Proverbs 22:5

Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.
– Proverbs 22:5

The word for froward means crooked, perverse, and false. It describes a way bent away from the way of wisdom. The froward are described as speaking froward things, walking in dark ways, rejoicing to do evil, and taking pleasure in the frowardness of others (Proverbs 2:12-15; 19:1). They are described as having a froward mind, which speaks of the crookedness of their inmost being (Proverbs 11:20; 17:20). They also sometimes enjoy abundant fruit from their crooked activities (Proverbs 28:6). Despite the appearance of profit, the way of frowardness is fraught with pitfalls and ends in destruction (Proverbs 13:3, 15; 15:19; 19:16).

Wisdom contrasts the froward with the one who hedges, or guards his soul. Keeping means to guard the way of your life (Proverbs 16:17), and the commandments of wisdom (Proverbs 19:16). Just like the prudent man who takes refuge from danger (Proverbs 22:3), the soul keeper walks in security from the pitfalls of frowardness.

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Proverbs 21:8

The way of man is froward and strange: but as for the pure, his work is right.
– Proverbs 21:8

The word for froward means crooked, or perverse. The word for strange means guilty. The first phrase means the guilty man goes in a crooked way. The same idea is expressed of the evil man in Proverbs 2:15. The word for pure means clean, or righteous. The word for right means straight, or upright. The contrast is obvious. The guilty walk a crooked way while the innocent walk a straight path. The purpose of the proverb is to teach wisdom and discernment. Wisdom here teaches a tree is known by its fruits.

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Proverbs 17:20

He that hath a froward heart findeth no good: and he that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief.
– Proverbs 17:20

The wicked are described as having a froward heart (Proverbs 3:32; 6:12-15; 11:20). This means a perverse mind, bent toward folly and away from wisdom. All their plans are plans of wickedness and abominations before the Lord. The wicked are also described as having a perverse tongue (Proverbs 8:13; 10:10; 18:6-7). The word for perverse means to turn about or over. This refers to a false tongue, saying one thing and doing another. One who thinks and talks this way cannot expect to find good and can expect to find mischief, or evil (Proverbs 10:31; 13:17).

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Proverbs 16:30

He shutteth his eyes to devise froward things: moving his lips he bringeht evil to pass.
– Proverbs 16:30

Verses 27-30 are a group of proverbs about trouble makers. This proverb ends the group. Reference to eyes and lips means facial expressions or gestures. These gestures either serve to deceive or to convey some malignant purpose (Proverbs 6:13-14; 10:10). If connected with enticement in the previous proverb, he is masking the evil of his way and persuading his neighbor.

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Proverbs 16:28

A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.
– Proverbs 16:28

The word for froward means perverse, or fraudulent. The use of soweth means to broadcast or spread, as a sower does with his seed. The perverse man spreads around strife, or contention (Proverbs 6:14, 19; 15:18). A whisperer is a gossip, talebearer, or slanderer. The sowing of strife and spreading of slander causes a rift between even chief friends. Those who are close with a good relationship can be separated by strife and contention. The proverb focuses on the damage done by sowing strife and whispering (Proverbs 17:9; 18:8).

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Proverbs 11:20

They that are of a froward heart are abomination to the LORD: but such as are upright in their way are his delight.
– Proverbs 11:20

The word for froward is common in the Proverbs and means twisted, or perverse. I like to think of it as bent, as in bending away from wisdom. A perverse or twisted heart is abhorrent to God and the line suggests they invite his judgment upon them. By contrast, the upright walk according to wisdom and are his delight. Therefore, they invite his pleasure and blessing upon them (Psalm 18:25-26; 11:7; 140:13).

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Proverbs 10:32

The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh forwardness.
– Proverbs 10:32

The word for acceptable means delightful and pleasant. The words of the righteous are fitting words (Proverbs 15:23; 25:11). There is beauty in them and these come from a well of wisdom (Matthew 13:52). The words of the wicked are presented in contrast. They are not few, well-chosen, nor beautiful (Proverbs 15:2, 28). They only speak frowardness, which is twistedness or perversity.

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Proverbs 10:31

The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the froward tongue shall be cut out.
– Proverbs 10:31

To bring forth is literally to germinate or bear fruit. It is also put figuratively for speech as the idea that words are the fruit produced. A just man will bear the fruit of wisdom in his speech (Psalm 37:30). The froward tongue is contrasted. The word indicates something twisted, crooked, or otherwise perverse. Wicked prattling will ultimately be stopped (Psalm 31:18). The cutting out promised in the proverb puts one in mind of a bad tree with bad fruit being cut down and burned up.

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Proverbs 8:13

The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.
– Proverbs 8:13

Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but also the middle and end of it. Such proper fear is never outgrown nor gotten past. True wisdom does not only avoid a bad way, but hates it as twice stated here. Pride and arrogancy speak of the puffing up of man that thinks himself wise. The evil way is the road or path that is put for the way of life of the evil man. A froward mouth is a speaking of perverse things and not wise things. This perverse speech displays the inner void of wisdom and inner corruption of the fool (Luke 6:45). In the previous verse, wisdom expressed her true companions and here her true antagonists.

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