Proverbs 25:18
A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow.
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(18) A maul—i.e., hammer, connected with “malleus” and “mallet.” A false witness is as mischievous as the most deadly weapons.

Proverbs 25:18. A man that beareth false witness, &c., is a maul — Or, club, by which a man’s fame and character are beaten down to the ground. And a sword, and a sharp arrow — By his tongue he is as cruel and pernicious to his neighbour as any instrument of death: he destroys him, not only when he is near, as with a sword, but when he is afar off, as with a sharp arrow shot at him.

25:17. We cannot be upon good terms with our neighbours, without discretion as well as sincerity. How much better a Friend is God than any other friend! The oftener we come to him, the more welcome. 18. A false testimony is dangerous in every thing.Maul - A heavy sledge hammer. The word is connected with "malleus:" its diminutive "mallet" is still in use. 18. A false witness is as destructive to reputation, as such weapons to the body (Pr 24:28).

beareth … witness—literally, "answereth questions," as before a judge, against his neighbor.

Is as cruel and pernicious to him as any instrument of death. The design of the proverb is to show the wickedness of slander, and that a false witness is in some respect as bad as a murderer.

A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour,.... In whose house he has often been, and whom he has frequently visited; and, observing what was done there, not only discovers and tells abroad the secrets of his family, but even things which are false; yea, in a court of judicature, appears a witness against him, and swears falsely to his hurt and prejudice. Such a man

is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow; that is, to his neighbour, against whom he bears false witness; and, by so doing, he mauls his fame, his credit, character, and reputation; and, as with a sword, takes away his life; and against whom there is no more guarding than against a sharp arrow, that comes from afar, suddenly and swiftly.

A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow.
18. a maul] “i.e. a hammer, a variation of mall, from malleus … The Hebrew and English alike occur in Proverbs 25:18 only. But a derivative from the same root, and differing only slightly in form, is found in Jeremiah 51:20, and is there translated by ‘battle-axe’ (or maul, R.V. marg.)—how incorrectly is shown by the constant repetition of the verb derived from the same root in the next three verses, and there uniformly rendered ‘break in pieces’ … There is no doubt that some heavy warlike instrument, a mace or club, is alluded to; probably such as that which is said to have suggested the name of Charles Martel.… A similar word is found once again in the original of Ezekiel 9:2 = ‘weapon of smashing’ (A.V. and R.V. text, ‘slaughter-weapon).’ The sequel shows how terrible was the destruction such weapons could effect.”—Smith’s Dict. of Bible, Art. Maul. See note in this Series on Jeremiah 51:20.

It is difficult to see why in this and the following verse (though not in Proverbs 25:14, or Proverbs 25:26,) R.V. should have followed A.V. in inverting the order of the two clauses in the Hebrew.

Verse 18. - Hebrew, A maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow - a man that beareth false witness against his neighbour (see on Ver. 11). One who bears false witness against his neighbour prepares for him the instruments of death, such as those mentioned here. "A maul" (mephits), usually a heavy wooden hammer (compare malleus and "mallet"); here a club, or mace, used in battle, ῤόπαλον (Septuagint; comp. Jeremiah 51:20). There is a kind of climax in the three offensive weapons named - the club bruises, the sword inflicts wounds, the arrow pierces to the heart; and the three may represent the various baneful effects of false testimony, how it bruises reputation, spoils possessions, deprives of life. The second clause is from the Decalogue (Exodus 20:16). Proverbs 25:18This group of proverbs has the word רע in each of them, connecting them together. The first of the group represents a false tongue:

Proverbs 25:18

18 A hammer, and a sword, and a sharp arrow -

     A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour.

An emblematic, or, as we might also say, an iconological proverb; for 18a is a quodlibet of instruments of murder, and 18b is the subscription under it: that which these weapons of murder accomplish, is done to his neighbour by a man who bears false witness against him - he ruins his estate, takes away his honour, but yet more: he murders him, at one time more grossly, at another time with more refinement; at one time slowly, at another time more quickly. מפיץ, from פּוּץ, is equivalent to מפּץ, and מפּץ from נפץ; the Syr. and Targ. have instead פדועא (פדיעא) from פּדע equals פּצע; the word פּריעא, on which Hitzig builds a conjecture, is an error of transcription (vid., Lagarde and Levy). The expression, 18b, is from the decalogue, Exodus 20:16; Deuteronomy 5:17. It is for the most part translated the same here as there: he who speaks against his neighbour as a false witness. But rightly the lxx, Jerome, the Venet., and Luther: false testimony. As אל sA .y signifies both that which is mighty equals power, and Him who is mighty equals God, so עד signifies both him who bears testimony and the testimony that is borne, properly that which repeats itself and thereby strengthens itself; accordingly we say ענה עד, to give testimony in reply - viz. to the judge who asks - or generally to offer testimony (even unasked); as well as ענה לעד, Deuteronomy 31:21, i.e., as evidence (Jerome, pro testimonio). The prep. ב with this ענה has always the meaning of contra, also at 1 Samuel 12:3; Genesis 30:33 is, however, open to question.

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