Proverbs 12:12 offers a contrast in the life of the wicked and that of the righteous.
Proverbs 12:12 – “The wicked [ungodly; guilty of the law] desireth [covets; lust; plunders] the net [i.e. stronghold; riches ensnared by the net] of evil men [sinful]: but the root [sure foundation] of the righteous [just; lawful] yieldeth fruit [gives; offers; pays].”
It is the 10th commandment that is the subject of today’s proverb. Following God’s prohibition of murder, adultery, theft and lying (Exodus 20:13-16) are these words:
Exodus 20:17 – “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.”
The wicked are never content with their stronghold and treasuries (12:12a). They ply an insatiable appetite for earthly possessions and narcissistic pleasures that is never satisfied. They see that which belongs to another and give rein to a covetous spirit that is not only a breach of God’s commandment, but paves the pathway to their own destruction. Like the fool who tears down his barn to build greater barns for his own self-indulgence (Luke 12:16-21), the wicked plot to plunder the possessions of others.
Herein is a great truth: While the wicked is a consumer (12:12a; Galatians 5:19-21), the righteous is bearer of fruit (12:12b).
What is this “root” that is foundation for the righteous? It is the Word of God and the “Word made flesh” [Jesus Christ, the Son of God – Isaiah 28:16; John 1:14; 1 Corinthians 3:11].
What fruit is borne by the righteous?
Galatians 5:22-23 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”