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He winks his eye to devise perverse things; He purses his lips and brings about evil (Proverbs 16:30, NKJV). When I was growing up, I remember learning that to wink with one of my eyes meant, to the person I was winking at, that I was only joking, not really trying to be deceptive. The Holy Spirit says here that the one who winks the eye is doing that which is (or was) evil. What are we to understand from this? In a rabbinic commentary I have, the idea is not winking, but shutting the eyes. In other words, he shuts his eyes to think of duplicity (or, he is a double-talker). Have you ever had a conversation with another when he or she closes the eyes in the midst of the conversation? It is likely you have. You may never have given thought to why, for it could just be a mannerism. In this Proverbs, at that time in history, those who did such things may also be exercising a mannerism, but the mannerism told the observant one that something evil was being brewed (cf. 6:13-14). The key to properly interpreting the “wink” in this proverb is the context in which the Holy Spirit includes it. In 16:27, the ungodly is mentioned, in 16:28, a perverse man is in view, in 16:29, a violent man and, here, a “winker” who does perverse things. Thus, while one may wink as a sort of “I am just joking,” some in the long ago did not have that approach at all. A word to the wise then is this: be honest and forthright; let your integrity shine forth the glory of God, never allowing your character to be questioned. RT