Proverbs 6:17

A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
– Proverbs 6:17

A proud, or high, look speaks of having high thoughts of oneself. The evil man winks with eyes (Proverbs 6:13), with thoughts of superiority. Pride is antithetical to wisdom-engendered humility and God hates it. A lying tongue is a deception or fraud. The evil man has a froward, or a perverse, mouth (Proverbs 6:12). Such speech is used to cheat and beguile people into sin and to exonerate oneself unjustly. Hands shedding innocent blood refers directly to murder, though there is guilt enough in complicity to murder indirectly. Jesus said that hating your brother without cause also violated the law commanding us to not kill (Matthew 5:21-22). The evil man also employs his fingers to the hurt of others (Proverbs 6:13).

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Proverbs 6:16

These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
– Proverbs 6:16

Verses 16-19 roundly condemn the wicked man from the previous section. Each sin enumerated corresponds to his description in verses 12-15. Solomon uses a particular arrangement for this list. The form is to list a number of things and plus one. This form is used elsewhere in Proverbs (Proverbs 30:15, 18, 21) and other books (Job 5:19; Ecclesiastes 11:2; etc.). This framework is used to show the last item as being the best or worst of the group. The plus one formula also shows the list is not exhaustive. In this case, these are not the only things God hates.

Yahweh hates the first six things. The seventh is an abomination, or abhorrent. The expressions of these sins means that God is completely separate from these sins and therefore they have no place in the wisdom that is from above. This also points to the fact that those who walk in these will not stand before God, but meet with his judgment against them.

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Proverbs 6:15

Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy.
– Proverbs 6:15

The word for calamity refers to coming under a weight or burden and so refers to destruction or ruin. Being broken refers to being crushed liked a clay pot is smashed to pieces when struck. Both are said to be sudden. Suddenly refers to a moment in time and indicates a surprise. The wicked man progresses along and does not think his destruction is around the corner. Both are pictures of irreparable damage. The verse means they shall come to their end without remedy or healing.

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Proverbs 6:14

Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord.
– Proverbs 6:14

Frowardness is perversity and occupies the mind of the wicked man. All his thoughts are affected by it. To devise is to plan or design. Mischief is evil or adversity to others. So he continually plots and contrives evil to other, whether to gain advantage or simply to work destruction. Discord is strife and contention. This he sows as a man liberally scatters seed in a field. In the perversity of his mind, he would rather people be at odds than in harmony. The implication also is that he sows discord to his own advantage in some way.

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Proverbs 6:13

He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers;
– Proverbs 6:13

This verse refers to different physical gestures employed by the wicked man. The precise meaning or description of each gesture is not important, but rather that they are used to deceive. Such gestures are a part of his salesmanship, whether he is extorting or coercing. The previous verse referenced his forward mouth and the next his devised mischief. The whole picture of the wicked man is one who continually seeks to lead others astray and take advantage of them one or another.

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Proverbs 6:12

A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a forward mouth.
– Proverbs 6:12

Verses 12-15 warn against the third folly, the worthless and wicked man. A naughty person is literally a man of Belial. Such a term always involved wickedness, worthlessness, and destructiveness. Belial came to be a term for Satan and a man or son of Belial was any who had such qualities. Wicked has the thought of trouble or a trouble-maker. Froward means perverse or crooked. Such a man’s talk is bent away from wisdom and God’s law. He is not doing or proposing anything of value or good, but rather trouble and vanity.

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Proverbs 6:11

So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.
– Proverbs 6:11

This section on the folly of sloth ends with the consequences of sloth and sleep. Solomon uses two figures to illustrate. There is variance as to the precise meaning of the two terms, but the lesson is obvious enough. The highwayman and the armed man come on suddenly and rob completely. Indulging sloth and ease causes one to awake one day to loss and waste. Solomon elsewhere warns that neglect of work leads to ruin (Ecclesiastes 10:18). From one perspective, the house doesn’t drop through at once but slowly over time. But the sluggard sleeps and loses time so that the roof cave-in seems sudden.

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Proverbs 6:10

Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
– Proverbs 6:10

This is the refrain of the sluggard hinged to his bed. He always needs a little more sleep, a little more rest. This is a part of his putting off his work until a more convenient time. The sluggard is always awaiting the perfect conditions to work. Solomon reinforces in Ecclesiastes 11:1-6 that we are rarely have ideal conditions to work in. We must accomplish something and we don’t have all the time we would like. We don’t have the perfect tools. We don’t have the best weather and so on. Wisdom knows that we must work while it is today and if we await ideal conditions, we will go hungry (Proverbs 20:4; Ecclesiastes 11:4).

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Proverbs 6:9

How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? When wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?
– Proverbs 6:9

Verses 9-11 press the application from the ant lessons. Solomon gives an aggressive rebuke to arouse the slothful sleeper. The sluggard loves sleep, rest, comfort, and ease. Solomon says he is hinged to his bed like a door to a frame (Proverbs 26:14). There is a proper time for rest and sleep, but also for work. The slothful always have a reason (Proverbs 26:16), but the point is that it is time they should be up and at work. The implication of the passage is that the sluggard is slow to start and that is one of the marks of sloth in Proverbs.

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