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 2:21

For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it.
– Proverbs 2:21

Wisdom literature is the application of God’s law on a personal and individual level. Dwelling in the land and remaining in the land hearken back to the blessings for Israel (Deuteronomy 11:8). Passages such as Leviticus 26 enumerate blessings and cursings for Israel. If they walk in God’s way, they inherit the blessings. If they forsake God’s way, they inherit the curses. It is here more generally for the obtaining of the blessings through wisdom. Of course, wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 1:7), includes repentance (Proverbs 1:23), and continues in God’s way (Proverbs 1:33). This verse gives consequence for walking in “the way of good men” and keeping “the paths of the righteous.”

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 2:20

That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous.
– Proverbs 2:20

Verses 20-22 provide a summary conclusion of what has gone before. This verse ties back to the earlier verses about seeking wisdom and the rewards when we find it. Beginning in verse 12, we are told what wisdom keeps us from and here what wisdom keeps us to. Rather than going in the various ways of evil men and strange women, wisdom puts us in the way of good men and the paths of the righteous. Solomon will have more to say about companions explicitly, but we have already seen enough to know who our companions are is important.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 2:19

None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life.
– Proverbs 2:19

Solomon still speaks of the strange woman and gives a sober warning. Solomon elsewhere described the strange woman as “snares and nets, and her hands as bands” (Ecclesiastes 7:26). She is entrapping and enslaving. Those who give themselves over to her are not recovered in one way and rarely recovered in another. They are not recovered in the sense of the damage they do to themselves and their families (1 Corinthians 6:18; Proverbs 6:26-33). They are not recovered if they continue in sin without repenting and forsaking their fornication and adulteries.

They are rarely recovered in the sense that some through repentance and faith are changed and pursue holiness. Remember the warning in the context is that wisdom will keep us from entering into those sins. The warning is designed to keep us from going that way. The difficulty of being recovered should keep us from going there. Whoredom is a trap (Proverbs 23:27). Those who pursue it are devoid of understanding (Proverbs 6:32) and even good sense (Romans 1:28). Their minds are darkened and their consciences hardened (Ephesians 4:18-19).

Solomon will go on to give further instruction but much of it has to do with avoiding the strange woman altogether (Proverbs 4:14-15; 5:8; 6:5, 25; 7:25). Paul would say, “Flee” (1 Corinthians 6:18; 2 Timothy 2:22). Likewise, Jesus warned of the sin by the eyes (Matthew 5:28)—lingering looks, second and third glances, staring at flickering screens, carrying images in our minds of those we frequently see. Jesus immediately after said it would be better to be blind and go to heaven than to have 20/20 vision we used to fuel lusts and go to hell. War presses daily on the eye-gate and we have to give our life defending it.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 2:18

For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead.
– Proverbs 2:18

The way of the strange woman ends in destruction. The underlying Hebrew in this verse presents difficulties for interpreters, but the overall point is that the way of the strange woman is the way of death. Inclineth means to sink down. Her house and her path go down to death and the dead. The word for dead here indicates the shades of the departed or spirits of the dead. That is the company to be joined by going into her house (Proverbs 9:18). To go her way is to choose death and give up life.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 2:17

Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God.
– Proverbs 2:17

Solomon describes the character of the strange woman. She is pictured as being unreliable and unfaithful. She forsakes and forgets her commitments of life. The word for guide is sometimes translated as friend. It means a close intimate friend and here, “guide of her youth” refers to her husband. She is well painted as an adulterous. The covenant mentioned refers to the covenant of the law, which forbade adultery (Exodus 20:14) and the lust that leads to it (Exodus 20:17). She is a woman of hard conscience, willing and ready to pursue her lusts wherever they may lead.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 2:16

To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words;
– Proverbs 2:16

Solomon here introduces the “strange woman,” of whom he has much more to say in chapters 5-7. The word for strange means foreign and refers to the pagan women of the nations outside of Israel. Through usage the term came to refer to any loose, immoral, and adulterous woman. Solomon will go on to sketch her character and her ways more fully. Mention of her is accompanied with appropriate warning. The strange woman represents a second kind of danger for fools lacking wisdom and is a complement to the evil man previously mentioned.

The strange woman has a prominent role in Proverbs as she is set as the anti-wisdom, or the opposite of lady wisdom. Wisdom will protect from and deliver from this dangerous adulterous. She flatters with her words, meaning she uses smooth speech to persuade the simple to go with her. Her smooth speech is appealing and designed to ignite passion in the man she seeks to ensnare. So she is a manipulator as well, using all her wiles to take her prey.

The strange woman is also contrasted with the virtuous woman of chapter 31. Strange women are presented as being plenteous and seemingly everywhere present. The virtuous woman is immediately described as being hard to find, but imminently valuable when found. Solomon knew by bitter experience the difference between the two and gave impassioned warnings against the strange woman.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 2:15

Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths:
– Proverbs 2:15

Solomon continues describing the way of the evil man. Crooked means twisted or distorted. Froward means to depart. In their twisted way, they depart from the path and way of wisdom. Wisdom works not only to keep us from the crooked way but from the evil man that goes in the crooked way as well.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 2:14

Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked;
– Proverbs 2:14

The way of the evil man is a rejoicing to do evil. He delights in it and finds pleasure in the wrongs done. This rejoicing may cover a wide range from sadistic pleasure all the way to the foolish pleasure of a hardened conscience. He finds no joy in the truth and no pleasure in the divine wisdom. He delights in doing evil and in the perversity of others. Frowardness is a perversity or a corrupting of good. When he finds so much amusement in his evil way, it is no wonder that he sells his way to others as a path to happiness and fun. Again, wisdom will keep us from this wicked way.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Next Page »