Proverbs 12:17
He that speaketh truth sheweth forth righteousness: but a false witness deceit.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Proverbs 12:17. He that speaketh truth — He that makes conscience of representing every thing fairly, to the best of his knowledge, whether in judgment or common conversation, whether he be upon his oath or not; he showeth forth righteousness — He makes it appear that he is governed by the principles and laws of righteousness; and he promotes justice by doing honour to it, and serving the administration of it; but a false witness shows forth deceit — He not only manifests how little conscience he makes of deceiving those he deals with, but how much pleasure he takes in it, and that he is possessed of a lying spirit, Jeremiah 9:3-5. It is of unspeakable concern to us all, to possess ourselves with a dread and detestation of the sin of lying, and a reigning principle of honesty.

12:16. A foolish man is soon angry, and is hasty in expressing it; he is ever in trouble and running into mischief. It is kindness to ourselves to make light of injuries and affronts, instead of making the worst of them. 17. It is good for all to dread and detest the sin of lying, and to be governed by honesty. 18. Whisperings and evil surmises, like a sword, separate those that have been dear to each other. The tongue of the wise is health, making all whole. 19. If truth be spoken, it will hold good; whoever may be disobliged, still it will keep its ground. 20. Deceit and falsehood bring terrors and perplexities. But those who consult the peace and happiness of others have joy in their own minds. 21. If men are sincerely righteous, the righteous God has engaged that no evil shall happen to them. But they that delight in mischief shall have enough of it. 22. Make conscience of truth, not only in words, but in actions. 23. Foolish men proclaim to all the folly and emptiness of their minds. 24. Those who will not take pains in an honest calling, living by tricks and dishonesty, are paltry and beggarly. 25. Care, fear, and sorrow, upon the spirits, deprive men of vigour in what is to be done, or courage in what is to be borne. A good word from God, applied by faith, makes the heart glad. 26. The righteous is abundant; though not in this world's goods, yet in the graces and comforts of the Spirit, which are the true riches. Evil men vainly flatter themselves that their ways are not wrong. 27. The slothful man makes no good use of the advantages Providence puts in his way, and has no comfort in them. The substance of a diligent man, though not great, does good to him and his family. He sees that God gives it to him in answer to prayer. 28. The way of religion is a straight, plain way; it is the way of righteousness. There is not only life at the end, but life in the way; all true comfort.The thought which lies below the surface is that of the inseparable union between truth and justice. The end does not justify the means, and only he who breathes and utters truth makes the righteous cause clear. 16. prudent … shame—He is slow to denounce his insulters (Jas 1:19). He that speaketh truth, Heb.

He that will speak truth, i.e. he who accustometh himself to speak truth in common conversation; for the future tense in the Hebrew tongue oft notes a continued act or habit.

Showeth forth righteousness, to wit, as a witness in public judgment; he will speak nothing but what is true and just; you may depend upon his testimony.

But a false witness deceit; he who useth himself to lying in his common talk will use falsehood and deceit in judgment.

He that speaketh truth showeth forth righteousness,.... He that "blows" or "breathes out truth" (d), as the word signifies; that utters it freely and fully without any hesitation; that speaks nothing but truth, and speaks out the whole truth without any reserve; such a man upon every occasion will declare that which is just and right, and show himself to be an honest and upright man; he that uses himself to speak truth in common conversation, will, in a court of judicature, whether upon his oath or not, testify that which is just and the real matter of fact; there is a connection between truth and righteousness, for though they are distinct things they go together, what is true is just, and what is just is true; so he that speaks the truth of the Gospel, or is a faithful preacher of it, will show forth righteousness, what is the righteousness of the law, and what is the righteousness of faith; how insufficient a man's own righteousness is to justify him in the sight of God; the necessity of the righteousness of Christ, how free and full, excellent and glorious, suitable and useful it is, Romans 1:17;

but a false witness deceit; that is, one that is used to lying, when he is called to give testimony upon any affair in judgment, he will declare that which is false and deceitful, having no regard to truth and justice. So a false teacher, instead of showing men the insufficiency of their own righteousness, and directing them to the righteousness of Christ for justification, will utter deceitful doctrine, and build up their hopes upon the sandy and deceitful foundation of their own works; as Popish teachers, and such as verge towards them.

(d) "effiat", Junius & Tremellius; "spirat", Schultens.

He that speaketh truth sheweth forth righteousness: but a false witness deceit.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 17. - He that speaketh - breatheth out fearlessly (Proverbs 6:19) - truth showeth forth righteousness. The truth always conduces to justice and right, not only in a matter of law, but generally and in all cases. Vulgate, "He who speaks that which he knows is a discoverer of justice;" Septuagint, "A just man announces well proved assurance [or, 'the open truth'] (ἐπιδεικνυμένην πίστιν)." A false witness showeth forth deceit (Proverbs 14:5, 25); exhibits his true character, which is fraud, treachery, and wrong doing. Proverbs 12:17Most of the remaining parables of this section refer to the right use and the abuse of the tongue.

17 He that breathes the love of truth, utters that which is right;

     But a lying tongue, deceit

This verse is similar in meaning to Proverbs 14:5 (where 5b equals Proverbs 6:19); the second line of the distich equals Proverbs 14:25. Everywhere else יפיח כּזבים stand together, only here יפיח is joined to אמוּנה; vid., regarding this יפיח forming an attributive clause, and then employed as an adjective, but with distinct verbal force, at Proverbs 6:19. Viewed superficially, the proverb appears tautological; it is not so, however, but places in causal connection the internal character of men and their utterances: whoever breathes אמוּנה, truth or conscientiousness (the property of the אמוּן, vid., at Psalm 12:2), i.e., lets the voice of this be heard in his utterances, such an one speaks צדק, i.e., uprightness, integrity, that which is correct, right (Isaiah 45:19, cf. Isaiah 41:26), in relation to truth in general, and to the present case in particular; but he who עד שׁקרים, i.e., he who, against better knowledge and the consciousness of untruth, confirms by his testimony (from עוּד, revertere, to say again and again), therewith gives utterance to his impure character, his wicked intention, proceeding from delight in doing evil or from self-interest, and diverted towards the injury of his neighbour. As אמונה and מרמה correspond as statements of the contents of the utterances, so צדק and שקרים as statements of their motive and aim. מרמה is obj. accus. of the יגּיד (from הגּיד, to bring to light, cf. נגד, visibility) to be supplied, not the pred. nom. dolorum structor, as Fleischer poetically finds.

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