These Six Things… Yea, Seven (a false witness who breathes out lies)
In Solomon’s list of seven things that God detests from Proverbs 6:16-19, the sixth item found at the beginning of verse 19 says “a false witness who breathes out lies” (see below for links to the posts on the other items in the list). This is similar to the second item from verse 17 that God finds abominable: “a lying tongue.” The word translated lying and the word translated false are the same Hebrew word. A “false witness” is a lying witness and a “lying tongue” is a false tongue.
We ought to be slowing down at this point. In listing seven things that God detests, two have to do with lying. Two out of seven. God takes truth telling seriously because God loves the truth and speaks the truth and he can not lie (Numbers 23:19; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18).
Whereas “a lying tongue” from verse 17 was rather open ended in terms of its application, here we have lying that accompanies one who is a witness. The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) translates the verse as “a lying witness who gives false testimony.” The job of a witness is to give honest testimony. Bruce Waltke says that the idea here “refers to one who consciously communicates what is false, against the truth.” Stop and re-read that description from Waltke. One who “consciously communicates what is false, against the truth."
Here are five cross-references worth reading and meditating on:
Proverbs 12:17 - Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence, but a false witness utters deceit.
Proverbs 14:5 - A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness breathes out lies.
Proverbs 14:25 - A truthful witness saves lives, but one who breathes out lies is deceitful.
Proverbs 19:5 - A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will not escape.
Proverbs 19:9 - A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will perish.
Where does lying show up in your life? Where do you consciously communicate what is false, speaking against the truth? Repent and confess and ask God to give you a heart (and mouth!) for truth like his.
Other Posts in the Series:
Haughty Eyes post
A Lying Tongue post
Hands that shed innocent blood post
A heart that devises wicked plans & feet that make haste to run to evil post