Proverbs 22:28

ESV Do not move the ancient landmark that your fathers have set.
NIV Do not move an ancient boundary stone set up by your ancestors.
NASB Do not move the ancient boundary Which your fathers have set.
CSB Don't move an ancient boundary marker that your ancestors set up.
NLT Don’t cheat your neighbor by moving the ancient boundary markers set up by previous generations.
KJV Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.

What does Proverbs 22:28 mean?

The final negative command in this chapter refers to cheating others out of land or property. The technique described is manipulation of markers or records. The boundaries of a field—or other important lines (Genesis 31:51–52)—were often designated by the arrangement of stones at the perimeter. Apparently, a means of stealing land was to move those stones, making it appear as if the border was in a different place (Deuteronomy 19:14; Job 24:2; Hosea 5:10). Equivalent deceptions in the modern era might be moving a fence, changing a map, uprooting surveyor's stakes, or altering a document.

Before Israel entered Canaan, the Promised Land, the Lord commanded them: "You shall not move your neighbor's landmark, which the men of old have set, in the inheritance that you will hold in the land that the LORD your God is giving you to possess" (Deuteronomy 19:14). Later, when Moses gathered the people together, he told them to divide by tribes and stand on two mountains, Mount Gerizim to hear blessings and Mount Ebal to hear curses. Among the curses is this one: "Cursed be anyone who moves his neighbor's landmark" (Deuteronomy 27:17).

In a broader sense, this proverb could be interpreted as a warning not to discard the boundaries set by prior generations. A modern adage notes that before one takes down a fence, it's important to know why it was put up in the first place. Each new generation questions the moral or social restrictions of their ancestors; while not all such restrictions are good, it's also not good to throw away those boundaries simply because they are ancient.
What is the Gospel?
Download the app: