This Week's Focus Passage

This Week’s Focus Passage: Proverbs 19:5 & 9 ‘A false witness shall not be unpunished; and he that u

This Week’s Focus Passage: Proverbs 19:5 & 9

‘A false witness shall not be unpunished; and he that uttereth lies shall not escape.’

    It seems quite strange to find in the Proverbs of Solomon, a particular sentiment stated, not only twice, but stated within a range of five verses. The Proverb cited above from Proverbs 19:5, is virtually duplicated in Proverbs 19:9. The singular alteration, or distinction, between the two is found in the second lines of these two Proverbs. The second line from Proverbs 19:5 is, and he that uttereth lies shall not escape, while the second line in Proverbs 19:9, and he that uttereth lies shall perish.

It is rather remarkable, upon investigation, to discover the frequency in the Proverbs, and other Scriptures, of the expressed concern regarding ‘false witness,’ ‘falsehood,’ ‘liars,’ and ‘lying.’ The commandment that God has given us, is in the language of ‘false witness,’ in most versions: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.—Exodus 20:16. It is, perhaps, an unhappy instance where a very fine translation, may be wrongly construed. There are many, make-believers, and sadly, true believers, that have construed this command to only refer to occasions involving the giving of testimony in a judicial setting, in a court trial, or some such event. But through that concept, they allow themselves on other occasions to ‘bend the truth’ just a little [it’s just a little white lie], or to utter only half of the truth [a half-truth], while allowing it to be understood as the complete truth. The believer in Jesus Christ ought never to be guilty of such behavior. Leave such behavior to politicians, courts, or advertisers of goods, misrepresenting them in one way or another. Christians must be guided by the Word of Truth. The whole truth and nothing but the truth. 

Consider Proverbs 30:8, the inspired writer of this proverb; we are informed at the beginning that the human writer was Agur, as we read in the heading, the words are, The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, the oracle. This ‘oracle,’ it is admitted, may refer to either the Word communicated or the one from whom the Word is given. When all is said and done, it is the Word that is understood to be the Word of God. It is for this reason that we may find it connected with the Prophet being employed by God, or the place where the message is made known, but in both cases, that which is communicated as an ‘oracle,’ or a ‘message,’ or the human source of that message, it is the Word of the living God that is being communicated.

The phrase, ‘oracles of God’ appears in various forms in the Old and New Testaments and can sometimes appear in certain modern translations. The word seems to mean in both the Hebrew and the Greek, “The Word of God.” In the Bible, we find it apparently referencing sometimes, the person from whom the Word of God emanates, sometimes, the place where the Word of God may be sought, and so on. In the construction of the temple, in 1 Kings 6, we are given examples of both of these usages. In the sixteenth verse, we read, And he [Solomon] built twenty cubits on the hinder part of the house with boards of cedar from the floor unto the walls of the ceiling: he built them for it within, for an oracle, even for the most holy place. We find, in this reference, a connection with the most holy place. We might say that the Word of God comes from the most holy place. And further, in verse nineteen, that there is, as well, a relationship of the oracle with the ark of the covenant. In that verse, we find that, And he prepared an oracle in the midst of the house within, to set there the ark of the covenant of Jehovah. 

It is freely acknowledged that the Hebrew word translated as ‘oracle’ in many English translations of the Scriptures, such as the American Standard Version-1901, and numerous others, is also frequently translated in other English translations, the King James Version, and again, numerous others, by the word, ‘prophecy,’ and in some, such as the New American Standard, as ‘pronouncement,’ or ‘message,’ but in every instance, the choice refers to the Word of God. This is the main thing.

The remarks of Matthew Henry, in his ‘Commentary on the whole Bible,’ are quite helpful to our point in this matter of oracles, and so on. He has written, from his thoughts upon the matter, and on 1 Kings 6, referred to above, that:

“The oracle, or speaking-place (for so the word signifies), the holy of holies, so called because thence God spoke to Moses, and perhaps to the high priest, when he consulted with the breast-plate of judgment. In this place the ark of the covenant was to be set, vs. 19. Solomon made every thing new, and more significant than it had been, except the ark which was still the same which Moses made, with its mercy-seat and cherubim; that was the token of God’s presence, which is always the same with His people whether they meet in tent or temple, and changes not with their condition.” 

God forbid that any, in the churches, naming the name of Jesus Christ, would ever apply it to us as it may have applied to those ‘in the day,’ either hundreds, or thousands, of years ago, or even in the time of Matthew Henry. Such ‘cultural’ arguments are of little or no values toward Him who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Be careful what you wish for from our present culture. 

    There are many passage in the Word of God that underline the hatred our God has toward lying. In the first place, we may go to the ‘first place,’ namely our first parents, and how they committed the first sin, that sin through which mankind fell all together into the desperate conditions in which we have all been born. Recall that the ‘ploy’ of the deceiver was a lie, when he told our first parents that, actually, God had lied to them when He told them that they would die ‘in the day’ that they violated His command, saying, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. 

Adam and Eve believed the lie of the serpent, and mankind inherited the penalty of death along with them. John has contributed to this teaching about telling lies, when he was inspired to write in his first epistle, and at 2:22, the following somber words:

Who is the liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, even he that denieth the Father and the Son.—1 John 2:22.

And have you never read, at the end of the Word of God. The lie began it all, and for many, the lie will end it all. We read in Revelation 21:27, of those entering heaven:

And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that is unclean, or he that maketh an abomination and a lie; but only they that are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church


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