Proverbs 17:7; Proverbs 14:5
Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince.
A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies.
CHARLES BRIDGES (1794-1869): This might seem to be a truism, unworthy of inspiration. But a closer inspection brings out a valuable maxim of practical wisdom. A faithful witness is moved neither by entreaties nor bribes, neither by promises nor threats, to swerve from truth. He is the man to trust. He will not lie. But a false witness has lost all principle of truth. He will utter lies, without any inducement but his own interest―“Much less do lying lips become a prince,” the minister and guardian of truth, Proverbs 16:10. Yet in a world where self reigns supreme, such inconsistencies are but too prevalent.
MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Lying ill becomes any man, but so corrupt is modern policy, which insinuates that princes ought not to make themselves slaves to their words further than is for their interest.
WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): I have heard that politicians can make use of a state lie—though the credit of it lasts but a little while—for great advantage to their designs.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Oh, how often we hear this brought up! You are told to regard the difference between right and wrong everywhere, except when you get into politics; then stick to your party through thick and thin. Right and wrong vanish at once. Loyalty to your leader—that is the point. Never mind where he leads you, follow him blindly. You are even told that you may do wrong because it is politically right. I hate such an argument!
JOHN GILL (1697-1771): A prince neither should speak lies himself, nor encourage them in others; but abhor them.
PHILIP MELANCTHON (1497-1560): “Lying lips are abomination to the Lord: but they that deal truly are his delight,” Proverbs 12:22. The Lord recommends to us the love and care of truth―for truth being among the chiefest and most conspicuous virtues, therefore the contrary vice is condemned by an expressive Hebrew word, תועבה―abomination: that is, such an evil as God detests with a singular indignation.
ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): In this place it may be proper to ask, What is a lie?
C. H. SPURGEON: It is deceit that dreads detection!
GEORGE SEATON BOWES (circa 1820’s-1880’s): When the question, “What is truth?” was proposed at a Deaf and Dumb Institution, one of the boys drew a straight line.
“And what is falsehood?”
The answer was a crooked line.
ADAM CLARKE: A lie is any action done, or word spoken, whether true or false in itself, which the doer or speaker wishes the observer or hearer to take in a contrary sense to that which he knows to be true. It is, in a word, any action done or speech delivered with the intention to deceive.
CHARLES BRIDGES: Diversified indeed are its forms—falsehood, exaggeration, coloring, willful perversion, wrong impressions produced or encouraged…A false witness does not always deal with open lying but with deceit—truth misrepresented, concealed and thus turned into falsehood. Thus was Doeg a false witness against the priests. He states the fact, but by suppression of circumstances gives a false impression, 1 Sameul 21:1-7; 1 Samuel 22:9-10.
ADAM CLARKE: [But some may say] ‘I have not told a lie; I have suppressed only a part of the truth.’
WILLIAM ARNOT (1808-1875): This kind of dishonesty is still dishonest.
H. A. IRONSIDE (1876-1951): A half-truth is often a whole lie.
C. H. SPURGEON: Half the truth is a lie…When Abraham said to Abimelech, concerning his wife, “She is my sister,” Genesis 20:12, she was his sister, in a sense—there was some truth in what he said—but she was more than his sister—so he was uttering a lie for which he was rightly rebuked by the heathen prince!
THOMAS HUTTON (1856-1926): In a British Court of Law a witness is responsible before God “to speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”
CHARLES BRIDGES: In this view a strict attention to truth forms a primary point―the boundary line must never be trifled with―anything less than truth is a lie. Even if no one is deceived by it, a habit is fostered, of which we cannot tell to what it may grow. “He that is unfaithful in that which is least, is unfaithful also in much,” Luke 16:10. The indulgence of a lie soon banishes all fear of an oath. The careless liar, if occasion needs, scruples not to become a false witness.
MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546): A lie is a snowball. The longer it is rolled on the ground, the larger it becomes.
THOMAS COKE (1747-1814): When a man is entangled in one lie, he is led of course to forge many more to support himself in it.
MATTHEW HENRY: It is a rule in the devil’s politics: “To cover sin with sin, in order to escape detection.”
CHARLES BRIDGES: Lying, even if it suits our purpose as an easy escape from difficulty is a miserable short-lived policy! “A lying tongue is but for a moment, Proverbs 12:19. And what will be the relief of this short moment under the tremendous wrath of God? God’s own people have always found this momentary escape from trouble to be followed by shame and confusion. The lie of the Gibeonites ended in their confusion, Joshua 9. The fruit of Gehazi’s lie was the pleasure for a moment. The shame endured unto the end, 2 Kings 5:25-27―None are so visibly blasted as those who make no conscience of a lie…With this sin were Ananias and Sapphira hurried into eternity, Acts 5:1-10. The willful liar proves his parentage, John 8:44, and will be classed in eternity with all that is hateful…His base means often bring him to shame on this side of the grave. But however this be, shame will be his “everlasting recompense.”
C. H. SPURGEON: “But the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped,” Psalm 63:11. The mouths of liars will be stopped by the sexton with a shovel full of earth, if in no other way; for it seems as if some liars would never cease lying as long as they are alive. But every lying tongue in all the world shall be silent one day at the judgment bar of God.
CHARLES SIMEON (1759-1836): Let not any think lightly of this sin: for so detestable is it in the sight of God, that He has given us this solemn warning, “All liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death,” Revelation 21:8
THOMAS COKE: A corrupted, lying, abusive, perverse tongue brings death to the soul.
THOMAS SCOTT (1747-1821): And as we must foresee the dreadful misery of all impenitent slanderers and liars, in the everlasting fire of hell; let us in meekness warn them of their danger, “if God peradventure will give them repentance, to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will,” 2 Timothy 2:25,26.