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Contrasting the Thoughts, Speech, and Words
Proverbs 12:5 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
5 The thoughts of the righteous are just;
the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.
Verses 5-6 contrast the thoughts, speech, and words (plans and intentions) of the righteous with that of the wicked. Then, in verse 7, we have the contrast where the wicked are overthrown in defeat while the right stand firm.
The thoughts of the righteous are just: Here, we begin comparing the thinking and mindset of the righteous to that of the wicked. Genesis 6:5 and 8:21 tell us that all imperfect humans are mentally bent toward evil. The thoughts (מַחֲשָׁבָה machashabah or מַחֲשֶׁבֶת machashebeth) of the righteous are the content of reasoning and thinking the good intentions and plans. The righteous (צַדִּיק tsaddiq) refers to one who is in a righteous standing before God, who is characterized by righteous thinking, actions, and morals in accordance with God’s moral standards. These just (מִשְׁפָּט mishpat) thoughts of the righteous are free from favoritism, self-interest, bias, deception, and conforming to God’s standards.
the counsels of the wicked are deceitful: Here, the Hebrew term (תַּחְבֻּלוֹת tachbulah) rendered counsels has a similar sense to thoughts in line 1. The counsels are guidance, advice, or admonition given in order to guide. In this case, the counsels are deceitful (מִרְמָה mirmah) in that they are deliberately misleading falsehoods, causing a false view through the words or actions of the wicked one.
The very thoughts of the righteous, i.e., good people, are morally sound intentions and plans directed toward what is fair and just. The righteous person is driven by his love for God and his neighbor; therefore, his intentions and plans are good. The wicked person, on the other hand, is driven by selfishness. Consequently, his words and actions reach their objectives in that they are deceitful. The righteous person makes plans and has just intentions, while the wicked person schemes with his deceitful counsel. The thoughts make the righteous person who he is with his simple justice and righteousness because words and deeds come after or follow the thoughts. The deceitful guidance and advice, seeking to direct others (תַּחְבֻּלוֹת, comp. 11:14), are what make the wicked person who he is, as they lead others to evil.