Hate, Evil, and Frowardness (Proverbs 8:13)

IMG_1771Hate is such an unpopular word these days. When used it typically has a strongly negative and judgmental connotation (e.g. hate speech), but the fact is according to scripture there is a time to hate. One such thing is outlined in Proverbs 8:13.

All who fear the LORD will hate evil.
Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance,
corruption and perverse speech.

We are called to hate evil. And though scripture outlines more examples of evil than are listed in this verse, lets focus on the ones here because I was surprised at the ones selected. When I think of evil I think of things like rape and murder, and I think there is no doubt those things are evil, but this scripture shows us that things seemingly more innocuous are also evil.

Pride and Arrogance

This sin of the heart can be such subtle ones. Immediately what comes to mind are moments we consider ourselves better than someone else. Many times we may not even do anything with this thought, but just the fact that we have it is evil and displeasing to God.  We’re to hate that kind of thought.

Notice I’m referring to when we do it.  Yes we’re to hate it when others do it, but the only one we can change it in is ourselves. I challenge you to search your heart and be mindful to see if this is something you do (trust me I’m doing the same). Whether it be a homeless person or someone deep in sin… “there but for the grace of God go I.” No judgment. No thinking we are better. We aren’t. We each have our struggles and only God knows the heart. That person in sin? You don’t know their story, what brought them to that moment. Only God does, and it is for Him to judge, not us. Even in our hearts.


The word in Hebrew here is the same word that was used for the word evil in this verse. Here are some words in its definition:

  • bad
  • evil
  • disagreeable
  • malignant
  • giving pain, unhappiness, misery
  • hurtful
  • unkind (vicious in disposition)
  • wicked (ethically)

So those intentionally unkind words we said during an argument? Evil. Yes, there are the larger and more obvious things like conning someone or intentionally being cruel, but when we’re working to live a pure life, chances are those aren’t the things we struggle with. It’s the seemingly smaller, insidious things where we tend to fall into the trap.  We must guard our words and thoughts, stop to check what our heart intentions are, speak to build up and encourage. Really speak and think as we’d want others to speak to and think of us.

Perverse Speech 

The word here in Hebrew is tahpukah (H8419), which is translated froward (not a word we use very often these days). Merriam-Webster defines it as habitually disposed to disobedience and opposition. Synonyms listed on Dictionary.com were: obstinate, willful, disobedient, fractious, wayward, unmanageable, difficult.

I confess “perverse speech” gave me pause because immediately my mind went to mainstream books and TV shows which are filled with ungodly things – it’s virtually impossible to avoid unless you cut them out completely (which I’ve done before – I actually only started watching TV again last spring). Since the word used here is perverse, lets see how it is defined by Merriam-Webster: wrong or different in a way that others feel is strange or offensive. What I find curious in this definition is that the bar is not set, but rather contingent on others’ opinions. I find it unlikely that is how God views it!

This word (tahpukah H8419) is used 9 other times in the Old Testament, lets see if we can gain insight by seeing its use I’ve bolded a few that particularly stood out to me:

  1. Deu 32:20 And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.
  2. Prov 2:12 To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things;
  3. Prov 2:14 Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked;
  4. Prov 6:14 Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord.
  5. Prov 10:31 The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the froward tongue shall be cut out.
  6. Prov 10:32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.
  7. Prov 16:28 A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.
  8. Prov 16:30 He shutteth his eyes to devise froward things: moving his lips he bringeth evil to pass.
  9. Prov 23:33 Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.

In the Proverbs 6:14 verse, the word mischief is the same word used in Proverbs 8:13 for both evil and corruption. So basically, one who is froward is focused on evil – speaking and doing it as well as encouraging it in others. And they sow strife. This brings to mind Proverbs 6:16-19 (KJV):

These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

In Conclusion

I hope these ponderings challenge you to search your heart and thoughts and actions as they’ve caused me to search mine. May we all do better in behaving and thinking in a way that honors Him and reflects His heart and actions.

Father, help us to be more like You. May our hearts align with Yours. May we truly love one another and seek to lift each other up, speak with love and encouragement, and bring peace.

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