What Does the Proverb Mean?
All Things Are Naked Before Jehovah
“Sheol and the place of destruction are in front of Jehovah. How much more so the hearts of the sons of mankind!” says a writer of Proverbs.—Prov. 15:11.
Figuratively speaking, there is nothing separated by a wider distance from Jehovah, the Living God, than Sheol, the grave, the place of the dead. Also, many persons have been killed and their bodies have even been destroyed and not buried. These are all out of sight of mankind, and the great majority of them are forgotten, as though they never existed. As Ecclesiastes 9:5 states: “As for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all, neither do they anymore have wages, because the remembrance of them has been forgotten.” Certainly the individual personalities, with all their variations and idiosyncrasies, are not known by humans. There is no earthly record of them.
But before Jehovah God, all is open. The psalmist says: “If I should spread out my couch in Sheol, look! you would be there.” (Ps. 139:8) Not that God is everywhere at once, but that he can reach into the grave and take anyone out. “If they dig down into Sheol, from there my own hand will take them . . . And if they hide themselves on the top of Carmel, from there I shall carefully search and be certain to take them. And if they conceal themselves from in front of my eyes on the floor of the sea, down there I shall command the serpent, and it must bite them,” said Jehovah of those who might try to escape his judgment.—Amos 9:2, 3.
God knows where each individual is buried. Or, if he was drowned in the sea, if he died on the battlefield or was cremated, God knows it. (Rev. 20:13) He knows every feature of the individual—what he looked like, as well as his personality traits, both inherited and acquired. (Compare Psalm 139:16.) He knows which ones are deserving of a resurrection. “There is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous,” said the apostle Paul, and Jesus Christ himself declared: “The hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his [Jesus’] voice and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment.”—Acts 24:15; John 5:28, 29.
If Jehovah so thoroughly knows the dead, then, how easy it is for Jehovah, the Creator of the human heart, to see all that is in the hearts of mankind now living. Through the prophet Jeremiah, Jehovah stated: “I, Jehovah, am searching the heart, examining the kidneys, even to give to each one according to his ways, according to the fruitage of his dealings.” (Jer. 17:10) The speech, expression and acts of an individual show to a great extent what is in his heart. Even men can see it to a limited degree. How much more so Jehovah! The apostle Paul, after saying that the declared word of God is alive and exerts power, and is able to discern thoughts and intentions of the heart, continues: “And there is not a creation that is not manifest to his sight, but all things are naked and openly exposed to the eyes of him with whom we have an accounting.”—Heb. 4:12, 13.