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What Brings the King Delight
Proverbs 14:35 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
35 The king’s favor is toward a servant who acts wisely,
but his wrath falls on one who acts shamefully.
The king’s favor is toward a servant who acts wisely. The Hebrew noun (עֶבֶד ebed) rendered servant in this context refers to an official in the palace or a slave or minister of the king. Who acts wisely (שָׂכַל sakal) refers to one who acts or behaves in a way that demonstrates wisdom. He has insight, has gained wisdom, and understanding, is prudent, possessing skill, that is, as a result of proper training or teaching. This official in the palace or a slave or minister of the king manages or carries out his duties skillfully, ably, and competently. Favor renders a Hebrew noun (רָצוֹן ratson or רָצֹן ratson), which was first used back in 8:35 and means “goodwill,” “pleasure,” “acceptance.”
But his wrath falls on one who acts shamefully. His wrath (עֶבְרָה ebrah) refers to the king’s intense anger or fury that does not subside. Falls on (תִּהְיֶה tihyeh) is literally “will be on.” Some translate this as “punish.” One who acts shamefully (תִּהְיֶה מֵבִישׁ tihyeh mebish) is literally “one who causes shame.” Thus, what we have here is a contrast between the servant who has insight, has gained wisdom and understanding, and is prudent, possessing skill, and the inept, incapable, useless official who oversees things poorly.
Solomon, being moved along by the Holy Spirit, is here informing us what brings him delight. He will add later in Proverbs 16:13: “Righteous lips are the delight of a king, and he loves him who speaks what is right.” So, too, Jesus Christ, now ruling as king, will also be well-pleased when his servants have insight, gain biblical wisdom and understanding, are prudent, possessing skills in carrying out the great commission that he gave us, that is, making disciples. So, let us carry out the assignment that he gave all of us, having a reverential fear of displeasing the God that we love.
Insight (Heb. בִּינָה binah; שֶׂכֶל sekel or שֵׂכֶל sekel Gr. φρόνησις phronēsis) is the ability to see into a situation. It is having the capacity for rational thought, thinking, and understanding (Lk 1:17); the capacity for understanding, based on insight and wisdom. One who possesses insight acts with wisdom, caution, and discretion. Insight is closely related to understanding, but there is a fine distinction between the two terms. Says the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament: “While bin [understanding] indicates ‘distinguishing between,’ [sa·khal′] relates to an intelligent knowledge of the reason.” (R. L. Harris, 1980, Vol. 2, p. 877) Conclusion: there is the process of thinking through a complex arrangement of thoughts resulting in wise dealing and good practical common sense. Another result is the emphasis upon being successful. Insight gives a person the ability to look into something, be prudent and cautious in decision-making, act prudently, be reasonable, rational, and sensible when considering something. A person with insight can think through a complex situation, which results in a wise decision because he uses good practical common sense.