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The Good Person Gets God’s Approval
Proverbs 12:2 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
2 A good man obtains favor from Jehovah,
but a man of evil devices he condemns.
In the rest of this chapter, Lady Wisdom is the speaker. She is dealing with the stupid ones (simple ones), the mockers who want nothing to do with her truths, and will scorn anyone sharing such counsel, and the foolish ones who are worse off than the stupid ones. All of these are ignorant of or ignore their spiritual needs, as they happily spend their life on a course that leads to ruination or destruction.
A good man obtains favor from Jehovah: Man is not in the Hebrew, it is literally “the good obtains favor.” Man has been added here, and others render it “the good person obtains favor” or “One who is good obtains favor.” The Lexham English Bible renders it, “the good obtains favor.” Man is supplied because good has a masculine ending and the second line has man. Good (טוֹב tob) is the moral opposite of evil. The good servant of God and imitator of him has good values, is virtuous, moral excellence, is generous with both his time and his money, merciful, shows loving-kindness, and is truthful, but he does not condone or participate in any way with badness. Here, obtaining favor (רָצוֹן ratson or רָצֹן ratson) means that one is found favorable, and acceptable in the eyes of Jehovah.
but a man of evil devices he condemns: A man of evil devices (Heb. mezimmah) refers to wicked thoughts, wicked ideas, or malicious thinking. This one is scheming to do something evil, emphasizing the person’s planning or intent (heart attitude) in his efforts to harm another. Jehovah condemns (רָשַׁע rasha) such a man for his wicked thoughts, wicked ideas, or malicious thinking. God has found him guilty of having an evil disposition, an evil heart attitude that contradicts His moral standards.
No doubt, God is very much pleased with the good one, who has good values, is virtuous, has moral excellence, is generous with his time and his money, is merciful, shows loving-kindness, and is truthful. Still, he does not condone or participate in any way with badness. A good man’s virtues include self-discipline, impartiality, humility, empathy, compassion, carefulness, and prudence. His thinking and heart attitude are righteous, what he says to others is encouraging and hopeful, and his behavior is just and beneficial to himself and others. The first 12 verses of Proverbs 12 show us how goodness needs to be a part of our everyday life and gives the reader insight into the benefits of exhibiting this distinctive attribute or characteristic. Considering these 12 verses and really the entire book of Proverbs will help us to “act wisely and do good.” (Psalm 36:3) By correctly applying what we learn, we will obtain God’s favor, that is, gain God’s approval.