Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
(Proverbs 29:18 KJV)
This proverb is believed to be one of those written by King Solomon and among those collected by King Hezekiah’s men during his reign around 700 BC. It is an antithetical proverb; containing two opposing statements. The English translation can be somewhat misleading if we fail to consider the Hebrew applications of the words that are translated “vision” and “perish.” TheHebrew application of “hazon” (vision) is most appropriately translated “word of revelation.” It was commonly used to refer to the revelation that the prophet received from the LORD. The word “yippara” (perish) is most appropriately translated “go out of control” or “allow to run wild.” Considering these amplifications, a clarification of part “a” of the proverb would then read “Where there is no word of revelation from the LORD the people run wild or get out of control.”
Paul gives us an example in Romans (1:21-32) of a people with no guidance from God who were running wild. He identifies twenty five characteristics that are common to a people with no word of revelation from God. They were idol worshipers. They dishonored their own bodies,participating in sexual immorality. They were filled with all unrighteousness, fornication,wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity;whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things,disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection,heartless and unmerciful. Clearly these are characteristics that we observe today. We are a people walking out of fellowship and from whom God has withheld His revelation.
The opposing statement in part “b” of the proverb provides a solution. It tells us that those who keep the Law are blessed by God. Let us learn to walk in fellowship with Him. God’s blesses faithfulness.