Proverbs 12:19
The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(19) A lying tongue is but for a moment.—Being detected and silenced by the providence of God, (Comp. Psalm 64:7-8.)

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. 19. Words of truth are consistent, and stand all tests, while lies are soon discovered and exposed. The speaker of truth is constant, and always agreeable to himself, and his words, the more and longer they are tried, the more doth the truth of them appear; whereas liars, though they may make a fair show for a season, yet are easily and quickly convicted of falsehood. The lip of truth shall be established for ever,.... The man that speaks truth is and will be established in his credit and reputation among men; he is uniform and all of a piece, and what he says is believed; truth, though it may be opposed, will prevail against lies and falsehood; the word of truth, the Gospel of Christ, will stand for ever; the ministers of truth and righteousness will be continued to the end of the world; Christ, who is truth itself, abides the same to day, yesterday, and for ever;

but a lying tongue is but for a moment; if a liar speaks truth for once, he does not continue in it long, but quickly returns to his former course; or rather the lie he tells is very short lived, it is soon discovered, and he comes into contempt and disgrace, and loses all his credit and reputation among men of honour and honesty, and is sometimes suddenly snatched away by death, as Ananias and Sapphira; all error and heresy in a short time will cease and be no more; and antichrist, whose coming is with lying wonders, the direct opposite of the lip of truth, will be brought to ruin in a moment. Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and Ben Melech, who are followed by some Christian interpreters, as Montanus, and some in Vatablus, render it, "but", or "for ever, I will cause the lying tongue to cease", or "be at rest" from speaking; as if they were the words of God, threatening to cut off the lying tongue; but Jarchi and Gersom render it "for a moment", or a very short time, as we and others do; or, "whilst one winks" (f), in the twinkling of an eye; so soon is such a person removed.

(f) "at dum nictem", Schultens.

The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
19. but for a moment] Lit. while I wink. Comp. Jeremiah 49:19, where the word is rendered, suddenly.Verse 19. - The lip of truth shall be established forever. Truth is consistent, invincible, enduring; and the fact belongs not only to Divine truth (Psalm 117:2; Matthew 24:35), but to human, in its measure. Septuagint, "True lips establish testimony," pointing the last word ad as ed. Is but for a moment; literally, while I wink the eye (Jeremiah 49:19; Jeremiah 50:44). Lying never answers in the end; it is soon found out and punished (Proverbs 19:9; Psalm 52:5). Septuagint, "But a hasty (ταχύς; repentinus, Vulgate) witness hath an unjust tongue." One who gives his testimony without due consideration, or influenced by evil motives, readily fails into lying and injustice. With the latter half of the verse we may compare the gnome -

Ἀλλ οὐδὲν ἕρπει ψεῦδος εἰς γῆρας χρόνου

"Unto old age no lie doth ever live." A lie has no legs, is a maxim of wide nationality; and "Truth may be blamed, but shall ne'er be shamed." Proverbs regarding injurious and beneficial words, wise hearing and prudent silence.

13 In the transgression of the lips there lies a dangerous snare;

     The righteous escapeth from trouble.

The consecutive modus (ויּצא) is here of greater weight than e.g., at Proverbs 11:8, where the connection follows without it (ויּבא) from the idea of the change of place. The translation: but the righteous ... restores ויצא (ויצא), and ignores the syllogistic relation of the members of the proverb, which shows itself here (cf. the contrary, Proverbs 11:9) to a certain degree by ויּצא. Ewald displaces this relation, for he paraphrases: "any one may easily come into great danger by means of inconsiderate words; yet it is to be hoped that the righteous may escape, for he will guard himself against evil from the beginning." He is right here in interpreting צרה and מוקשׁ רע as the designation of danger into which one is betrayed by the transgressions of his lips, but "inconsiderate words" are less than פּשׁע שׂפתים. One must not be misled into connecting with פּשׁע the idea of missing, or a false step, from the circumstance that פּשׁע means a step; both verbs have, it is true, the common R. פש with the fundamental idea of placing apart or separating, but פּשׁע has nothing to do with פּשׁע (step equals placing apart of the legs), but denotes (as Arab. fusuwḳ fisḳ, from the primary meaning diruptio, diremtio) a sinning, breaking through and breaking off the relation to God (cf. e.g., Proverbs 28:24), or even the restraints of morality (Proverbs 10:19). Such a sinning, which fastens itself to, and runs even among the righteous, would not be called פשׁע, but rather חטּאת (Proverbs 20:9). According to this the proverb will mean that sinful words bring into extreme danger every one who indulges in them - a danger which he can with difficulty escape; and that thus the righteous, who guards himself against sinful words, escapes from the distress (cf. with the expression, Ecclesiastes 7:18) into which one is thereby betrayed. רע is the descriptive and expressive epithet to מוקשׁ (cf. Ecclesiastes 9:12): a bad false trap, a malicious snare, for מוקשׁ is the snare which closes together and catches the bird by the feet. This proverb is repeated at Proverbs 29:6, peculiarly remodelled. The lxx has after Proverbs 12:13 another distich:

He who is of mild countenance findeth mercy;

He who is litigious oppresseth souls.

(נפשׁות, or rather, more in accordance with the Hebrew original: oppresseth himself, נפשׁו.)

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