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 27:1

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).