What does Proverbs 25:18 mean?
ESV: A man who bears false witness against his neighbor is like a war club, or a sword, or a sharp arrow.
NIV: Like a club or a sword or a sharp arrow is one who gives false testimony against a neighbor.
NASB: Like a club, a sword, and a sharp arrow Is a person who gives false testimony against his neighbor.
CSB: A person giving false testimony against his neighbor is like a club, a sword, or a sharp arrow.
NLT: Telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting them with an ax, wounding them with a sword, or shooting them with a sharp arrow.
KJV: A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow.
NKJV: A man who bears false witness against his neighbor Is like a club, a sword, and a sharp arrow.
Verse Commentary:
"Bearing false witness" refers specifically to lying in a formal setting, such as a court case. Scripture considers this a heinous offense since it involves dishonesty and an attack on an innocent person (Exodus 20:16). Other Scriptures repeat God's condemnation of false witnesses (Proverbs 6:16–19; 19:5; 21:28). Lying about a person is sinful enough. To lie during an investigation or trial can cause irreparable harm to the victim. Giving false testimony against someone is as much an attack as hitting them with a weapon. Dishonest statements can ruin a neighbor's life, perhaps destroy his livelihood, hurt his family, and damage his reputation beyond repair.

Many people believe lies without bothering to investigate them further (Proverbs 17:4; 1 John 4:1). The psalmists knew this, as well as the habit of some to bear false testimony. One psalm prays, "Deliver me, O LORD, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue" (Psalm 120:2). Ephesians 4:25 appeals to believers to renounce lies: "Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another."
Verse Context:
Proverbs 25:15–28 provides sound counsel about personal relationships. Most of the teachings involve the best way to interact with others, whether they are friends, enemies, spouses, or strangers. Also included are suggestions about self-control.
Chapter Summary:
This chapter includes more statements from Solomon, copied by scribes of King Hezekiah many years later. The first section speaks about the risks of arrogance. The next gives comparisons which teach spiritual lessons. The last segment teaches about relationships, reputation, and self-control.
Chapter Context:
Chapter 25 begins to relate more wise statements from Solomon. Depending on where they are divided or combined, these amount to around one hundred portions of godly wisdom. These were compiled and added about 250 years after Solomon's reign by men under the direction of King Hezekiah. The phrasing used in verse 1 suggests these were copied from other records into the scrolls associated with the prior proverbs. This collection runs through the end of chapter 29.
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.
Accessed 5/29/2024 1:37:51 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.