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Chapter 12 continues the major section of the Proverbs, “The proverbs of Solomon,” which starts with chapter 10 and goes through chapter 22. There is no obvious topical arrangement of the proverbs, but several subjects have been addressed more than once to this point. Chapter 12 will add some proverbs to these subjects and cover a few more.
Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.
– Proverbs 12:1
The contrast in this proverb is between love and hate. Instruction and reproof parallel, with the first meaning discipline or training and the second meaning correction, even chastisement. To acquire and grow in wisdom, we must receive correction (Proverbs 9:7-8; 13:18). Hating instruction and correction will be the last lament of the fool as he is finally brought to shame and ruin (Proverbs 5:11-13). The word for brutish means an animal like a cow. When it is used of people, it means stupidity of the highest order (Psalm 32:9; 92:6). An animal has no reasoning capacity and doesn’t know what is best for it. A person who despises the correction of wisdom is just like a brute beast.