Proverbs 11:30

[ 1 minutes to read ]

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

[T]he 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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