Here are four literal or essentially literal English translations of Proverbs 29:18 from the Hebrew text:
KJV: “Where there is no vision, the people perish; but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (Pr 29:18).
NASB: “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is one who keeps the law” (Pr 29:18).
ESV: “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law” (Pr 29:18).
NKJV: “Where there is no revelation the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law” (Pr 29:18).
Proverbs is part of the wisdom literature in Scripture. The book bearing the name of Proverbs is just that–31 chapters of wisdom for daily living about folly vs. wisdom; man’s way vs. God’s way; perishing vs. life; reprobation vs. blessing; chaos vs. Christ.
Proverbs 29:18 speaks about what happens when there is a rejection of wisdom. People perish. They cast off restraint. They regress. The descend into mobs.
Often when I counsel people who are in dire straits, I ask them them about their core beliefs, about where wisdom comes from. Most cannot articulate a clear and coherent answer. Their answers are often messy and jumbled, chaotic, disconnected, and illogical.
When you have an age unable to articulate answers to fundamental questions about wisdom, it is well past time to take notice. The imbecility of what passes for wisdom should terrify you.
We are in an age of folly. Emotivism and narcissism have replaced revealed wisdom and biblical moorings. And we wonder why people cast off restraint? They don’t view themselves as accountable to God or to anyone or anything.
It is as if those with eyes can’t see and those with ears can’t hear. But those words, too, are from the One who inspired Proverbs.
Behold, the consequences of suppressing the truth. You are witnessing a casting off of restraint: unrestrained mobs, violence, the silencing of the prophetic voices. Behold your gods.
What a bed we have made.