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Integrity Guides the Upright
Proverbs 11:3 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
3 The integrity of the upright guides them,
but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.
Verses 3-8 of Proverbs chapter 11 contain the same broad theme of what happens in the life of the righteous one and the wicked one.
The integrity of the upright guides them: The Hebrew word (תֻּמָּה tummah) rendered integrity has the meaning of purity, innocence, completeness, respectability, spotless character, with the sense of blamelessness, a state of innocence. One whose person and character are morally good, having no real guilt or sin. The upright (יָשָׁר yashar) person is one whose behavior is morally innocent and proper according to God’s Word. The integrity guides (נָחָה nachah); that is, it is the authority or charge to lead and direct the life movements or choices of the upright one.
but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them: The Hebrew word rendered crookedness (סֶלֶף seleph) is deviousness, duplicitous, deceitful, and underhanded. The wicked one deals in falsehoods and has no integrity about himself. The treacherous person (בָּגַד bagad) cannot be trusted as he will do someone wrong as he is not faithful to any authority nor following any kind of moral standard. He is not reliable. This will destroy (שֹׁד shod) him in the end. In other words, his way of life, prospering at the expense of others, will be his undoing, devastating, ruining him.
Solomon recognized that integrity does not always protect the upright from danger or calamity. Nevertheless, integrity undeniably guides the upright in their efforts to live a life that is right in the eyes of God, even under the most challenging circumstances, bringing the upright one benefits that the unbeliever may not have. The treacherous one may feel like he is having successes in life and does not really care that it comes at the expense of others, seemingly prospering. However, even he has a sense that in the end, his deviousness, duplicitous, deceitful, and underhanded life will destroy him.
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