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Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 14:17


"A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, and a man of evil devices is hated"

Solomon is giving two truisms that he wants his students to take special note of: one is about a person who gets angry quickly and the second is about a person who is willing to go outside moral boundaries to accomplish his goals.

Solomon is saying that these are real people that you will run across in your everyday life. He is telling you what they will do and what the reaction to them will be. Factor this in.

In both of these cases the characteristics discussed can be construed as leadership qualities or actions. Many have these two abilities: extra energy to get things done the "right" way and the ability to get things accomplished even through "bending" the rules. But Solomon wants you and me to know that these people have lots of undesirable results in their life. Do not hook on with these kinds of people.

quick tempered

This is two Hebrew words – the Hebrew word aph, which means nostril, nose, face, anger and the Hebrew word qatserwhich means short or quick-tempered. The idea is that this person is quick to flair the nostril, quick to get angry. This person has very little room for less than precisely what he/she wanted.

An angry person is a person whose expectations have gotten the best of them. It is our expectations not being met that trigger our anger. Sometimes we should get what we want – like when we are the parent or the boss or the righteous policeman. But often our expectations are just automatic pilot instructions for what suits us best or what would be most convenient for us.

Solomon is saying in the first part of this proverb that when you are angry or demanding of your way through the vehicle of anger, then you will make foolish (read selfish) actions. You can't help it. Your expectations were not met; and so now anger has given you a whole new burst of energy and it is so easy to use it to act rather than to think.

When anger is in control you are not. It just seems like you are.

a man of evil devices is hated

devices

This is the Hebrew word mezimmah, which means purpose, discretion, device, scheme.

Some people have elaborate strategies or plots to get people to do what they want. If those plots and stratagems result in the common good and the team wins, then everybody is happy. But if the plots only allow the boss to win, it is unethical. If it skirts the legal or moral boundaries, then it should be resisted.

There are people who will be great at scheming how to get what you want. You might throw your lot in with them because they seem successful. But you must back out or away if you see them using illegal or immoral ways of getting stuff done because the hate that they engender will become a stain on you also.

Until tomorrow,

Gil Stieglitz

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