What does Proverbs 19:28 mean?
ESV: A worthless witness mocks at justice, and the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity.
NIV: A corrupt witness mocks at justice, and the mouth of the wicked gulps down evil.
NASB: A worthless witness makes a mockery of justice, And the mouth of the wicked swallows wrongdoing.
CSB: A worthless witness mocks justice, and a wicked mouth swallows iniquity.
NLT: A corrupt witness makes a mockery of justice; the mouth of the wicked gulps down evil.
KJV: An ungodly witness scorneth judgment: and the mouth of the wicked devoureth iniquity.
NKJV: A disreputable witness scorns justice, And the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity.
Verse Commentary:
Solomon (Proverbs 10:1) reflects on corrupt testimony. The idea of a "false witness" in Scripture mostly refers to legal settings: when someone lies in matters of judgment. The general idea applies to all cases of dishonesty, however. In his judicial experience Solomon probably encountered many false witnesses. This kind of evil person commits what modern courts call "perjury" and acts as if justice is a joke. This attitude is associated with those who eagerly wallow in sin (Proverbs 2:11–15; 6:12–15).

Lying under oath explicitly breaks the commandment given in Exodus 20:16: "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." False witnesses appeared at Jesus' trials and brought untrue accusations against Him (Matthew 26:59–61). Judas, who betrayed Jesus, thought it was good to do something similar by helping Jesus' enemies falsely accuse Him. He agreed to betray Christ for thirty pieces of silver. However, what he "devoured" so readily at first left a bitter taste. In the end, Judas threw the thirty pieces of silver into the temple, departed, and hanged himself (Matthew 27:3–6).
Verse Context:
Proverbs 19:22–29 continues to dispense wisdom, with a focus on integrity, the fear of the Lord, laziness, the value of discipline, the shame of unruly children, the sin of lying, and the inevitable punishment that comes with foolishness.
Chapter Summary:
Several themes are associated with these statements. Among them are the idea that personal integrity is worth much more than earthly wealth or success. Solomon discusses the unfortunate habit of favoring the rich and dismissing the poor, while commending those who care for the unfortunate. Many references are made to the consequences of foolish behavior, including the shame and punishment such things can bring.
Chapter Context:
This series of proverbs is part of Solomon's writing on wisdom (Proverbs 10:1), a long chain continuing into chapter 22. As do other segments, this speaks on the harsh realities of poverty, the need for integrity, the dangers of laziness, the value of loving discipline, and the consequences of acting foolishly.
Book Summary:
Proverbs is best understood in context with the books of Ecclesiastes and Job. In Proverbs, “wisdom” is given in short, simple, general terms. Ecclesiastes represents wisdom based on observation and experience. This often shows how the general principles of the book of Proverbs don’t apply in absolutely every circumstance. Job represents wisdom based on the experience of suffering and injustice. All three come to the conclusion that God does indeed know best, and the most sensible course of action is to follow His will.
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