The Berean Expositor
Volume 34 - Page 227 of 261
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Truth in the Balance.
#5.  Root and Fruit.
"The root of the righteous yieldeth fruit" (Prov. 12: 12).
pp. 17 - 19
"Doctrine and Practice", which we considered in the preceding study of this series, are
related to one another as "root" is to "fruit". This is an analogy that all can appreciate,
and one that is much used in Scripture. Both in the material and in the spiritual world,
the relationship of root to fruit is that of balance and correspondence, and we must
consider this in the series before us. The Book of Proverbs contains a passage which we
might well choose as our text.
"The root of the righteous yieldeth fruit" (Prov. 12: 12).
In the same chapter we have the assertion that "The root of the righteous shall not be
moved" (Prov. 12: 3). This is equivalent to the doctrine of Prov. 10: 30, "The righteous
shall never be removed", and, as a result, "the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit". There
is no actual word for "fruit" in this passage, but the Hebrew verb nathan, "to give", is
often used in the sense of yielding fruit or increase, as for example:
"When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength"
(Gen. 4: 12).
"The land shall yield her fruit" (Lev. 25: 19).
In different connections, this principle is frequently enunciated: nor is it confined to
any one part of the O.T., being used alike in Law, Prophets and Psalms. This is brought
out in the following passage:
"The remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall yet again take root
downward, and bear fruit upward" (II Kings 19: 30).
Those of our readers who have had experience of fruit growing will know that, on
occasion, it may be necessary to cut away the deep descending tap root in order to induce
the tree to make less wood and more fruit. With this knowledge a superficial reading of
II Kings 19: 30 might lead to the conclusion that one must not take these figures too
literally. But for nearly forty years we have devoted ourselves to the patient investigation
of the Scriptures, and it is our joyful testimony that never have we found it necessary to
alter one word in order to bring it into line with truth. So here the word translated
"downward" is the adverb mattah, which is rendered in the A.V., "beneath",
"underneath", "very low", "under", "less", "down" and "downward".  The verb from
which this adverb is derived is natah, "To spread", or "To stretch forth", as a hand, as a
tent. "He spread his tent" (Gen. 33: 19). "Thou stretchest out thy right hand"
(Exod. 15: 12). So we see that the tree contemplated in II Kings 19: 30 was to take root
downward, but in the sense of spreading out underneath the soil, as all fruit bearing
trees do.