Proverbs 6:16-19

Proverbs 6:16-19

Remember, these are instructions of a father to his son (6:1; cf. 6:20). Serious descriptions are given to warn the son. What he began in v. 12 he continues in this. Not only will worthless men be broken beyond healing (v. 15b), God also hates them do such things.

I think Hubbard is correct about these two passages: “If we are right in seeing ‘discord’ (v. 19) as the heart of the passage and in finding frivolous or malicious litigation as a chief expression of that discord, then we may see a contentious note in each of the first six rungs in the ladder by which we ascend to the climax of the final clause (v. 19b).” (Hubbard, 102) That is, each one of these abominations will serve to advance discord.

 

6:16-17 — 16 There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,

Seven abominations are listed here.[1] These are the things that the Lord hates. They are an abomination to him. God is not ashamed to state that He hates these things and because His displeasure or hatred against them is so clear, we must be careful to give our attention to what they are. “Man conceives of God in his heart as ‘such a one as himself’ (Ps. 1.21), looking with indifference at sin.” (Bridges) But God is not a man that He can look upon wickedness with favor (see Hab. 1:13; Ps. 5:4-5). This is the way God looks at these offenses.

The first abomination is “haughty eyes. ” The first four are tied to a body part. “Haughty (or lifted up) eyes denote a demeanor shaped by pride…pride does not allow a person to be self-critical. Thus, such people perpetuate bad behavior.” (Longman) The haughty demeanor can never bring concord; the haughty man must take first place and he will be reckoned with — if not, the unfortunate person will suffer his personal wrath. “Arrogance means self-exaltation over another person and violates the fundamentally equal honor of each individual (cf. 8:13; 16:5; 29:23).” (Waltke)

The second is “a lying tongue.” This man will play loose with the truth (cf. Hubbard) and it may have in view a legal court situation. God hates a lying tongue though it is greatly permitted and tolerable in our culture. Haughty eyes express contempt for others and a lying tongue will show contempt for their reputation and name.

The third abomination listed here is the one who is swift to shed innocent blood. If one has contempt for another then one will utilize whatever means possible to show contempt for innocent life. Here, it must be noted that shedding blood is not itself forbidden but instead, shedding innocent blood is in view. One who is haughty may not be able to murder someone but his heart is enraged against the other person (a murderous heart) and would do so if tolerated (cf. Haman in Esther).

 

6:18 — a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil,

We are brought back into the heart of the man. This is the fourth thing God hates, viz., those who devise wicked plans. Perhaps they could not lay hands upon the one on whom they look down. They can only devise a wicked plan to get them. How many people have done this in the church? In their beds, in their homes, with their brethren, they’ve devised ways to spring their wicked plan which their wicked hearts hatched. This too the Lord hates.

Fifthly, not only do they devise a wick plan, they are quick to see it come to pass. They “make haste to run to evil.” They are not reluctant victims; they are calculating perpetrators. They are zealous about their evil: “The verset ‘catches the note of urgency involved in the crime — no step spared, no second wasted, no base left uncovered in the execution of the plot.” (cited in Waltke, 347)

 

6:19 — a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.

The sixth thing is the willingness to speak a lie in a legal context. Body parts are no longer mentioned. Not only lying (e.g. second abomination) but lying under oath is abominable to the Lord.

The last thing is what we already mentioned. Discord is sown! The six abominable things will produce discord. All these can stand on their own but in this passage, they can easily be connected to lead to “discord among brothers.” [or relatives, kinsmen, or something broader] “If the heavenly ‘dew descends upon the brethren that dwell together in unity’ (Ps. cxxxiii.), a withering blast will fall on those, who, mistaking prejudice for principle, ‘cause divisions’ for their own selfish ends. …Fearful is the Lord’s mark upon them — ‘sensual, having not the Spirit.’ [Jude 19; 1 Cor. 3:3, 4]

The sower of discord among brethren, are worse than those who set fire to the houses of their neighbours. They kindle flames which burn with unrelenting fury, and set on fire families and provinces, and sometimes even nations themselves. They not only sin, but, like Jeroboam the son of Nebat, they cause multitudes of sin, destroying that charity which is the soul of every commandment, and disseminating those corrupt passions, which prove incentives to all the works of mischief. The God whose commandments are all included in love, and who sent his Son to be our peace, cannot but abhor these sons of Belial. Surely he will make their mischiefs to recoil with an awful vengeance upon their own heads. (Lawson)

ERGO — we learn the value of instructing others in the way God will treat iniquitous people (v. 15) and how He hates their ways (v. 16). It is not merely the father pointing out what his son should avoid; he is saying that God hates these things as well.

Furthermore, we must realize the serious nature of causing discord. Unless it is for God and His truth, we should humbly do all that we can to live in peace with all men, especially with our brethren in the faith. The Gospel itself causes divisions; we ought not to instigate it with our own wicked hearts. It is an abomination to our God.


[1] “The seven together present another concise and vivid description of the troublemaker; no other type of person satisfies the description.” (Waltke, 345)

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