Proverbs 18:1 is not very clear. Thus, consider the following texts before we study the verse.
- NKJV renders this verse like this: “A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment.”
- ASV 1901 renders this verse like this: “He that separateth himself seeketh his own desire, And rageth against all sound wisdom.”
- When you examine the word translated “intermeddleth” in the KJV (Strong’s # 1566), you find the Hebrew word used in two other verses (Proverbs 17:14 and Proverbs 20:3). When looking at both of the verses that use the same Hebrew term, you find this type of meddling is not good.
To our question…
1. Are there some people who separate themselves to make unwise decisions?
Yes: “Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom” (Proverbs 18:1).
• I John 2:18-19 and Jude 17-19.
• It is not always wrong to separate yourself from others. In fact, it is often necessary (Ezra 6:21, Ezra 10:1, Psalms 1:1-3, Proverbs 9:6, and II Corinthians 6:14-18).
2. Is a fool happy if he or she gains an understanding?
No: “A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself” (Proverbs 18:2).
• Psalms 92:6, Proverbs 1:7, Proverbs 1:22, Proverbs 15:14, Proverbs 17:24, Proverbs 24:7, and Galatians 3:1-3.
• A fool only cares about what is in his or her own heart (Proverbs 28:26 and Jeremiah 17:9).
3. Do wicked people bring good with them?
No: “When the wicked cometh, then cometh also contempt, and with ignominy reproach” (Proverbs 18:3).
• “Ignominy” is: “confusion, dishonor, reproach, shame” (Strong’s # 7036).
• Proverbs 3:35 and Proverbs 22:10.
4. What is compared to deep waters and what is compared to a flowing brook?
“The words of a man's mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook” (Proverbs 18:4).
• Deep water can be both good (water is a life source) and bad (floods, drowning, etc.). The same is true of a man’s words. A man’s words can be good (Ephesians 4:29 and Colossians 4:6) or bad (Proverbs 10:19, Proverbs 15:2, and James 3:1-17).
• The flow of wisdom and a wellspring… Proverbs 16:22.
• One thing about deep water… You have to draw things out of it (Proverbs 20:5).
5. Is it good when people accept the person of the wicked and overthrow the righteous in judgment?
No: “It is not good to accept the person of the wicked, to overthrow the righteous in judgment” (Proverbs 18:5).
• Proverbs 28:21 and Isaiah 5:20-25.
6. Do the words of fools promote good things?
No: “(6) A fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes. (7) A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul” (Proverbs 18:6-7).
• They cause contention (Proverbs 16:27-28).
• Don’t engage (Proverbs 29:9).
• The fool’s mouth is his destruction (Proverbs 10:14 and Proverbs 13:3) and a trap for his soul (Proverbs 12:13).
7. Do talebearers [slanderers] cause harm to others?
Yes: “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly” (Proverbs 18:8).
• Leviticus 19:16, Proverbs 10:18, Proverbs 26:20-22, and Romans 3:8.
8. Is a slothful person similar to a great waster?
Yes: “He also that is slothful [idle; slack; lazy; reluctant to work] in his work is brother to him that is a great waster” (Proverbs 18:9).
• We’re not supposed to be slothful (Proverbs 6:6-11, Proverbs 10:4, Proverbs 12:24, Proverbs 20:4, Proverbs 24:30-34, Romans 12:11, and Hebrews 6:12).
9. What, in our current context, is a strong tower?
The name of the Lord: “The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe” (Proverbs 18:10).
• II Samuel 22:3, Psalms 18:2, Psalms 20:7, Psalms 91:2, Isaiah 26:4, and Hebrews 13:6-7.
10. What is the rich man’s strong city?
His wealth is like a high wall in his own imagination: “The rich man's wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own conceit” (Proverbs 18:11).
• Psalms 49:6-9, Jeremiah 9:23, and I Timothy 6:17.
11. Do you want to be haughty or humble?
Destruction is to the haughty and honor to the humble. Thus, a thinking person is a humble person: “Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility” (Proverbs 18:12).
• Pride leads to destruction (Proverbs 11:2, Proverbs 16:18, and James 4:6-10).