Proverbs 12:12

The wicked desireth the net of evil men: but the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit.
– Proverbs 12:12

The interpretations of this proverb are various. There is actually a double contrast in this proverb. The net of evil men is contrasted with the root of the righteous and the desire of the wicked is contrasted with the yield of the righteous. The net of evil men is the plans and means of evil men to capture, or make a quick gain. The root is something that must be planted in the ground, fed, and kept. It grows and over time yields a produce. One seeks a big gain all at once through some ill stratagem and the other sees ahead and patiently waits for the honest gain of borne fruit. The word for desireth means to delight in or take pleasure in. The wicked’s desire is to grasp and get by whatever means, and the quicker the better. The word for yieldeth means to give. The wisdom of the righteous teaches them to desire to bless others and not only seek their own gain.

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Proverbs 11:30

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.
– Proverbs 11:30

The first phrase employs the tree of life metaphor. Fruit is something that is produced. The produce of the righteous is life-giving and nourishing to people. When taken with the second phrase, we know this is not coincidental. The righteous aim at doing good to others. The second phrase states that the wise win souls. The word for winneth is used over 900 times in the Old Testament and can be used in a variety of ways. It means to take in the sense of take hold of or grasp. It is also used to mean to receive or accept something. It can be used to describe taking or capturing men as in conquest. It can also mean to capture in terms of thought or persuasion. The word is used 19 times in Proverbs.

• The most common use is in the sense of taking hold of wise instruction (Proverbs 1:3; 2:1; 4:10; 8:10; 10:8; 21:11; 24:32).
• The second most common use is in the sense of taking or acquiring an object or possession (Proverbs 7:20; 20:16; 22:27; 27:13; 31:16).
• The third use describes the taking of life by the wicked (Proverbs 1:19; 24:11).
• The fourth usage refers to receiving shame or a snare (Proverbs 9:7; 22:25).
• The fifth use of the term described the strange woman taking her victims (Proverbs 6:25).
• The sixth use is in the sense of taking a bribe to pervert justice (Proverbs 17:23).
• That leaves the last usage, which is in our text (Proverbs 11:30).

It’s obvious the usage in this proverb is akin to the most common use of the word, which describes the receiving of wisdom. The use is simply inverted here. Rather than commanding or commending the receiving of wisdom, the word is describing the wise one who wins people to wisdom. The point of both phrases together is that the wise, those who have truly received wisdom, will seek to guide others into wisdom.

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