August 12th 2018 – Proverbs 20:6-12

Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love,
    but a faithful man who can find?
The righteous who walks in his integrity—
    blessed are his children after him!
A king who sits on the throne of judgement
    winnows all evil with his eyes.
Who can say, “I have made my heart pure;
    I am clean from my sin”?
Unequal weights and unequal measures
    are both alike an abomination to the Lord.
Even a child makes himself known by his acts,
    by whether his conduct is pure and upright.
The hearing ear and the seeing eye,
    the Lord has made them both.

Proverbs 20:6-12

These verses are linked together by the common theme of rectitude and integrity of life. In 6, the contrast is between profession of loyalty and reality (cf Note on 19:22). The man of integrity (7), who is really just and faithful, will manifest that integrity in his daily walk, not by the declarations of his lips. This, as 7b implies, is the true pattern for family life. No one is perfect, but though a man be not perfect, he can be true, and with truth shining through, even in his confession of his mistakes and failures, the message gets home. The integrity has an entail with it, and carries through to the next generation. 'Scattereth' in 8 is rendered 'winnows' in RSV, and the meaning is that the discerning eye of the ruler can sift the chaff from the wheat in those that surround him. Modern politics give some glaring examples of the consequences of failure to do so. All attainment (9) in the areas of either 7 or 8 is approximate; all men fail and fall short, and those who are most concerned for integrity are often most conscious of how far short of it they have fallen. The theme in 10 is lack of integrity in business life. For a full comment on the theme, see Note on 11:1 (Sat. 20th October). In 11, an alternative translation reads 'Even in his play, a child makes himself known', but the AV sense is equally good. Whether in children or in adults, actions are a fair index of character. It is interesting to note that a child's character is as much of concern to God as an adult's. 'Hearing' in 12 is equivalent to 'obedient' and 'seeing' to 'understanding'. Both are the gift of God's grace and God's work in the soul.