The Fear of the Lord and Hatred of Evil

I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion” (Prov. 8:12, ESV). Solomon uses the first person, “I,” to personify wisdom. Wisdom says, “I hate evil” (v. 13). The fear of the Lord is also hatred of evil (v. 13). Thus, wisdom is synonymous to the fear of the Lord. To be wise is to hate evil. To fear the Lord is to hate evil.

What kind of evil is hated by the fear of the Lord? “The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate” (Prov. 8:13). One who fears God hates “pride” (Heb. ge’a). The fear of the Lord also hates “arrogance” (Heb. ga’on), which means, “exaltation.” Pride and arrogance come from the same root, gewa, “to rise.” When pride rises up in you, you become arrogant, exalted. Thus, pride and arrogance are sinful, because you shift from God as the object and source of exaltation, to yourself, as the object and source of exaltation. (TWOT) To fear God is to hate pride and arrogance.

The fear of the Lord also hates “the way of evil.” The phrase, “way [Heb. derek] of evil,” means, the evil behavior and actions of men. (TWOT) The same word is used in Ps. 1:6, “the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked shall perish.”

Finally, the fear of the Lord hates “perverted speech.” The noun, “perverted” (Heb. tahpuka), is plural in Hebrew, “perversities.” These perversities are spoken by the mouth. In the context of chapter 8, perverted speech would refer to false, twisted, and crooked words (cf. Prov. 8:6-8).

You cannot say you fear the Lord but love sin. If you fear the Lord, you will hate sin. Either you fear the Lord or hate sin. Either you love one or hate the other. You cannot serve both God and evil.

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