Proverbs 25:19
Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.
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Proverbs 25:19. Confidence in an unfaithful man, &c. — “As a broken tooth, or leg out of joint, not only fails a man when he comes to use them, but likewise puts him into pain; so doth a faithless person serve them that depend upon him, when they have the greatest need of his help; and such also is the confidence that a faithless person himself places in riches, or craft, or great friends, &c, which some time or other will disappoint him to his great grief, when he expects the most from them.” — Bishop Patrick.25:19. Confidence in an unfaithful man is painful and vexatious; when we put any stress on him, he not only fails, but makes us feel for it. 20. We take a wrong course if we think to relieve those in sorrow by endeavouring to make them merry. 21,22. The precept to love even our enemies is an Old Testament commandment. Our Saviour has shown his own great example in loving us when we were enemies. 23. Slanders would not be so readily spoken, if they were not readily heard. Sin, if it receives any check, becomes cowardly. 24. It is better to be alone, than to be joined to one who is a hinderance to the comfort of life. 25. Heaven is a country afar off; how refreshing is good news from thence, in the everlasting gospel, which signifies glad tidings, and in the witness of the Spirit with our spirits that we are God's children! 26. When the righteous are led into sin, it is as hurtful as if the public fountains were poisoned. 27. We must be, through grace, dead to the pleasures of sense, and also to the praises of men. 28. The man who has no command over his anger, is easily robbed of peace. Let us give up ourselves to the Lord, and pray him to put his Spirit within us, and cause us to walk in his statutes.Stress is to be laid on the uselessness of the "broken tooth" and the "foot out of joint," or tottering, rather than on the pain connected with them. The King James Version loses the emphasis and point of the Hebrew by inverting the original order, which is "a broken ... joint is confidence" etc. 19. Treachery annoys as well as deceives. It is not only deceitful, but hurtful, as a broken tooth though it make show of helping, yet is not only unhelpful to a man for chewing his meat, but also troublesome and painful; and as a foot out of joint doth not help, but hinder and pain, him that attempts to walk upon it. Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble,.... It is not good to put confidence in any man, not in princes, nor in the best of men; much less in an unfaithful, prevaricating, and treacherous man; and especially in a time of distress and trouble, depending on his help and assistance, which is leaning on a broken reed, and trusting to a broken staff. Or, "the confidence of an unfaithful man in time of trouble" (o); that which he puts confidence in; who trusts in his riches, or in his righteousness, or in his own heart, all which are vain and deceitful:

is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint; which are so far from being of any use, the one in eating food, and the other in walking, that they are both an hindrance to those actions, and cause pain and uneasiness: or, "a bad tooth", so the Targum and Syriac version; a rotten one.

(o) "fiducia praevaricatoris", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Gejerus; "fiducia perfidi", Cocceius, Michaelis.

Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.
Verse 19. - Hebrew (see on Ver. 11), A broken tooth, and a foot out of joint - confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble. A faithless man is as little to be relied on in a time of need as a loose or broken tooth, and a foot unsteady or actually dislocated. You cannot bite on the one, you cannot walk on the other; so the perfidious man fails you when most wanted. Septuagint, "The way [ὁδὸς, Vatican, is probably a clerical error for ὀδοὺς, al.] of the wicked, and the foot of the transgressor, shall perish in an evil day." A Bengal maxim runs, "A loose tooth and a feeble friend are equally bad" (Lane). The following comparative tristich refers to faithful service rendered by words:

Like the coolness of snow on a harvest day

Is a faithful messenger to them that send him:

He refresheth the soul of his master.

The coolness (צנּה from צנן, צנן, to be cool) of snow is not that of a fall of snow, which in the time of harvest would be a calamity, but of drink cooled with snow, which was brought from Lebanon or elsewhere, from the clefts of the rocks; the peasants of Damascus store up the winter's snow in a cleft of the mountains, and convey it in the warm months to Damascus and the coast towns. Such a refreshment is a faithful messenger (vid., regarding ציר, Proverbs 13:17, here following קציר as a kind of echo) to them that send him (vid., regarding this plur. at Proverbs 10:26, cf. Proverbs 22:21); he refreshes, namely (ו explicativum, as e.g., Ezekiel 18:19, etenim filius, like the ו et quidem, Malachi 1:11, different from the ו of conditional clause Proverbs 23:3), the soul of his master; for the answer which he brings to his master refreshes him, as does a drink of snow-cooled water on a hot harvest day.

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