Proverbs 27:6

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

– Proverbs 27:6

Verse 6 continues from verse 5. Faithful wounds are the result of open rebuke, mentioned previously. The word for faithful means to build up or support and can express the nurturing relationship of parents to children. It may wound, or inflict some pain, but is ultimately out of love and for good. The word for deceitful means abundant and describes the profuse kisses of an enemy. The thought of deceit is present and contrasts with faithful. We infer from the saying that faithful wounds from a friend will be few because they are out of love and meant for good, while the enemies flatteries will be poured out. Wisdom warns to beware of flattery and weigh words carefully (Proverbs 2:16; 6:24; 7:5, 21; 10:18; 20:19; 26:23-26, 28; 29:5).

 


 

 

Proverbs 27:5

Open rebuke is better than secret love.

– Proverbs 27:5

Verses 5-6 address an issue of true friendship—open and direct communication. The word for rebuke means reproof, or correction. Rebuke sounds harsh and hateful to our ears today, but receiving it is crucial to acquiring wisdom (Proverbs 1:20-23). Refusing reproof is to embrace death and destruction (Proverbs 1:24-33). The way we respond to rebuke reveals whether we are foolish or wise (Proverbs 9:8; 23:9).

This saying speaks to the value of a friend who will speak up when it is needed. The word for open means to uncover and here refers to one not hiding a needed reproof. It contrasts with secret, which means to cover, or conceal. This is a “better than” saying where the sting of open rebuke is to be preferred to the hidden correction left unspoken, allowing us to go on in folly. A love that doesn’t manifest itself is worthless (Proverbs 3:12; 13:24; 23:13; 1 John 3:18).

 


 

 

Proverbs 27:4

Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?

– Proverbs 27:4

The first phrase summarizes the previous verse. The word for cruel means fierce, and the word for outrageous means a flood, or overflow. The saying highlights the excessive extremity of wrath, but contrasts it with envy, or jealousy. Jealousy can be positive (Proverbs 6:32-35), or negative (Proverbs 14:30). Even in the positive usage, the extreme character of jealousy is proven. Jealousy is a violent and unreasonable emotion, capable of great violence and destruction.

 


 

 

Proverbs 27:3

A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool’s wrath is heavier than them both.

– Proverbs 27:3

Verses 3-4 speak to things unbearable. The stone and sand are heavy and difficult burdens to workers. Carrying them and moving them about is exhausting work. Dealing with a fool’s wrath is worse. The word heavier indicates the fool’s wrath is excessive. The difficulty portrayed in the image of heavy stone and sand indicates the fool’s wrath is unreasonable and vexing as well (Proverbs 12:16; 17:12).

 


 

 

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).

 


 

 

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