Proverbs 29:25

The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.
– Proverbs 29:25

Fearing man is contrasted with trusting the Lord in this saying. The snare is a picturesque word from the hunting and trapping of birds or small game. The wicked and the fool are taken in snares (Proverbs 12:13; 18:7) but wisdom and fear of the Lord delivers from snares (Proverbs 13:14; 14:27). Fear of man seems safe but is a trap.

The word for trust means to take refuge and when Yahweh is the refuge, it typically indicates a covenantal relationship (Psalms 4:5; 9:10; 13:5; Proverbs 3:5). The refuge motif continues with the word for safe. It means a high place, or lofty place, and indicates security like being in a high, unassailable tower. The word is also used commonly for the protection of Yahweh’s covenant for all who trust in him (Psalms 20:1; Proverbs 18:10).

Proverbs 14:16

A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.
– Proverbs 14:16

Proper fear marks a wise man. Through wisdom and fear he identifies evil and departs from it to go in the way that is upright (Proverbs 22:3; 3:7; 16:6, 17). The contrasted mark of the fool is confidence. He is overconfident in his own wisdom and way (Proverbs 26:12; 14:12), so he rageth, or passes on his determined way despite warnings or counsel (Proverbs 7:22).

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Proverbs 3:25

Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh.
– Proverbs 3:25

Verses 23 and 24 highlight wisdom in the normal course of life—the cycle of walking and sleeping. Sudden fear describes calamities that come unlooked for. Walking in wisdom, we need not fear the unexpected. Wisdom is in all of life, not only the normal. The desolation of the wicked is the end of folly (Proverbs 1:27). Those who walk in wisdom and lie down in wisdom need not fear coming to the same end as the fool.

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Proverbs 3:7

Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
– Proverbs 3:7

Solomon gives three directions to walking in wisdom. Being wise in your own eyes is to be resistant to correction and instruction (Proverbs 9:7-8; 13:1; 15:12; 26:12). It is a mark of a fool and of pride. So, first, Solomon teaches we must be humble to receive wisdom. We must confess we lack wisdom and seek it. Positively, he says to fear the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7) and brings us to life (Proverbs 14:27). Lastly, he admonishes to turn back from working mischief. He counters our natural bent on all three points. Our natural inclinations are to think ourselves wise, not regard the Lord, and to go after evil. Walking in wisdom is counter to all three.

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