The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.
– Proverbs 20:27
The wording of this proverb is difficult and interpretations vary. The word for candle means to glisten, and so means a lamp or light. The word for belly means hollow, or the abdomen. It can be used more figuratively to speak of the body, or simply the inner parts. The image of the proverb is light searching out the inner parts and hidden recesses by shining light in the dark places. The image corresponds to Proverbs 18:4 & 20:5, where hidden things are understood by wisdom. The “inward parts of the belly” is identified elsewhere as a covert place of evil within, requiring stripes to expunge it (Proverbs 20:30). This proverb complements the other by showing wisdom to be an effective alternative to stripes. A man of understanding fears the Lord, has wisdom, and can see within himself what a fool cannot (Proverbs 3:7; 12:15; 16:2; 21:2; 30:12).