Proverbs 27:6
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
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(6) Faithful are the wounds of a friend—i.e., the “open rebuke” of the previous verse, the “smiting” and “reproof” of Psalm 142:5.

The kisses of an enemy are deceitful.—Rather, plentiful, showered upon one, but all meaningless.

27:1 We know not what a day may bring forth. This does not forbid preparing for to-morrow, but presuming upon to-morrow. We must not put off the great work of conversion, that one thing needful. 2. There may be occasion for us to justify ourselves, but not to praise ourselves. 3,4. Those who have no command of their passions, sink under the load. 5,6. Plain and faithful rebukes are better, not only than secret hatred, but than love which compliments in sin, to the hurt of the soul. 7. The poor have a better relish of their enjoyments, and are often more thankful for them, than the rich. In like manner the proud and self-sufficient disdain the gospel; but those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, find comfort from the meanest book or sermon that testifies of Christ Jesus. 8. Every man has his proper place in society, where he may be safe and comfortable.Deceitful - Better, abundant. Very lavish is the enemy of the kisses that cover perfidy, but lavish of them only. His courtesy goes no deeper. 5, 6. secret love—not manifested in acts is useless; and even, if its exhibition by rebukes wounds us, such love is preferable to the frequent (compare Margin), and hence deceitful, kisses of an enemy. Faithful are the wounds; they proceed from an upright, and truly loving, and faithful soul, and really promote the good of the person reproved. The wounds; the sharpest reproofs, which for the present wound his spirit and reputation.

The kisses; all the fair speeches and outward professions of friendship.

Are deceitful; or, are to be deprecated; are perfidious and pernicious, and such things as one may pray to God to be delivered from them. Or, are forced, like things which are procured with great difficulty, and many entreaties.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend,.... That is, friendly reproofs; which, though they may be severe, at least thought so, and may grieve and wound, and cause pain and uneasiness for the present, yet, proceeding from a spirit of love, faithfulness, and integrity, and designed for the good of the person reproved, ought to be kindly received; see Psalm 141:5;

but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful; flow from a deceitful heart, and not to be confided in, as the kisses of Joab and Judas. It may be rather rendered, "are to be deprecated" (y); prayed against, as real evils, hurtful and pernicious; and so the Targum renders it, "are evil". Good is the advice of Isocrates (z),

"reckon them faithful, not who praise everything thou sayest or doest, but those that reprove what is amiss.''

(y) "deprecanda", Junius & Tremillius, Piscator, Cocceius, Amama. (z) Ad Nicoclem, p. 38.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are {c} deceitful.

(c) They are flattering and seem friendly.

6. deceitful] This rendering follows the fraudulenta of the Vulgate; whereas earnest (A.V. marg.) may be due to the ἑκούσια of the LXX. The alternative rendering of A.V. marg., frequent, or, as it is happily given in R.V., profuse, is to be preferred. He overdoes his part.

Verse 6. - Faithful are the wounds of friend. This and the next verse afford examples of the antithetic form of proverb, where the second line gives, as it were, the reverse side of the picture presented by the first. The wounds which a real friend inflicts by his just rebukes are directed by truth and discriminating affection (see Psalm 141:5). But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. So St. Jerome, Fraudulenta oscula odientis. But the verb here used (עתר) has the meaning, among others, "to be abundant or frequent;" hence it is better to take it in this sense here, as "plentiful, profuse." An enemy is lavish with his Judas kisses to hide his perfidy and hatred. Septuagint, "More to be trusted are the wounds of a friend than the spontaneous (ἑκούσια) kisses of an enemy." "Non omnis qui parcia," wrote St. Augustine ('Ep.,' 48, 'ad Vincent.'), "amicus est, neque omnis qui verberat, inimicus." Proverbs 27:66 Faithful are the wounds of a friend,

   And overloaded [plentiful] the kisses of an enemy.

The contrast to נאמנים, true, i.e., honourable and good (with the transference of the character of the person to his act), would be fraudulenta (Jerome), or נהפכות, i.e., false (Ralbag); Ewald seeks this idea from עתר, to stumble, make a false step;

(Note: Thus also Schultens in the Animadversiones, which later he fancied was derived from עתר, nidor, from the meaning nidorosa, and thence virulenta.)

Hitzig, from עתר equals (Arab.) dadhr, whence dâdhir, perfidus, to gain from; but (1) the comparison does not lie near, since usually the Arab. t corresponds to the Heb. שׁ, and the Arab. d to the Heb. ז; (2) the Heb. עתר has already three meanings, and it is not advisable to load it with yet another meaning assumed for this passage, and elsewhere not found. The three meanings are the following: (a) to smoke, Aram. עטר, whence עתר, vapour, Ezekiel 8:11, according to which the Venet., with Kimchi's and Parchon's Lex., translates: the kisses of an enemy συνωμίχλωνται, i.e., are fog; (b) to sacrifice, to worship, Arab. atar; according to which Aquila: ἱκετικά (as, with Grabe, it is probably to be read for ἑκούσια of the lxx); and agreeably to the Niph., but too artificially, Arama: obtained by entreaties equals constrained; (c) to heap up, whence Hiph. העתיר, Ezekiel 35:13, cf. Jeremiah 33:6, according to which Rashi, Meri, Gesenius, Fleischer, Bertheau, and most explain, cogn. with עשׁר, whose Aram. form is עתר, for עשׁר is properly a heap of goods or treasures.

(Note: Vid., regarding this word, Schlottmann in Deutsch.-Morgenl. Zeitschrift, xxiv. 665, 668.)

This third meaning gives to the kisses of an enemy a natural adjective: they are too abundant, so much the more plentiful to veil over the hatred, like the kisses by means of which Judas betrayed his Lord, not merely denoted by φιλεῖν, but by καταφιλεῖν, Matthew 26:49. This, then, is the contrast, that the strokes inflicted by one who truly loves us, although they tear into our flesh (פּצע, from פּצע, to split, to tear open), yet are faithful (cf. Psalm 141:5); on the contrary, the enemy covers over with kisses him to whom he wishes all evil. Thus also נעתרות forms an indirect contrast to נאמנים.

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