Proverbs 26:19
So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?
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26:2. He that is cursed without cause, the curse shall do him no more harm than the bird that flies over his head. 3. Every creature must be dealt with according to its nature, but careless and profligate sinners never will be ruled by reason and persuasion. Man indeed is born like the wild ass's colt; but some, by the grace of God, are changed. 4,5. We are to fit our remarks to the man, and address them to his conscience, so as may best end the debate. 6-9. Fools are not fit to be trusted, nor to have any honour. Wise sayings, as a foolish man delivers and applies them, lose their usefulness. 10. This verse may either declare how the Lord, the Creator of all men, will deal with sinners according to their guilt, or, how the powerful among men should disgrace and punish the wicked. 11. The dog is a loathsome emblem of those sinners who return to their vices, 2Pe 2:22. 12. We see many a one who has some little sense, but is proud of it. This describes those who think their spiritual state to be good, when really it is very bad. 13. The slothful man hates every thing that requires care and labour. But it is foolish to frighten ourselves from real duties by fancied difficulties. This may be applied to a man slothful in the duties of religion. 14. Having seen the slothful man in fear of his work, here we find him in love with his ease. Bodily ease is the sad occasion of many spiritual diseases. He does not care to get forward with his business. Slothful professors turn thus. The world and the flesh are hinges on which they are hung; and though they move in a course of outward services, yet they are not the nearer to heaven. 15. The sluggard is now out of his bed, but he might have lain there, for any thing he is likely to bring to pass in his work. It is common for men who will not do their duty, to pretend they cannot. Those that are slothful in religion, will not be at the pains to feed their souls with the bread of life, nor to fetch in promised blessings by prayer. 16. He that takes pains in religion, knows he is working for a good Master, and that his labour shall not be in vain. 17. To make ourselves busy in other men's matters, is to thrust ourselves into temptation. 18,19. He that sins in jest, must repent in earnest, or his sin will be his ruin. 20-22. Contention heats the spirit, and puts families and societies into a flame. And that fire is commonly kindled and kept burning by whisperers and backbiters. 23. A wicked heart disguising itself, is like a potsherd covered with the dross of silver.The teacher cuts off the plea which people make when they have hurt their neighbor by lies, that they "did not mean mischief," that they were "only in fun." Such jesting is like that of the madman flinging firebrands or arrows. 18, 19. Such are reckless of results. That wrongs him under a false pretence of kindness and familiarity.

So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour,.... By telling him a lie; or by reporting false things concerning him; or by cheating him in trade and commerce; or by taking his goods privately from him; and, when caught in either of these,

and saith, Am not I in sport? do not be angry, I designed no hurt; it is all in jest, a mere joke: but, had he not been apprehended, it would have been in earnest, as he was. This is only an excuse, and as absurd an one as if a man should set fire to his neighbour's house and barns, or throw arrows at him, or strike him with any instrument of death, as the sword, &c. and then say he was only in jest, or pretend madness.

So is the man that deceiveth {i} his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?

(i) Who disguises himself to be that which he is not.

19. in sport] Fatal mischief may come of thoughtlessness apart from malice.

Proverbs 26:19These verses form a tetrastich:

18 As a man who casteth brands,

     And arrows, and death;

19 So is the man who deceiveth his neighbour,

     And saith: I only make sport.

The old translations of מתלהלה are very diverse. Aquila has rendered it by κακοηθιζόμενος; Symmachus: πειρώμενοι; the Syr.: the vainglorious; the Targ.: מתּחת (from נחת), a successor (spiritually); Jerome: noxius (injurious; for which Luther: secret). There is thus no traditional translation. Kimchi explains the word by השׁתגע (Venet. ἐξεστώς); Aben Ezra by השׁתטה (from שׂטה), to behave thoughtlessly, foolishly; but both erroneously, confounding with it ותּלהּ, Genesis 47:13, which is formed from להה and not from לההּ, and is related to לאה, according to which מתלהלה would designate him who exerts himself (Rashi, המתיגע), or who is worn out (Saadia: who does not know what to do, and in weariness passes his time). The root לההּ (להּ), whence the reflex form התלהלהּ, like התמהמהּ, from מההּ, מהּ) leads to another primary idea. The root להּ presents in (Arab.) âliha (vid., Fleischer in the Comm. zur Genesis, p. 57), waliha, and taliha, formed from the 8th form of this verb (aittalah), the fundamental meaning of internal and external unrest; these verbs are used of the effect of fear (shrinking back from fear), and, generally, the want of self-command; the Syr. otlahlah, to be terrified, obstupescere, confirms this primary conception, connecting itself with the R. להּ. Accordingly, he who shoots every possible death-bringing arrow, is thought of as one who is beside himself, one who is of confused mind, in which sense the passive forms of (Arab.) âlah and talah are actually used. Schultens' reference to (Arab.) lâh micare, according to which כמתלהלה must mean sicut ludicram micationem exercens (Bttcher: one who exerts himself; Malbim: one who scoffs, from התל), is to be rejected, because מתלהלה must be the direct opposite of משׂחק; and Ewald's comparison of (Arab.) wâh and akhkh, to be entangled, distorted, lâh, to be veiled, confounds together heterogeneous words. Regarding זקּים (from זנק), burning arrows, vid., under Isaiah 50:11. Death stands third, not as comprehensive (that which is deadly of every kind), but as a climax (yea, even death itself). The כּן of the principal sentence, correlate to כּ of the contiguous clause, has the Makkeph in our editions; but the laws of the metrical Makkeph require כּן אישׁ (with Munach), as it occurs e.g., in Cod. 1294. A man who gives vent to his malice against his neighbour, and then says: seest thou not that... (הלא, like Arab. âlâ), i.e., I am only jesting, I have only a joke with thee: he exhibits himself as being mad, who in blind rage scatters about him deadly arrows.

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