Proverbs 27:12

Foreseeing Evil


1. This proverb is nearly a word for word repetition of Proverbs 22:3.

2. Actually, the vs.13 is also a repetition of Proverbs 20:16.

3. Evidently, God felt that these truths were worth repeating.

12 A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.

A. The Prudent Man

1. Prudent defined: Cunning and crafty; or shrewd and sensible.

2. The term can be used in either a positive or negative sense (crafty). Here it is obviously positive – in the sense of a wise, sensible person.

3. The book of Proverbs has had many positive things to say about the prudent man.

a. He takes no offense at an insult (Prov. 12:16).

b. He does not flaunt his knowledge (Prov. 12:23).

c. He takes careful thought of his ways (Prov. 14:8).

d. He takes careful thought before action (Prov. 14:15).

e. He is crowned with knowledge (Prov. 14:18).

4. And in our present passage we learn that the prudent man sees danger and avoids it (Prov. 22:3; 27:12).

B. Foreseeing Evil

1. Evil defined:

a. That which is ethically and morally bad.

b. Adversity; affliction; calamity; grief; harm; trouble; distress; misery; injury.

c. Solomon may have been using the term in its broad meaning.

2. Foresee defined:

a. To have sight of; to have vision; to perceive; to consider; to discern.

3. Foreseeing evil is another way of stating that evil is predictable.

a. This is not always the case, but it occurs often enough to be considered proverbial.

b. Much of the trouble that comes our way is able to be seen ahead of time.

c. A prudent man will see it coming.

d. Sure, sometimes, it hits us blindside and we could not see it coming. That happens.

e. But most of the trouble in the world is very predictable.

4. The prudent man has the capacity to FORESEE the evil.

a. He can predict that trouble is coming.

b. He has the insight to see it coming.

c. He has discernment and the ability to sense when something is not right… when danger is ahead…

d. The prudent man senses the evil on the horizon.

e. Little red flags pop up in his head when something doesn’t sound right.

f. He has a healthy dose of sanctified skepticism.

5. He can foresee “the evil” on the horizon.

a. He doesn’t fall for the email that promises him that a billionaire in Pakistan chose him to be the heir of his millions of dollars… but he needs a $500.00 deposit to secure it for him. He sees the evil intentions behind it.

b. A prudent man can see right through the façade of the advertisements for alcohol which imply that if you drink Budweiser, you too will be at the fabulous parties with gorgeous women and life will be non-stop fun! He can see through that to the evil that is the REAL end result of alcohol: divorce; fatherless children; destroyed livers; Skid Row; prison. He looks beyond the immediate façade to foresee the evil.

c. A prudent young person should be able to discern when a group of kids is trouble or not. You can sense, that with a certain group of kids, you just know that trouble is right around the corner. You can tell by what they talk about; by what they say they have done in the past; by what they think is funny; their attitude towards life; towards spiritual things.

d. A prudent man ought to be able to foresee trouble ahead for those who go online to watch pornography; or to chat and flirt with women online. You know where that leads. A prudent man will foresee the calamity that lies head.

e. This principle is just as valid in something as commonplace as driving in the snow. A prudent man will realize that the roads are slippery and will foresee the potential for calamity.

f. There is no end to all the possible applications for this principle.

g. The prudent man will FORESEE. But he doesn’t stop there.

C. Hideth Himself

1. Hideth defined: Absent; conceal; shield; to protect.

2. There are many times when both the prudent man AND the fool will have the foresight to see evil coming.

a. They both recognize that danger lies ahead.

b. They are both aware of the potential for a calamity or trouble.

c. But it’s not just having the foresight to see the evil ahead.

d. True wisdom doesn’t just know; it acts.

e. The fool might sense that danger lies ahead. He knows that trouble is around the corner just like the prudent man.

3. The difference is that prudent man not only KNOWS that evil is approaching. The prudent man HIDES himself from it.

a. He absents himself. He gets out of the way.

b. The prudent man sees trouble coming and acts so as to avoid it.

c. The fool often sees trouble coming too; but he walks right straight into it! He doesn’t hide.

d. Remember that wisdom in the book of proverbs is not merely intellectual. It is not just of the head.

e. Wisdom in proverbs it is primarily a matter of the heart.

f. There is a moral element to it.

g. The prudent sees evil and hides himself in the presence of the Lord.

h. Psalm 18:10 – “The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” He runs to the Lord and hides in the strong tower for safety.

i. A smart person will see trouble coming. A wise person will see trouble coming too… and get out of the way.

j. A person who is smart and perceptive is not necessarily wise and moral.

k. A lot of intelligent people know the dangers of alcohol & drugs, but use them anyway! They foresee the evil, but they don’t hide themselves from it.

l. A lot of intelligent people know the dangers of gambling. It has trouble written all over it! But they dive right in anyway.

m. They may be intelligent and perceptive; but not prudent, wise, and moral. If they were, they would have hidden themselves from those dangers.