Proverbs 21:12

[ 1 minutes to read ]

The righteous man wisely considereth the house of the wicked: but God overthroweth the wicked for their wickedness.
– Proverbs 21:12

[T]he wording of this proverb is difficult. I understand there is no change in subject between the first and second phrase in the Hebrew. The righteous one in the first phrase performs both actions—considereth and overthroweth. The most natural reading takes God, Yahweh, to be the righteous one. If so, this is the only place in Proverbs where the term is used of God. Does the meaning of the proverb justify this?

The word for considereth means to look at, or give attention to. The house of the wicked likely refers to the wicked’s prosperity. Wisdom points out the temporary prosperity of the wicked is unenviable (Proverbs 24:19-20). The word for overthroweth means ruin. The second phrase points to ultimate justice for the wicked, where their own wickedness destroys them (Proverbs 11:3-5; 13:6; 14:32). Proverbs is clear that God is the one who sees and judges the wicked (Proverbs 5:21; 15:3; 16:2). This meaning is clear in a similar proverb in Proverbs 22:12. The natural and consistent meaning takes the righteous one to be God who sees and metes out final justice.

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