12 Worldliness, its destruction. Vice is a course of action that leads to ruin. One should be careful that any evil activity that seems successful and safe could take any number of turns to destruction (the expression is in the plural—“roads of death”). This proverb recalls the ways of the adulterous woman in chs. 1–9. The first half of the verse does not state that the way that seems right is a vice, but the second half clarifies that meaning. The image used is of a traveler on a straight road; it seems safe, but it is fatal, for the destination is wrong. “Death” signifies mortal ruin (see 7:27; 16:25; also Mt 7:13–14). The LXX adds “Hades,” but the verse seems to be concerned with this life’s events. The issue, then, is how deceptive evil is. It may promise and deliver happiness, power, and the good life, but it cannot sustain what it gives.
14:12. A man may judge a particular path to be right (yashar). Since this term can also mean “straight” or “smooth,” it is probably intentionally ambiguous, referring to a way that seems ethical and/or prudent. That is, the path one chooses may seem to be the easiest path or the best way to success or morally acceptable. But in the end it leads to death. Since a foolish, immoral path can appear to be neither foolish nor immoral, the wise man will not lean on his own understanding but trust in the Lord, seeking His insight and wisdom (cf. 3:5–6).
14:12. This verse is repeated verbatim in 16:25. A path (way of life) may seem right (level or straight) to some people. But because it leads to death it is the way of sin and folly (cf. 5:5, 23; 7:27; 9:18; 11:19; 21:25). Man cannot get away with sin.
14:12 The way which seems right to men is salvation by good works or good character. More people go down to hell laboring under that misconception than under any other. (See also 16:25.)
In a broader sense, the way which seems right to a man is his own way, the path of self-will that scorns divine guidance or human counsel. It can end only in disaster and spiritual death.
14:12 Only when it is too late does the deluded person discover that he is on the crowded highway to death. The implication is not that he was tricked, but that he relied too heavily on his own “wisdom” rather than turning in humility to God. a way … the way: Many proverbs put their message in terms of two ways—one that leads to life and another that leads to death (16:25).
 Ross, A. P. (2008). Proverbs. In T. Longman III, Garland David E. (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Proverbs–Isaiah (Revised Edition) (Vol. 6, p. 134). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
 Finkbeiner, D. (2014). Proverbs. In M. A. Rydelnik & M. Vanlaningham (Eds.), The moody bible commentary (p. 922). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.
 Buzzell, S. S. (1985). Proverbs. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 935). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
 MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 825–826). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
 Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 759). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.