Proverbs 2:12

To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things;

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Wisdom, knowledge, discretion, and understanding provide the precious ability to identify evil men and avoid them. Knowing the way of truth clearly and the danger of friendship with fools, a wise man is saved from their destructive lifestyle and seductive efforts. These evil men often expose themselves by a froward, or perverse, mouth.

This proverb is in the middle of a long sentence (Pr 2:10-17). Solomon first described getting wisdom, knowledge, discretion, and understanding (Pr 2:10-11). These produce the benefit of avoiding evil men (Pr 2:12), who have wicked character and conduct (Pr 2:13-15). He then described a further benefit of avoiding whorish women (Pr 2:16-17).

Mankind exists in two categories. There are the sons of God and the sons of the devil. The one have new hearts with life and light; the other have hearts black and dark as hell. There are wise men, and there are fools. There are good men and evil men. There are noble men and base men. There are the elect and the reprobates. There are born again men and twice dead men. The line is drawn. Personal discrimination is holy and right.

The evil man often gives himself away by his perverse mouth. He contradicts himself, disdains holy things, criticizes authority, belittles others, commends himself, presumes he is right, promotes vanity, and mocks convention. He is difficult to please, unreasonable, ungovernable, disobedient, untrustworthy, and wicked. He can be obnoxious and profane.

A wise man can discern and identify evil men. He knows their coming judgment, both natural and spiritual, so he rejects them (Ps 1:1-6). He can see through their pompous words and schemes. He laughs at their vain projects. He marks them and avoids them (Pr 14:7; Rom 16:17-18). He chose the way of understanding for his life, so he encounters few of them, since he is seldom in the same places or doing the same things with them.

David’s three nephews by his sister Zeruiah served him devotedly for many years, but he wisely perceived their evil hearts in their dealings with others. He drew a wise and holy difference between himself and them. He said, “These men the sons of Zeruiah be too hard for me: the LORD shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness” (II Sam 3:39). And on his deathbed, he told Solomon to kill Joab, the greatest of them.

As David wisely chose to keep his house free of evil men (Ps 101:1-8; 119:63), so the Son of David also discerned what was in man and kept Himself from them (Jn 2:23-25), rebuked them (Matt 22:15-26), and condemned them (Matt 23:13-36). Follow His holy and helpful example by learning wisdom and understanding to avoid such men yourself.