Proverbs 21:10

The Soul of the Wicked


1. This proverb makes a statement about wicked men. (Women and children too.)

2. Solomon tells us about the SOUL of such a person… what they are like on the INSIDE.

3. Thus, while there is no command or exhortation made, clearly the proverb sends up a red flag—a warning to us all:

a. Watch out for such people!

b. Be aware that they exist.

c. Be wise in dealing with them. They may be your neighbor!

10a The soul of the wicked desireth evil:

1. The first part of the proverb speaks of the SOUL of the wicked.

a. Consider how Strong’s defines soul: soul; self; life; creature; person; appetite; mind; living being; desire; emotion; passion; the man himself; self; person or individual; seat of the appetites; seat of emotions and passions; activity of mind.

b. In other words, it is a very broad term… that speaks of the inner life of a man… and sometimes is used of the person himself.

c. Dictionary of Biblical Languages lists 21 definitions for the term.

2. Here Solomon seems to be using the term to describe the whole inner life of this person.

a. It refers to the person himself.

b. This includes his emotions, the way he thinks, his desires, his will, etc.

3. The soul of the WICKED refers to the inner life of a wicked man.

a. This is a very common term in Proverbs. We have seen it often. (vs.7)

b. Defined: guilty; criminal; evil; unrighteous; guilty of violating a standard; transgressor.

4. The soul of the wicked refers to the inner machinations of a guilty, evil, criminal.

a. This refers to the inner life… the inner thoughts… of a criminal.

b. Many plays and novels have been written on this theme—on the criminal mind. Shakespeare wrote about it.

c. Investigators enlist the help of forensic psychologists in order to understand the criminal mind.

d. You can earn a degree in criminal profiling.

e. There is a whole field called criminal psychology… the study of the criminal mind.
• This field seeks to discover what makes serial killers tick? Is it genetic, hormonal, biological, or cultural conditioning? Do killers have control over their horrific behavior?

f. For years, psychologists have been trying to discover what makes the criminal mind tick.

g. They seek to discover the root cause in hopes of “curing” the disease of criminal behavior.

h. It is blamed on many factors: environment; poverty; unstable family life; drugs and alcohol; child abuse, etc.

5. Serial killers have devised a number of excuses for their behavior.

a. Jeffrey Dahmer said that he was born with a “part” of him missing. (birth defect)

b. Ted Bundy claimed pornography made him do it.

c. Herbert Mullin, Santa Cruz killer of thirteen, blamed the voices in his head.

d. John Wayne Gacy turned the blame around and boasted that the victims deserved to die.

e. We tend to think that such people must be insane — what normal person could slaughter another human, for the sheer pleasure of it?
• Yet some psychologists have reported that most chilling fact about serial killers is that they are rational and calculating.
• As the “British Jeffrey Dahmer” Dennis Nilsen put it, “a mind can be evil without being abnormal.”

f. I don’t find myself agreeing with serial killers, but this serial killer hit the nail on the head: a mind can be evil without being considered insane.

g. Many violent criminals know exactly what they are doing. They DELIGHT in evil.

h. Obviously, some of them are insane, but not all.

i. Others are simply evil… evil through and through.

j. Some psychologists have a hard time with this concept. They believe that men are born good or at least neutral, and that something must have “happened” to cause this evil behavior.

6. Let’s consider what Solomon has to say on this subject… under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

a. Solomon tells us that the soul of some wicked men desire evil.

b. Desire: long for; lust after; to covet; to crave.

c. This term is used in either a good or evil sense.
• Isa. 26:9 – It is used of longing after God…
• Ex. 20:17 – It is used of a sinful lusting after thy neighbor’s wife or property.

d. Prov. 21:25-26 – Lazy people DESIRE all day long because they desire things that hard working people possess.
• This is an evil desire—the result of their sin: laziness.

e. Prov. 4:14-16 – Wicked men CRAVE to commit wickedness. They can’t sleep unless they have caused some sort of mischief.

f. Ecc. 8:11 – And because they have not yet been caught, their hearts are fully set in them to do evil!
• (fully set = full; complete; wholeheartedly set).
• They are DETERMINED to do evil.
• They are not just “wishing” they could. They are determined to commit evil acts.

g. Note also that Solomon puts the blame on the man himself.
• It was the SOUL of the wicked that desires evil.
• This evil desire arises out of the man’s soul.
• It is not to be blamed on society, environment, abuse, or other factors, although they may be influencing factors.
• The evil desire arose from an evil soul… and evil mind… and evil heart.
• This harmonizes perfectly with what Jesus said in Matthew 15:19 – “For from the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witnesses, blasphemies, etc.
• This is a lust (craving; desire) which conceives and brings forth fruit unto sin.

7. Perhaps Solomon wrote these words for our generation.

a. In his own day, it was common knowledge that wicked men desire evil… that men are evil… that it is human nature to be evil.

b. But that is not common knowledge today. It is disputed on many levels.

10b His neighbour findeth no favour in his eyes.

1. The second part of the proverb simply reinforces the point.

a. The criminal desires evil… and even his neighbor finds no favor in his eyes. They are equal opportunity haters!

b. Because it is his nature to be evil, even his next door neighbor does not escape his evil design.

c. In other words, evil men are evil everywhere… even in their own neighborhood.

d. His own neighbor is not able to extract a little kindness from this guy.

e. He is not even able to PRETEND to be a nice guy.

f. The average sinner may commit evil from time to time. Even we do as believers.
• When a believer commits evil, he says, “What I hate, I do.”
• But the wicked DESIRES evil. He delights in it.

g. However, the average sinner does a pretty good job of covering it up. They can put on a good front before their neighbor.

h. Solomon says that some men are so wicked—rotten to the core—that they can’t even cover it up—or don’t want to cover it up, at home and in the neighborhood.

2. Thus, Solomon WARNS us about the existence of such cold hearted criminals.

a. Beware! They’re out there!

b. They may live next door to you… or down the street… or anywhere.

c. There are sex offenders out there—perhaps in your neighborhood.
• If you have young children, you should look at the sex offender register to see if any live next door to you.

d. There are violent criminals out there too… and thieves.

e. They stay up at night planning and plotting who, where, and when to strike next.

f. Thus, we should be vigilant… and even though we don’t live in the inner city, and wicked men may be less of a problem, we should not be so foolish as to think that there are none nearby.

g. This proverb is not designed to cause us to live in fear or to panic, but it is designed to warn us that we might be careful.

h. Teenagers tend to think that they are invincible and that nothing will happen to them.
• Solomon warns you otherwise. If they don’t spare their own neighbor, don’t think that they will spare you either.