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Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 12:10


Proverbs 12:10

"A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, but even the compassion of the wicked is cruel."

One of the distinguishing characteristics of those who are righteous and those who are wicked is how they treat the surrounding environment: animals, plants, air, etc. The wicked has a disregard for anything except what directly serves him.

righteous

This is the common Hebrew term for righteousness – sedaqa – which means to be in line with what is right; to do justice; to be straight. This is the person who is inside the boundaries of the Ten Commandments and the program of God. Since it is not possible for a person to live their whole life inside of the Ten Commandments and never sin, God has made provision for forgiveness. In the Old Testament it was the sacrificial system which looked forward to the ultimate sacrifice: the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, who lived the perfect life and then gave up His life so that as many as believed in Him could be forgiven of their sins. So the truly righteous in our time are those who live within the boundaries of the Ten Commandments as a course of life and trust the death of Christ to bring forgiveness to them for their sins and selfishness.

regard

This is the Hebrew word yada which means to know. It suggests that Solomon is saying that the righteous person is really aware of the needs of his animals; he is not just using them up for his own purposes. Since there is life there, he respects that.

life

This is the Hebrew word nephesh which means life, soul, or even personality. It is regularly repeated in the Old Testament that certain levels of beasts have a life. They are not just alive but they have a life. The righteous person is aware of that. This distinction is usually what causes people to make pets out of certain types of animals; the fact that they have personality. They seem to have a soul and can respond to their owners. The righteous person does not just use the beasts for his own purposes but is aware of the personality and even needs of the beasts that he employs. They are not just tools to be used and then discarded.

The prime example of the contrast in this verse in our modern era is Adolf Hitler. He treated even humans as nothing more than consumable parts for his own ends. He and his henchmen calculated how much work they could get out of people with how much food and when these people would break down. They actually calculated how to get the maximum work for the minimum food before the person broke down or had to be killed. This same type of thinking takes place with the wicked in terms of their animals.

One of the distinguishing characteristics of those who are righteous and those who are wicked is how they treat the surrounding environment: animals, plants, air, etc. The wicked has a disregard for anything except what directly serves him.

animal

This is the Hebrew word behema which means beast, animal, or cattle. Now it is important to realize that in the ancient world a person's animals were not pets but were their equipment for commerce. Animals were the tools for their ability to earn a living. Therefore, Solomon is watching how a different type of people treat the engines of commerce. He makes the observation that those who are wicked, even their compassion is cruel.

compassion

This is the Hebrew word raham which means to love deeply, to have pity or mercy, to be caring and compassionate.

cruel

This is the Hebrew word 'akzar which means fierce or cruel. It is equated to wrath in Proverbs 27:4. This is interesting in that the wicked person's compassion is equated with cruelty and fierceness. This may mean that the wicked person does not take the time to really know the animal. He just becomes aware that they are broken down or in some way incapacitated and puts them out of their misery (he thinks) by killing the animal.

Until tomorrow,

Gil Stieglitz

#DrGilStieglitz #Proverbs #wisdom #wisespeech #tencommandments #righteousness

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