Proverbs 16:27
An ungodly man digs up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.
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(27) Diggeth up evil.—Digs, as it were, a pit for others by his malicious plottings and slanders (Psalm 7:15).

In his lips there is as a burning fire.—“Set on fire of hell” (James 3:6).

Proverbs 16:27-28. An ungodly man diggeth up evil — Invents or designs mischief to others, and prosecutes his evil designs with great and constant industry; in his lips is as a burning coal — As his thoughts, so also his words, are very vexatious and pernicious; his tongue is set on fire of hell, and sets himself and others on fire, by lies, slanders, and other provoking speeches. A froward man — Or perverse, who perverteth his words and ways; soweth strife — By speaking such things as may provoke one against another; and a whisperer — Who secretly carries tales from one to another; separateth chief friends — Makes a breach between those who were most dear to one another.16:27,28. Ungodly men bestow more pains to do mischief than would be needful to do good. The whisperer separates friends: what a hateful, but how common a character! 29,30. Some do all the mischief they can by force and violence, and are blind to the result. 31. Old people especially should be found in the way of religion and godliness. 32. To overcome our own passions, requires more steady management, than obtaining victory over an enemy. 33. All the disposal of Providence concerning our affairs, we must look upon to be the determining what we referred to God; and we must be reconciled to them accordingly. Blessed are those that give themselves up to the will of God; for he knows what is good for them.The four verses speak of the same thing, and the well-known opprobrious name, the "man of Belial," stands at the head as stigmatizing the man who delights in causing the mischief of which they treat.

Diggeth up evil - i. e., Digs an evil pit for others to fall into. Compare Psalm 7:15.

27. ungodly man—(Compare Pr 6:12).

diggeth up evil—labors for it.

in his lips … fire—His words are calumniating (Jas 3:6).

Diggeth up evil; inventeth or designeth mischief to others, and prosecuteth his evil designs with great and constant industry.

In his lips there is as a burning fire; as his thoughts, so also his words are very vexatious and pernicious; his tongue is set on fire of hell, and sets himself and others on fire by lies and slanders, and other provoking speeches. An ungodly man diggeth up evil,.... Or "a man of Belial" (p), a worthless unprofitable man; a man without a yoke, not obedient to the law of God; such a man digs for sin as for a treasure; nor need he go far for it, he has enough in his own heart, out of the evil treasure of which he brings forth evil things; though he is more solicitious and diligent to search into the sins of others, and dig up them, which have long lain buried; as the Manichees raked up the sins of Austin in his youth; and as the Papists served Beza: but perhaps the evil of mischief is here rather intended, which a wicked man contrives and devises; a ditch he digs for others, though oftentimes he falls into it himself; and so the Septuagint and Arabic versions render it, "digs evils for himself"; not intentionally but eventually; see Psalm 7:15;

and in his lips there is as a burning fire; his tongue is a fire, it is set on fire of hell, and it sets on fire the course of nature; and with its lies, calumnies, and detractions, devours and consumer the good names, characters, and credit of men; and deserves no other than sharp arrows of the Almighty, and coals of juniper; even the everlasting fire and flames of hell, James 3:6.

(p) "vir Belijahal", Montanus, Tigurine version, Mercerus.

An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a {m} burning fire.

(m) For he consumes himself and others.

27. ungodly] Rather, worthless, R.V. See Proverbs 6:12, note.

diggeth up] This is the literal meaning of the word, but it is here used metaphorically of one who digs pits for his neighbour, as a hunter for his prey, Psalm 7:15 [Heb. 16], Psalm 57:6 [Hebrews 7]. We may therefore render, deviseth, with R.V.

burning] Rather, scathing, or, as R.V., scorching. His words blight and wither, like the great forest fire, by which “all faces are scorched” (Ezekiel 20:47 [Heb. 21:3], where the Heb. word is the same).Verse 27. - This and the three following verses are concerned with the case of the evil man. An ungodly man - a man of Belial - diggeth up evil. A man of Belial (Proverbs 6:12) is a worthless, wicked person, what the French call a vaurien. Such a one digs a pit for others (Proverbs 26:27; Psalm 7:15), devises mischief against his neighbour, plots against him by lying and slandering and overreaching. Wordsworth confines the evil to the man himself; he digs it as treasure in a mine, loves wickedness for its own sake. But analogy is against this interpretation. Septuagint, "A foolish man diggeth evils for himself." So Ecclus. 27:26, "Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein; and he that setteth a trap shall be taken therein." As the gnome says -

Ἡ δὲ κακὴ βουλὴ τῷ βουλεύσαντι κακίστη. And in his lips there is as a burning fire (Proverbs 26:23) His words scorch and injure like a devouring flame. James 3:6, "The tongue is a fire: the world of iniquity among our members is the tongue, which defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the wheel of nature, and is set on fire by hell." Septuagint, "And upon his lips he treasureth up fire." Four proverbs of wisdom with eloquence:

21 The wise in heart is called prudent,

     And grace of the lips increaseth learning.

Elsewhere (Proverbs 1:5; Proverbs 9:9) הוסיף לקח means more than to gain learning, i.e., erudition in the ethico-practical sense, for sweetness of the lips (dulcedo orationis of Cicero) is, as to learning, without significance, but of so much the greater value for reaching; for grace of expression, and of exposition, particularly if it be not merely rhetorical, but, according to the saying pectus disertos facit, coming out of the heart, is full of mind, it imparts force to the instruction, and makes it acceptable. Whoever is wise of heart, i.e., of mind or spirit (לב equals the N.T. νοῦς or πνεῦμα), is called, and is truly, נבון [learned, intelligent] (Fleischer compares to this the expression frequent in Isaiah, "to be named" equals to be and appear to be, the Arab. du'ay lah); but there is a gift which highly increases the worth of this understanding or intelligence, for it makes it fruitful of good to others, and that is grace of the lips. On the lips (Proverbs 10:13) of the intelligent wisdom is found; but the form also, and the whole manner and way in which he gives expression to this wisdom, is pleasing, proceeding from a deep and tender feeling for the suitable and the beneficial, and thus he produces effects so much the more surely, and beneficently, and richly.

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