Proverbs 16:2

[ 1 minutes to read ]

All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.
– Proverbs 16:2

[T]he word for clean means pure and could be used to refer to something undiluted or without admixture. The first phrase means that a man’s motives and objectives for his ways are reasonable and justifiable to him (Proverbs 21:2). This statement is a wisdom observation and general truth. It doesn’t have the negative tinge as in the similar, Proverbs 30:12. The contrast in the second is Yahweh weigheth, evaluates as in a balance, the spirits. This phrase refers to the sovereignty and omniscience of God to see and judge truly the hearts, or minds, of men (Proverbs 5:21; 24:12). He is a righteous and objective judge of motives, as is meant by spirits as a figure, because they are unseen and intangible. God sees and judges what man cannot.

The point of this proverb is to give us wisdom to know our self-knowledge and self-evaluation are both incompetent. A man is not capable of properly evaluating his own heart (1 John 3:20; 1 Corinthians 4:1-5). For this reason, we trust God’s judgments (Psalm 19:9) and seek wise counselors among men, because only fools follow their own hearts (Proverbs 12:15).

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