What does Proverbs 29:24 mean?
ESV: The partner of a thief hates his own life; he hears the curse, but discloses nothing.
NIV: The accomplices of thieves are their own enemies; they are put under oath and dare not testify.
NASB: One who is a partner with a thief hates his own life; He hears the oath but tells nothing.
CSB: To be a thief's partner is to hate oneself; he hears the curse but will not testify.
NLT: If you assist a thief, you only hurt yourself. You are sworn to tell the truth, but you dare not testify.
KJV: Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not.
NKJV: Whoever is a partner with a thief hates his own life; He swears to tell the truth, but reveals nothing.
Verse Commentary:
Scripture often uses terms translated "love" and "hate" which carry different meanings in the modern world. In the Bible, these terms have less to do with emotion than with action, especially in comparison to each other (Genesis 29:31; Matthew 6:24; Luke 14:26; John 12:25). A person who "hates himself," in these contexts, doesn't necessarily feel self-loathing. Rather, the point is that their actions are self-damaging (Proverbs 8:36; 13:24).

This verse issues a warning to anyone who is an accomplice in a crime, specifically thievery. Helping a lawbreaker means being partly responsible for the criminal act. If someone is brought into court, and charged with abetting a criminal, they are in deep trouble. The partner to a thief, then, is his own enemy. His cooperation with an immoral person puts his own life and well-being in jeopardy.

"The curse" noted here seems to mean the Old Testament law's condemnation of criminals and those who withhold knowledge about crimes (Leviticus 5:1).
Verse Context:
Proverbs 29:12–27 completes the collection of Solomon's wise sayings (Proverbs 25:21). This passage discusses various relationships. Common themes are interactions with government leaders, parental discipline, and authority figures. Solomon also makes comments about pride and the inherent conflict between righteousness and evil.
Chapter Summary:
Much of this passage refers to negative consequences of unwise attitudes or behavior: stubbornness leads to brokenness. Lack of self-control brings shame. Ignorant, ungodly rulers spread sin and corruption. Pride leads to humiliation. Most of these statements follow the two-part pattern established elsewhere in the book of Proverbs. The final lesson summarizes the deep difference between those who are godly and those who pursue their own desires.
Chapter Context:
This concludes the collection of Solomon's proverbs which King Hezekiah's men collected (Proverbs 25:1). Like previous passages, chapter 29 contrasts wisdom and folly, the benefits of heeding God's law and the devastating consequences of disobeying it, and the blessings of righteousness compared to the curses of sin.
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 1:18:56 PM
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