God Is Moral Part Thirteen
In our previous article we noted that biblical descriptions of various types of eyes indicate that eyes reflect the moral condition of a heart. The first type we observed was the “evil eye,” which reflects a heart consumed by “insatiable greed for riches [and an] inordinate, miserly desire to gain and hoard wealth.”1 Here are other biblical descriptions.
The Reflection of the Heart in the Eyes
Generous Eye. “He who has a generous eye will be blessed, for he gives of his bread to the poor” (Prov. 22:9). The word translated “generous” literally means “good.”2 In this context it refers to the type of good that is generous to the poor. To be good to someone reveals a person’s desire or will.3 Thus a generous eye reflects a heart that wants to help the needy.
Winking Eye. Eliphaz asked Job, “Why does your heart carry you away, and what do your eyes wink at?” (Job 15:12). The word translated “wink” means “flash.” It seems to indicate that Job’s eyes flashed with anger.4 Psalm 35:19 refers to the eyes of enemies winking (flashing with anger) at someone they hate.
Proverbs 10:10 states, “He who winks with the eye causes trouble.” This word translated “winks” refers to narrowing the eyes with “a deceitful and malicious look” to express “hostility.”5 The word translated “trouble” refers to “physical and mental discomfort” or “anguish” that such a look causes another person.6 A person who winks in this manner is “a worthless person, a wicked man” who has “a perverse mouth” (6:12). “Perversity is in his heart, he devises evil continually, he sows discord” (v. 14). Thus, a winking eye reflects an angry, hostile, or perverse heart.
Mocking Eye. “The eye that mocks his father, and scorns obedience to his mother, the ravens of the valley will pick it out, and the young eagles will eat it” (30:17). To mock is to ridicule or deride.7 This eye reflects a heart of contempt for parents.
Unsparing Eye. Isaiah 13:18 fore-told that Babylonian soldiers “will have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye will not spare children.” The unsparing eye reflects a heart devoid of pity toward those in trouble.8
Desiring Eyes. God told Ezekiel,
Speak to the house of Israel, “Thus says the Lord Gᴏᴅ: ‘Behold, I will profane My sanctuary, your arrogant boast, the desire of your eyes, the delight of your soul; and your sons and daughters whom you left behind shall fall by the sword.’” Will it not be in the day when I take from them their stronghold, their joy and their glory, the desire of their eyes, and that on which they set their minds, their sons and their daughters (Ezek. 24:21, 25).
The word translated “desire” refers to “pleasant things” to focus on.9 The desiring eye reflects a heart that focuses on what is pleasant.
Full Eye. Second Peter 2:14 refers to men “having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin.” Commentator Kenneth O. Gangel wrote, “With eyes full of adultery is literally ‘having eyes full of an adulteress,’ that is, thinking only of adultery when they see women. They never stop sinning is literally, ‘unceasing in sin,’ probably referring to their sinning with their eyes (Matt. 5:28).”10 The full eye reflects a heart consumed with thoughts of adultery.
Blinded Eye. “But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes” (1 Jn. 2:11). The blinded eye reflects the heart of a person who exists and functions in the sphere of moral and spiritual darkness that is at enmity with God and is earthly and demonic. As a result, that person is blinded to ultimate reality and does not understand the purpose of his existence or the reality of his ultimate destiny.
Lusting Eye. First John 2:16 states, “For all that is in the world––the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life––is not of the Father but is of the world.” The word epithumia, translated “lust,” means, “evil desire.”11 Evil desire “is a manifestation of the sin which dwells in man and which controls him.”12 Wrote German theologian Friedrich Buchsel:
The special feature in Jn. [Gospel of John] is the connection between desire and the world, 1 Jn. 2:15–17. Desire arises out of the world, constitutes its essence and perishes with it….The seriousness of man’s God-given duty has to be fully impressed upon him in order to stir his will to resolution in self-denial….The essential point in epithumia is that it is desire as impulse, as a motion of the will. It is, in fact, lust, since the thought of satisfaction gives pleasure and that of non-satisfaction pain. Epithumia is anxious self-seeking….Epithumia bursts upon him with the force of immediacy.13
The sin nature stirs up evil desire for what the eyes see in the world, and the eyes reflect that inner desire.
Shut Eye. There are two types of shut eyes: one good, one bad. Proverbs 16:30 refers to a person who “winks his eye to devise perverse things.” This word translated “winks” means “shut.”14 This person shuts his eyes to concentrate without distraction on the perverse thing he wants. Thus, the shut eye reflects a perverse heart.
For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them (Mt. 13:15; cf. Acts 28:27).
Jesus described people who shut their eyes to God’s truth in the sense that they stubbornly refused to accept it and its implications for them. This type of shut eye reflects a heart that has become calloused to God’s truth by repeated hostility toward it.
But Isaiah 33:15 describes a person who “walks righteously and speaks uprightly, he who despises the gain of oppressions, who gestures with his hands, refusing bribes, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed, and shuts his eyes from seeing evil.” This type of shut eye reflects a heart that opposes focusing on evil.
Hiding Eye. There are also two types of hiding eyes: insensitive and ignoring. “He who gives to the poor will not lack, but he who hides his eyes will have many curses” (Prov. 28:27). The latter person ignores the needs of the poor. That type of hiding eye reflects a heart insensitive to the plight of the needy.
On the other hand, Israel’s priests allowed the Israelites to pollute God’s Sabbaths, manifesting an ignoring eye.
Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them (Ezek. 22:26; cf. 20:16, 21, 24).
Wrote Bible scholar Charles H. Dyer, “Abandoning God’s precepts, they [the priests] let sin run rampant among the people.”15 They did so by purposely hiding their eyes from (ignoring) these sinful activities. This type of hiding eye reflects a heart that regards God and His holy things as being common or insignificant.
Lofty Eye. Proverbs 30:13 exclaims, “There is a generation––oh, how lofty are their eyes! And their eyelids are lifted up.” Lofty eyes reflect a heart of “arrogance,” “pride,” “presumption,”16 and “haughtiness.”17
Unsatisfied Eye. “The eyes of man are never satisfied” (27:20). This type of eye reflects the heart attitude of people who “constantly want to see new things (cf. Eccl. 1:8) and to own new things.”18
Ecclesiastes 1:8 declares, “All things are full of labor; man cannot express it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing.” Because the monotony of daily labor does not give ultimate meaning to life, each generation continuously looks for some new thing that will give people ultimate meaning. But no matter how many new things people see, their desire for meaning can never be satisfied.19
“There is one alone, without companion: He has neither son nor brother. Yet there is no end to all his labors, nor is his eye satisfied with riches” (4:8). A person driven by desire for wealth avoids personal relationships in order to work incessantly to gain and hoard more wealth; and he is never satisfied that he has enough.20
- The American College Dictionary (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1948), s.v. “avarice.”
- Andrew Bowling, “tob,” Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), 1:345.
- William White, “razam,” in Harris, Archer, and Waltke, 2:840.
- Leonard J. Coppes, “qarats,” in Harris, Archer, and Waltke, 2:816–817.
- Ronald B. Allen, “assebet,” in Harris, Archer, and Waltke, 2:687–688.
- The American College Dictionary,v. “mock.”
- Leonard J. Coppes, “hus,” in Harris, Archer, and Waltke, 1:272.
- Barton Payne, “mahmod,” in Harris, Archer, and Waltke, 1:295.
- Kenneth O. Gangel, “2 Peter,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament, John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1983), 872.
- Friedrich Buchsel, “epithumia,” Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Gerhard Kittel, trans./ed. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, translated from Theologisches Worterbuch zum Neuen Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965), 3:170.
- Ibid., 171.
- Ronald B. Allen, “asa,” in Harris, Archer, and Waltke, 2:688.
- Charles H. Dyer, “Ezekiel,” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament, John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1985), 1270.
- Andrew Bowling, “rum,” in Harris, Archer, and Waltke, 2:837–838.
- Sid S. Buzzell, “Proverbs,” in Walvoord and Zuck, Old Testament,
- Ibid., 964.
- Ernest W. Hengstenberg, Ecclesiastes (Sovereign Grace Publishers, 1960), 55.
- Donald R. Glenn, “Ecclesiastes,” in Walvoord and Zuck, Old Testament, 987.