Proverbs 27:2

Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.

– Proverbs 27:2

Self-promotion is nauseating and obnoxious to others (Proverbs 25:27). It is similar to the presumptuous confidence above, only centered on exalting oneself. Wisdom offers at least two reasons we should refrain from self-praise. First, wisdom teaches to let another man and a stranger to give us any praise due to us. This points to a more objective evaluation than a self-evaluation. Second, wisdom teaches the ultimate objective evaluation comes from God (Proverbs 16:2; 21:2). Reference to thine own mouth and thine own lips in the negative shows self-praise an invalid use of our speech. Wisdom teaches at least four right uses of our speech: instructing in wisdom (Proverbs 13:14; 15:7), giving correction (Proverbs 25:12; 27:5-6; 28:23), speaking to needs (Proverbs 12:18, 25; 15:4; 16:24), and coming to another person’s defense (Proverbs 14:25; 24:11; 31:8-9). All of those uses focus on building up others with wisdom and not building up ourselves with self-praise.

 


 

 

Proverbs 27:1

Introduction

Chapter 27 continues the proverbs of Solomon collected under Hezekiah’s direction. The sayings are mostly grouped in pairs and seem random, though the theme of loving relationships, such as friendship, can be detected. Various subjects—praise, family, neighbors, friends—are addressed and the chapter ends with an extended word to shepherds.

 

Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not that a day may bring forth.

– Proverbs 27:1

Verses 1-2 center around boasting and praise. Boasting of tomorrow reflects overconfidence in our ability to know or control what will happen in the future. Wisdom in this case is knowing what you don’t know, as that is the reason given for not boasting of tomorrow. Wisdom does teach planning ahead (Proverbs 21:5), but only in light of the knowledge of God’s control of all things (Proverbs 16:1, 3, 9). We are not to be presumptuous about tomorrow (James 4:13-15), but neither are we to despair or over worry of tomorrow (Matthew 6:34).

 


 

 

Proverbs 26:28

A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.

– Proverbs 26:28

This saying concludes this section with wisdom observations on lying and flattering. The word for hateth is sometimes translated as enemy, but most often as some form of hate. The word for afflicted means crushed, or injured. A liar is an enemy to and injurer of those he lies to. The righteous, or wise, man hates lying (Proverbs 13:5) and wisdom teaches to put it far from us (Proverbs 4:24). The word for flattering means smooth (Proverbs 5:3) and is readily grouped with lying. The word for ruin means overthrow and indicates the inevitable outcome of lying and flattering.

 


 

 

Proverbs 26:27

Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.

– Proverbs 26:27

Verses 27 and 28 function somewhat as summaries of the immediately preceding section and the chapter as a whole. This saying is common sowing and reaping imagery where the wicked are taken in their own traps (Proverbs 1:13; 6:2; 12:13; 18:7; 22:8; 28:10). Hypocrisy and deceit will ultimately bring retribution on the perpetrators.

 


 

 

Proverbs 26:26

Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation.

– Proverbs 26:26

This saying finishes this hypocritical speech collection. Malice may be covered by deceit for a while, but will ultimately be made known. Mention of the congregation could indicate some more formal process of judication, though not necessarily with civil authorities. Wisdom here has repeated the warning to beware of fair speech (Proverbs 7:21; 26:25).

 


 

 

Proverbs 26:25

When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart.

– Proverbs 26:25

This verse continues from the previous, so it is the hating man who speaketh fair. He uses gracious speech to mask what is within. In this case, seven abominations are concealed within. This could be a reference to the seven abominations of Proverbs 6:16-19, but more likely speaks of completion in the sense his heart is thoroughly abominable. Wisdom teaches to discern character and not judge merely by outward appearance, and warns against believing the fair sounding words.

 


 

 

Proverbs 26:24

He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him;

– Proverbs 26:24

Hatred is often the mark of an enemy. At least, it refers to one with ill intentions, or malicious designs. The word for dissembleth means to recognize. The English word means a false appearance. The malicious man disguises his evil intentions with the words of his mouth (Proverbs 12:5, 17, 20).

 


 

 

Proverbs 26:23

Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross.

– Proverbs 26:23

Verses 23-26 focus on hypocritical speech. The word for burning means flaming and can be put for fervency, or we might say passion. It is passionate and earnest speech that covers the motives of a wicked heart. The saying refers to hypocrisy or deception. Scholars debate the precise meaning of the words for silver dross, but the image is clear enough. The picture is of a clay vessel glazed over to appear brilliant and solid. The intention would be to sell it as a pure and strong vessel in order to get a higher price. It’s a common enough deception we’ve all probably encountered. We should equally beware of fair speech (Proverbs 10:18).

 


 

 

Proverbs 26:22

The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.

– Proverbs 26:22

This verse is the same as Proverbs 18:8. The word for wounds only appears in these two verses and means to gulp down. The image is that of devouring food. Just as what we eat goes into the body and has internal effect, gossip and slander penetrate and have an effect on our souls. Wisdom teaches to refuse to hear such talk (Proverbs 26:17, 20-21; 20:3).

 


 

 

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