What does Proverbs 30:10 mean?
ESV: Do not slander a servant to his master, lest he curse you, and you be held guilty.
NIV: "Do not slander a servant to their master, or they will curse you, and you will pay for it.
NASB: Do not slander a slave to his master, Or he will curse you and you will be found guilty.
CSB: Don’t slander a servant to his master or he will curse you, and you will become guilty.
NLT: Never slander a worker to the employer, or the person will curse you, and you will pay for it.
KJV: Accuse not a servant unto his master, lest he curse thee, and thou be found guilty.
NKJV: Do not malign a servant to his master, Lest he curse you, and you be found guilty.
Verse Commentary:
This teaching functions much like a heading for the next several verses. In the widest sense, the lesson is to "mind your own business." Interpreters see two ways to render this verse; both imply the dangers of criticizing others without exceptionally good cause (Proverbs 24:28; 26:17). The more common reading condemns false accusations about a servant. The master is likely to recognize the lies as false and react with offense. The other interpretation is that one should not encourage a servant to speak poorly of their master, with the same risks.

"Slander" is criticism which is untrue and harmful (Proverbs 10:18; Leviticus 19:16; Mark 7:22). This includes exaggerating a situation or misrepresenting it with the intent of causing harm. Lying about something a servant has done only makes their difficult life that much harder. Their master is liable to "curse" the critic and even take them to court for a false accusation. Such punishment would be well deserved. In the same way, it is wrong to tempt servants—or employees, or workers—to invent gossip about their supervisors. Some commentators have linked the principle of this proverb to the idea of being a "tattletale:" one who unnecessarily magnifies minor concerns.

Apparently, slander and bickering were common in the Galatian churches. The apostle Paul specifically commanded the Galatians to serve one another through love (Galatians 5:13). He warned, "But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another" (Galatians 5:15). Writing to the Ephesians, Paul exhorts: "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted" (Ephesians 4:32). It has been observed that the only bit that can bridle the tongue (James 1:26) is love.
Verse Context:
Proverbs 30:5–14 continues the "oracle" attributed to Agur. He begins by praising God's Word as true. He warns against adding to what God says. Agur then prays asking for God's protection from certain spiritual errors. He then begins making wise observations about life and certain kinds of bad behavior. Several comments in this passage include the phrase "there are those," commenting on various common sins. Agur's humility and desire for honesty shine through in this passage of Scripture.
Chapter Summary:
This chapter contains the teachings of Agur, who is only known through this passage. Humility and a sense of one's own limitations are key themes in this section. Agur prays for God's providence and warns about the sins of arrogance, greed, and rebelliousness. He marvels at how the ungodly can sin without care, not realizing their fate. He then notes the way some insignificant animals accomplish great things and comments on the effects of confidence. The chapter ends with a reminder that stirring up anger leads to trouble.
Chapter Context:
This chapter falls between a collection of Solomon's wise sayings (Proverbs 25—29) and King Lemuel's proverbs (Proverbs 31). Chapter 30 contains the wise sayings of Agur, who is otherwise unknown. He may have been the son of Jakeh. His teachings are called an oracle: a weighty message from God. Humility and warnings about arrogance are recurring themes in this chapter.
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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