Proverbs 17:4
A wicked doer gives heed to false lips; and a liar gives ear to a naughty tongue.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Proverbs 17:4. A wicked doer — A malicious and mischievous man, whose practice and delight it is to bring trouble upon others; giveth heed to false lips — Hebrew, שׂפת און, the lip of iniquity, to any wicked counsels or speeches; to false accusations and calumnies, which give him occasion and encouragement to do mischief. And a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue — He who accustoms himself to speak what is false and wicked, delights in the like speeches of others. This proverb contains a comparison between an evil-doer and an evil-speaker, and shows their agreement in the same sinful practice of being eager to hear false and wicked speeches.17:4. Flatterers, especially false teachers, are welcome to those that live in sin. 5. Those that laugh at poverty, treat God's providence and precepts with contempt. 6. It is an honour to children to have wise and godly parents continued to them, even after they are grown up and settled in the world. 7. A fool, in Solomon's Proverbs, signifies a wicked man, whom excellent speech does not become, because his conversation contradicts it.The two clauses describe two phases of the mutual affinities of evil. The evil-doer delights in lies, the liar in bad words. 4. Wicked doers and speakers alike delight in calumny. A wicked doer, or, a malicious or mischievous man, whose practice and delight it is to bring trouble to others,

giveth heed to false lips, Heb. to lips of iniquity, to any wicked counsels or speeches, to false accusations and calumnies, which give him occasion and encouragement to do mischief.

A liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue; he who accustometh himself to false and wicked speaking delighteth in the like speeches of other men. This proverb contains a comparison between an evil-doer and an evil-speaker, and showeth their agreement in the same sinful practice of being greedy to hear false and wicked speeches. A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips,.... A man of an ill spirit, of a mischievous disposition, that delights in doing wickedness; he carefully attends to such as speak falsehood; he listens to lies and calumnies, loves to hear ill reports of persons, and takes pleasure in spreading them to the hurt of their characters; and men of bad hearts and lives give heed to seducing spirits, to false teachers, to inch as speak lies in hypocrisy, who sooth and harden them in their wickedness;

and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue: or, "to a tongue of destruction" (a); a culumniating, backbiting tongue, which destroys the good name and reputation of men; and he that is given to lying is made up of lying, or is a lie itself, as the word signifies; who roves and makes a lie, as antichrist and his followers; such an one hearkens diligently to everything that may detract from the character of those especially he bears an ill will to: or it may be better rendered, "he that hearkens to a lie gives heed to a naughty tongue" (b); for a lying tongue is a naughty one, evil in itself, pernicious in its effects and consequences.

(a) "perniciosae linguae", Tigurine version; "linguae confractionum calamitatum, injuriarum", Vatablus; "ad linguam exiliorum", Michaelis. (b) So Michaelis.

A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. false] Rather, wicked, R.V., in a wider sense.Verse 4. - A wicked doer giveth heed to false (evil) lips. A bad man delights in and hearkens to evil words; he takes pleasure in those who counsel wickedness, because they are after his own heart. Like mates with like. And a liar giveth ear to a naughty (mischievous) tongue. One who is himself mendacious listens with avidity to any tale that may injure a neighbour. however monstrous and improbable it may be. Septuagint, "A wicked man listens to the tongue of transgressors; but a just man heedeth not false lips." The Greek adds here, or in some manuscripts, after ver. 6, a paragraph which is not found in the Hebrew, Syriac, or Latin: "To him who is faithful the whole world wealth belongs; but the unfaithful is not worth an obole." On this the Fathers have frequently commented (see Corn. a Lapide, in loc.). Proverbs 16:31

31 A bright diadem is a hoary head,

     In the way of righteousness it is found -

namely, this bright diadem, this beautiful crown (Proverbs 4:8), which silver hair is to him who has it as the result of his advanced age (Proverbs 20:29), for "thou shalt rise up before the hoary head," Leviticus 19:32; and the contrast of an early death is to die in a good old age, Genesis 15:15, etc., but a long life is on one side a self-consequence, and on another the promised reward of a course of conduct regulated by God's will, God's law, and by the rule of love to God and love to one's neighbour. From the N.T. standpoint that is also so far true, as in all the world there is no better established means of prolonging life than the avoidance of evil; but the clause corresponding to the O.T. standpoint, that evil punishes itself by a premature death, and that good is rewarded by long life, has indeed many exceptions arising from the facts of experience against it, for we see even the godless in their life of sin attaining to an advanced old age, and in view of the veiled future it appears only as a one-sided truth, so that the words, Wisd. 4:9, "discretion is to man the right grey hairs, and an unstained life is the right old age," which is mediated by life experiences, such as Isaiah 57:1., stand opposed to the above proverb as its reversed side. That old Solomonic proverb is, however, true, for it is not subverted; and, in contrast to self-destroying vice and wickedness; calling forth the judgment of God, it is and remains true, that whoever would reach an honoured old age, attains to it in the way of a righteous life and conduct.

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