Proverbs 2:12-15

The Evil Man Described


1. The author has been speaking about the merits and benefits of wisdom… (vs.11) It preserves and keeps you safe.

2. Now Solomon mentions two specific examples of protection afforded by wisdom: it delivers thee from the evil man (vs.12-15) and the strange woman. (vs.16-19)


A.) He Speaks Froward Things

1. Discretion will PRESERVE a godly man from the ungodly man…

2. It will also preserve the godly man or woman from the TROUBLE that comes from speaking froward things.

3. Solomon’s point is that evil men speak froward things (perverse; evil)

a. Prov. 3:32 – the froward man is an abomination to the Lord!

b. Prov. 6:12 – frowardness is in his mouth because it is also in his heart! (6:14)

4. As a result of the evil things they say, much trouble arises… conflict… hurt… fightings…

a. 140:3 – evil men use their tongues like arrows to pierce others.

b. The psalmist prays that God would not allow an evil speaker to be established on the earth. He knows what grief and trouble comes because of his evil speaking!
• Prov. 11:11 – whole cities (churches!) are overthrown by the mouth of the wicked!
• Untold damage is done when men use their tongues for evil purposes.
• Friendships are broken. Church fellowship is destroyed.
• This kind of damage COULD happen to any one of us—or all of us could be affected by it!
• Yet, Solomon promises that DISCRETION (wisdom) will protect us from the evil man who speaks froward things!
• Wisdom will dictate to us NOT to put too much stock in the words of a troublemaker—and thus rescue us from anguish of heart!

c. Prov. 12:6 – the wicked “lie in wait”—await every chance to hurt! To tear down! To damage the reputation of another… for blood!

d. Prov. 12:13 – Ultimately, his own lips will be his downfall. He will be snared by the evil things he says… lies… deceit… exaggeration… stretching the truth…
• But the JUST (a man who lives by Divine wisdom) will come out of trouble!
• He is protected from the evil venom that flows from the mouth of the wicked man!

e. Prov. 13:3 – Guarding our mouth will protect us from the trouble that comes from the mouth of the wicked.
• The wicked man may spew out all kinds of poison…
• But the man who guards his mouth KEEPS (protects/preserves) his life!

f. Prov. 16:27 – the ungodly man digs up evil… he sniffs it out… if there is some dirt, he will find it… and spread it around!
• Thus, he is like a fire—spreading destruction wherever he goes!
• He may say just a few words—and like a little spark—it can ignite a fire that will destroy the whole forest!
• God’s wisdom will protect us from this kind of troublemaker… discretion will keep us out of trouble…
• Wisdom tells us to let that fire burn itself out! (Prov. 26:20-21)

B.) He Leaves the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness (vs.13)

1. This implies that the evil man at one time walked IN the paths of uprightness… and then chose to depart… he LEFT that path and chose to walk down another path—the way of darkness!

2. Prov. 21:16 – he wandered out of the way of understanding… wisdom…

a. He WAS in the right way… but he wandered away.

b. Wandering takes places slowly and gradually.

3. In both passages, Solomon is speaking about a man who had received MUCH LIGHT and truth… and chose to wander away into darkness and error.

a. This is the kind of evil man that wisdom will preserve us FROM.

b. Don’t assume that because a man seemed to have light, understanding and wisdom that he will always have it! Not so!
• II Pet. 2:20-22 – This was true of false teachers in Peter’s day!
• It is a warning to men today too. Wandering is dangerous!

c. It is possible even for believers to wander away… to leave the path of uprightness and end up in the way of sin and darkness… for a while.

d. Wisdom and discretion will PROTECT us from that man… by keeping us away! Don’t follow him down that road of darkness!

e. Often times, influential men can lead many astray with him!

f. Even if a man once walked in the light, if he departs and begins to walk in the way of darkness, he is going to stumble. And so are all those who follow him down that path! (Prov. 4:19)

g. When we see a believer who leaves the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness—urge him to return; plead with him to return; but do NOT follow him down that dark road. You BOTH will stumble!

h. The point of Prov. 2:12-13 is that this kind of wisdom will PRESERVE us from the evil man and his ways. We don’t HAVE to follow him… or be led by him…

C.) He rejoices to do Evil and He Delights in the Frowardness of the Wicked (vs.14)

1. Rejoice: joyful, merry, glad.

2. The evil man isn’t happy unless he himself is up to no good.

a. He rejoices in evil… evil speaking… tearing down…

b. He rather enjoys leaving the path of uprightness, and is beginning to adjust to the ways of darkness… it is becoming pleasant to him.

c. He finds a sense of satisfaction in throwing off the yoke of the way of uprightness. Now he is free to do his own thing… or so he thinks…

d. Prov. 10:23 – Mischief—causing trouble is a sport or a game to him!

3. He delights in the frowardness or perversity of the wicked… of others.

a. He enjoys doing evil himself… AND he enjoys other wicked men who join him in ways that are froward… twisted out of the way… darkness.

b. The godly man delights in the law of the Lord. The evil man delights in breaking away from the law of the Lord… and wandering away in darkness so he is free to do and say as he pleases.

c. Rom. 1:32 – he not only commits evil, but he also seems to get a sense of pleasure from others that do too!

4. Since evil men take pleasure in their darkness and delight in others who join them (Misery loves company!), we could make those men very happy by joining them!

a. Perhaps joining them would mean joining in on their evil gossip…

b. Perhaps joining them would involve some form of rebellion against authority… or wandering away from God with them…

c. The message of evil men to us is always the same: “Come with us!” (1:11) or “cast in thy lot among us!” (1:14)

d. Wisdom will prevent us from joining in that evil gang!

D.) His Ways are Crooked and His Paths are Froward (vs.15)

1. This passage speaks of the ways/paths of the evil man. (same idea)

2. Crooked: twisted, distorted, crooked, perverse, perverted.

3. His ways are twisted… distorted… slanted… out of line… needing adjustment.

4. The evil man demonstrates his wickedness by being OFF in his thinking.

a. He is not off on everything. He may have many fine qualities.

b. However, his thinking… his ways of going about things are twisted… distorted…

c. The way in which we are to walk is straight and narrow. This man’s way is crooked.

d. The simple man will be deceived and not realize how far off this man’s ways are. He may be deceived into following this evil man.

e. But the man who is discerning… the man who allows divine wisdom to sink in… the man with discretion will instantly spot that something is not right… (vs.11)

f. The roads may run parallel for a time… and nothing may be noticed at first… but eventually, that evil man will reveal his true colors and his ways will be demonstrated to be OFF… out of line with God’s Word… distorted…

g. What is it that will preserve us from distorted thinking? God’s Word! Wisdom! Discretion and discernment!

h. That is what this section of Proverbs is all about—giving to the young man knowledge and discretion (1:4b).