Proverbs 6:19

ESV a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.
NIV a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.
NASB A false witness who declares lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers.
CSB a lying witness who gives false testimony, and one who stirs up trouble among brothers.
NLT a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family.
KJV A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

What does Proverbs 6:19 mean?

Solomon has been describing a series of sins which God particularly "hates" (Proverbs 6:16–18). Among these are arrogance, violence against the innocent, evil planning, and eagerness to commit evil.

It's interesting that Solomon has already referred to "a lying tongue" (Proverbs 6:17), and now refers to someone who provides false testimony. In a literal sense, this would be a person who gives a deliberately wrong account in a trial, or a legal claim. The original phrasing here depicts someone who "breathes lies as a false witness." If there is a meaningful difference between this statement and the one in verse 17, it might involve the audience of those lies. God not only hates it when we lie "to" someone in order to deceive, He also hates it when we lie "about" someone to deceive others.

When Jesus was arrested and put on trial, His enemies tried to find false witnesses against him (Matthew 26:59–60). Finally, two false witnesses came forward and accused Jesus of blasphemy (Matthew 26:60–61). Liars, including false witnesses, contrast sharply with the Lord's total integrity. He not only spoke the truth; He is the truth (John 14:6). He is identified in Revelation 1:5 as "the faithful witness."

The last item listed is something of a summary of the prior six points. The ESV translates this sin as those who "sow discord." To "sow" is a reference to farming and means to deliberately plant seeds. The person who "sows discord" uses gossip, lies, unfounded accusations, negative criticism, and backbiting to accomplish his goal. The result which "sprouts" from those actions is strife. Life is hard enough, as it is—it's deeply sinful to create even more conflict between those who ought to be working together.

False teachers stirred up trouble in early churches by demeaning Paul and discrediting his message. At the very beginning of his letter to the churches of Galatia, Paul identified himself as an apostle through Jesus Christ and God the Father (Galatians 1:1), and he assured his readers that his message was the one and only true gospel (Galatians 1:6–9). The first and most effective way to thwart a troublemaker is to refuse to listen to him.
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