|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
24:28,29. There are three defaults in a witness pointed out.
Verse 28. - Be not a witness against thy neighbour without cause (chinnam); gratuitously (Proverbs 3:30; Proverbs 23:29; Proverbs 26:2), when you are not obliged in the performance of a plain duty. Persons are not to put themselves forward to give testimony to a neighbour's discredit, either officiously as busybodies, or maliciously as slanderers. The maxim is expressed in general terms and is not to be confined to one category, as the Syriac and Septuagint render, "Be not a false witness against thy fellow citizen." And deceive not with thy lips. The Hebrew is really interrogative, "And wouldest thou deceive with thy lips?" (Psalm 78:36). The deceit is not so much intentional falsehood as misrepresentation arising from haste and inconsiderateness consequent on this unnecessary eagerness to push forward testimony unsought. Septuagint, "Neither exaggerate (πλατύνου) with thy lips."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Be not a witness against thy neighbour without cause,.... Unless forced unto it, except there is some urgent reason for it; not upon any trivial account, or in any frivolous matter; never appear forward and eager to bear witness against him, and, whenever obliged to it, be not a false witness, but speak truth, whether thy neighbour be a friend or a foe;
and deceive not with thy lips; by bearing a false testimony, the judge, thy neighbour and thyself; for though men may be deceived, God cannot: or, shouldest thou do so, "thou wouldest break" and cut him to pieces "with thy lips" (x); which is the sense of the words according to R. Judah, as Ben Melech relates.
(x) "et ne atteras labiis tuis", Vatablus; "et ne comminuas eum labiis tuis", Syriac version.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
28. Do not speak even truth needlessly against any, and never falsehood.
Proverbs 24:28 Parallel Commentaries
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