Proverbs 21:28
A false witness shall perish: but the man that hears speaks constantly.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(28) But the man that heareth (carefully, and repeats accurately) speaketh constantly (his testimony will live).—Comp., “he being dead yet speaketh,” Hebrews 11:4.

Proverbs 21:28. A false witness — Hebrew, עד כזבים, A witness of lies; one who is forward to swear or speak false things, or such things as he hath neither heard nor seen, but devised in his own heart; shall perish — Shall be severely punished, either by God or men, and shall be confounded and silenced, because none will for the future regard or credit his testimony. But the man that heareth — Before he speaks, and witnesseth nothing but what he has heard or seen, and knows to be true; speaketh constantly —

Doth not contradict himself, but always affirms the same thing. Or, as most interpreters render לנצח ידבר, speaketh, or may, or shall speak for ever. He dare speak freely and boldly; and, when liars are cut off, he lives, and is in a capacity of speaking and bearing witness again and again, as occasion requires, as long as he lives, and his testimony will be received.21:9. It is best to shun bitter contention by pouring out the heart before God. For by prudence and patience, with constant prayer, the cross may be removed. 10. The evil desires of a wicked man's heart, lead to baseness in his conduct. 11. The simple may be made wise by punishments on the wicked, and by instructions to those who are willing to be taught. 12. Good men envy not the prosperity of evil-doers; they see there is a curse on them. 13. Such as oppress the poor by beating down wages, such as will not relieve according to their ability those in distress, and those in authority who neglect to do justice, stop their ears at the cry of the poor. But doubtless care is to be used in the exercise of charity. 14. If money can conquer the fury of the passions, shall reason, the fear of God, and the command of Christ, be too weak to bridle them? 15. There is true pleasure only in the practice of religion. 16. Of all wanderers in the ways of sin, those are in the most dangerous condition who turn aside into the ways of darkness. Yet there is hope even for them in the all-sufficient Saviour; but let them flee to him without delay. 17. A life of worldly pleasure brings ruin on men. 18. The righteous is often delivered out of trouble, and the wicked comes in his stead, and so seems as a ransom for him. 19. Unbridled passions spoil the comfort of all relations. 20. The plenty obtained by prudence, industry, and frugality, is desirable. But the foolish misspend what they have upon their lusts. 21. True repentance and faith will lead him that relies on the mercy of God in Christ, to follow after righteousness and mercy in his own conduct. 22. Those that have wisdom, often do great things, even against those confident of their strength. 23. It is our great concern to keep our souls from being entangled and disquieted. 24. Pride and haughtiness make men passionate; such continually deal in wrath, as if it were their trade to be angry. 25,26. Here is the misery of the slothful; their hands refuse to labour in an honest calling, by which they might get an honest livelihood; yet their hearts cease not to covet riches, pleasures, and honours, which cannot be obtained without labour. But the righteous and industrious have their desires satisfied. 27. When holiness is pretended, but wickedness intended, that especially is an abomination. 28. The doom of a false witness is certain. 29. A wicked man bids defiance to the terrors of the law and the rebukes of Providence. But a good man asks, What does God require of me? 30,31. Means are to be used, but, after all, our safety and salvation are only of the Lord. In our spiritual warfare we must arm ourselves with the whole armour of God; but our strength must be in the Lord, and in the power of his might.Speaketh constantly - His testimony abides evermore who repeats simply what he has heard, whether from the lips of men or from the voice within, in contrast with "the false witness." 28. (Compare Pr 19:5).

that heareth—or heeds instruction, and so grows wise.

speaketh constantly—or sincerely (compare Hab 1:5), and hence is believed (Pr 12:19; Jas 1:19).

A false witness, Heb. a witness of lies; one who is forward to swear or speak false things, or such things as he hath not heard nor learned from others, nor seen, but devised in his own heart.

Shall perish; shall be severely punished, either by God or men, and shall be confounded and silenced, because none will for the future regard or credit his testimony. The man that heareth; he who hears before he speaks, and witnesseth nothing but what he hath heard or seen, and knows to be true.

Speaketh constantly; doth not contradict himself, but always affirmeth the same thing. Or, as most other interpreters render the words, speaketh (or, may speak, dare speak freely and boldly) for ever; when liars are cut off, he lives, and is in a capacity of speaking and bearing witness again and again, as occasion requires, as long as he lives, and his testimony will be received. A false witness shall perish,.... As witness he shall perish in his reputation, no credit shall be given him, he shall not be admitted an evidence, or a witness in any cause, being found a false one; and as a man, he shall be punished in body or estate by the civil magistrate, and his soul shall perish eternally, unless he has true repentance for his sin: or, a witness of lies shall perish (k) it may be applied to any teacher of false doctrine; and to the man of sin, and his followers, that speak lies in hypocrisy; everyone that loves and makes a lie shall die the second death, and be excluded from eternal happiness, Revelation 21:8;

but the man that heareth; before he speaks, and speaks what he hears, and does not devise things himself; but witnesses the truth, and nothing else, to the best of his knowledge:

speaketh constantly; invariably and consistently, what is all of a piece, and by which he ah, des; or "continually", as Jarchi; or "for ever"; he is made use of as a witness as long as he lives, whenever there is occasion for him; the Vulgate Latin version renders it, "he speaks victory"; his testimony, being true and valid, carries the cause: it, nay be applied to a faithful teacher, who hearkens to the word of God, and speaks according to that; such an one speaks out, he doctrine of the word constantly, boldly, with certainty, without any hesitation or staggering.

(k) "testis mendaciorum", Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis, Schultens.

A false witness shall perish: but the man that heareth {m} speaketh constantly.

(m) He may boldly testify the truth that he has heard.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
28. that heareth] Either (1) who listens to the voice of duty and of conscience (ἀνὴρ ὑπήκοος, LXX.; vir obediens, Vulg.); or (2) who simply states in evidence what he has heard, “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” (qui non nisi quæ ipse audivit testatur Maurer). Comp. ὃ ἑωράκαμεν καὶ ἀκηκόαμεν ἀπαγγέλλομεν ὑμῖν, 1 John 1:3.

constantly] Lit. for ever, so as to endure, R.V. marg. He will live on to speak, in contrast to the false witness who will perish. This preserves the parallelism better than shall speak unchallenged, (R.V. text), i.e. shall speak on, without being interrupted by cross-questioning, or objection, because his testimony will carry conviction, and be listened to with respectful silence.Verse 28. - (For the first hemistich, see Proverbs 6:19; Proverbs 19:5, 9.) Shall perish. His testimony is worthless, and both he and it come to nothing. The man that heareth speaketh constantly; Vulgate, vir obediens; Septuagint, Ἀνὴρ ὑπήκοος φυλασσόμενος λαλήσει, "An obedient man will speak guardedly." "The man that heareth" is one who is attentive, who listens before he speaks, and reports only what he has heard. Such a one will speak "for continuance," so that what he says is never falsified, or silenced, or refuted. Vulgate, loquetur victoriam. And so Aquila, Theodotion, and Symmachus, εἰς νίκος. Revised Version, unchallenged. The expression thus rendered is lanetsach, which means, in Hebrew at any rate, in perpetuum, "for continuance." But St. Jerome's rendering has been much used by the Fathers, who have drawn therefrom lessons of obedience. Thus St. Augustine, 'In Psalm.,' 70, "Sola obedientia tenet palmam, sola inobedientia invenit poenam.' St. Gregory, ' Moral,' 35:28, "An obedient man in truth speaketh of victories, because, when we humbly submit ourselves to the voice of another, we overcome ourselves in our heart" (Oxford transl.). See a long dissertation on obedience in the note of Corn. a Lapide on this passage of Proverbs. 22 A wise man scaleth a city of the mighty;

     And casteth down the fortress in which they trusted.

Ecclesiastes 9:14. is a side-piece to this, according to which a single wise man, although poor, may become the deliverer of a city besieged by a great army, and destitute of the means of defence. עלה, seq. acc., means to climb up, Joel 2:7; here, of the scaling of a fortified town, viz., its fortress. עז is that which makes it עיר עז, Isaiah 26:1 : its armour of protection, which is designated by the genit. מבטחה, as the object and ground of their confidence. The vocalization מבטחה, for mibtachcha (cf. Jeremiah 48:13 with Job 18:14), follows the rule Gesen. 27, Anm. 2b. The suff., as in לאתננּה, Isaiah 23:17, is lightened, because if its mappik, Michlol 30b; vid., regarding the various grounds of these formae raphatae pro mappicatis, Bttcher, 418. If a city is defended by ever so many valiant men, the wise man knows the point where it may be overcome, and knows how to organize the assault so as to destroy the proud fortress. With ויּרד, he brings to ruin, cf. עד רדתּהּ, Deuteronomy 20:20.

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