Proverbs 16:28
A fraudulent man sows strife: and a whisperer separates chief friends.
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(28) A froward man.—Who distorts the truth.

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.

28. (Compare Pr 6:14; 10:31).

whisperer—prater, talebearer (Pr 18:8; 26:20).

A froward man; or, perverse man, who perverteth his words and ways; who pleaseth not God, and is contrary to men, as was said of the Jews, 1 Thessalonians 2:15.

Soweth strife, by whispering such things as may provoke one against another.

A whisperer, who secretly carries tales from one to another, publishing those evil words and actions which they should conceal, and detracting from their good actions, and perverting such as are innocent with their false constructions.

Chief friends, Heb. a chief friend; the singular number put for the plural, as is frequent in the Hebrew text. A froward man soweth strife,.... Or "a man of perversenesses" (q); in whose heart is frowardness and perverseness; and whose mouth speaketh froward and perverse things, contrary to reason, law, and Gospel; and who has a spirit of contradiction, and is contrary to all men in his principles and practices; such a man sows discord and strife wherever he comes, in families, in neighbourhoods, in churches, in commonwealths, in civil and religious societies; and he seldom fails of finding a soil fit for his purpose, or ground susceptive of the seed he sows, where it takes root and thrives; see Proverbs 6:19;

and a whisperer separateth chief friends; one that goes from place to place, from house to house, carrying tales, whispering into the ears of persons things prejudicial to the characters of others, mere lies and falsehoods; such a man by his conduct separates one friend from another, even chief friends, that have been for a long time in the closest and most intimate friendship; he alienates their minds one from another, so that they will not come near one another, or keep up any correspondence as before. The word for "chief friends" is in the singular number, and signifies a prince or leader; and such men, according to the station they are in, and the influence they have, separate princes, as the Vulgate Latin version renders it, from their subjects, and stir up the latter to rebel against them; at least alienate their affections from them; and pastors of churches from their flocks, and husbands from their wives: and such a man, at last, when found out, separates his best friends from himself, as well as from one another; who drop him as a worthless person, yea, as dangerous to converse with; so sin, that whisperer and agitator, separates between God and men, Isaiah 59:2.

(q) "vir perversitatum", Montanus, Baynus, Schultens; "vir perversitatibus deditus", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.
28. soweth] Rather, scattereth abroad, R.V. διαπέμπεται κακὰ, LXX. Comp. Proverbs 6:14.

separateth chief friends] “Or, alienateih his friend,” R.V. marg. See Proverbs 19:7.Verse 28. - A froward man soweth strife (Proverbs 6:14, 19). The verb means, literally, "sends forth," which may signify "scatters as seed" or "hurls as a missile weapon." The character intended is the perverse man, who distorts the truth, gives a wrong impression, attributes evil motives; such a one occasions quarrels and heartburnings. And a whisperer separateth chief friends (Proverbs 17:9). Nirgan is either "a chatterer," or "a whisperer," "calumniator." In Proverbs 18:8 and Proverbs 26:20, 22 it is translated "tale bearer." "Be not called a whisperer (ψίθυρος)," says the Son of Sirach (Ecclus. 5:14), speaking of secret slander. "Slanderers," says an old apothegm, "are Satan's bellows to blow up contension." Septuagint, "A perverse man sendeth abroad evils, and kindleth a torch of deceit for the wicked, and separateth friends." The alternative rendering of the second clause, "estrangeth a leader," i.e. alienates one leader from another, or from his army, is not confirmed by the authority of the versions or the best commentators. 22 A fountain of life is understanding to its possessor;

     But the correction of fools is folly.

Oetinger, Bertheau, and others erroneously understand מוּסר of the education which fools bestow upon others; when fools is the subject spoken of, מוּסר is always the education which is bestowed on them, Proverbs 7:22; Proverbs 1:7; cf. Proverbs 5:23; Proverbs 15:5. Also מוסר does not here mean education, disciplina, in the moral sense (Symmachus, ἔννοια; Jerome, doctrina): that which fools gain from education, from training, is folly, for מוסר is the contrast to מקור חיּים, and has thus the meaning of correction or chastisement, Proverbs 15:10, Jeremiah 30:14. And that the fruits of understanding (Proverbs 12:8, cf. שׂכל טוב, fine culture, Proverbs 13:15) represented by מקור חיים (vid., Proverbs 10:11) will accrue to the intelligent themselves, is shown not only by the contrast, but also by the expression: Scaturigo vitae est intellectus praeditorum eo, of those ( equals to those) who are endowed therewith (The lxx well, τοῖς κεκτημένοις). The man of understanding has in this intellectual possession a fountain of strength, a source of guidance, and a counsel which make his life secure, deepen, and adorn it; while, on the contrary, folly punishes itself by folly (cf. to the form, Proverbs 14:24), for the fool, when he does not come to himself (Psalm 107:17-22), recklessly destroys his own prosperity.

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