Just Conduct to Our Neighbour
Proverbs 24:26-29
Every man shall kiss his lips that gives a right answer.…

I. TRUE WITNESS. (Ver. 26.) He who gives true and faithful answers - especially in courts of justice - delights, even as the sweetest kiss upon the mouth delights. The poet alludes to the effect upon the ear. The understanding can no more be delighted with a lie than the will can choose an apparent evil. "Strange as it may seem," says one playfully, "the human mind loses truth." We may add, "when passion does not blind the intellect to its beauty." In the court of justice, all but the guilty and those interested in his fate see the beauty of truth, and prize it above all things. Hence to speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, is the solemn oath of witnesses.

II. FALSE AND UNCALLED-FOR WITNESS. (Ver. 28.) To bear false witness strikes at the very root of conscience and moral obligation. But criminal, though in a less degree, is the volunteering of evidence without cause against another; i.e. when no object but private hatred and revenge is to be served. Compare the case of Doeg (1 Samuel 22:9, 10); the Pharisees with the wretched sinner in John 8; the words of the Lord in John 15:25. Speak evil of no man, not only that evil which is altogether false and groundless, but that which is true, when speaking of it will do more harm than good (Matthew Henry).

III. DELIBERATE DECEPTION. About a court of justice, which represents truth, there gathers a dark shade of roguery and falsehood; "persons that are full of sinister tricks and shifts, whereby they pervert the plain and direct courses of courts, and bring justice into oblique lines and labyrinths."

IV. BLIND INDULGENCE OF VINDICTIVE TEMPER. (Ver. 29; comp. Proverbs 20:22.) Nothing is more deeply impressed in the Bible than the truth of compensation or retribution. But men must not take the law into their own hands. "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith Jehovah." "Revenge is a kind of wild justice, which the more man's nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out. In taking revenge a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing it over he is superior. It is the glory of a man to pass by an offence. The man who studies revenge keeps his own wounds green, which otherwise would heal and do well" (Bacon). - J.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Every man shall kiss his lips that giveth a right answer.

WEB: An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.

The Duty of Rebuking the Wicked
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