- Dr. Stieglitz
Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 19:5
"A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who tells lies will not escape."
Everybody lies – it’s no big deal – is what many people think in our culture. This is not true. God, through Solomon, wants to point out the consequences of lying and breaking the 9th commandment. There are not enough reminders of the dangers of lying.
The word witness is the Hebrew word ed. It comes from the root word which means to repeat, return, or do again. The idea seems to clearly have grown into the word of a firsthand witness to actual events that you repeat or verbally return to again.
In the case of OT law, the witness to a capital crime had to be the first person throwing the stone to begin the capital punishment process. (Deuteronomy 17:7; Acts 7:58)
This is the Hebrew word seqer which is the word for lie or lying or deceptive. When a person is a deceptive witness, he/she is testifying to the truth of something that did not happen or did not happen that way. This person is distorting the actual truth of a situation to their own favor or to deflect blame coming their way. There are five forms of this lying witness. The Cruel lie motivated by getting back at another; the Cowardly lie motivated by a desire to escape blame or punishment; the Conceited lie motivated by the desire to appear more important and significant than one really is; the Calculated lie motivated by greed or selfish desires; the Convenient lie which is motivated by laziness and the desire to escape work.
This is the Hebrew word naqi which means clear, free, innocent, acquitted. The truth stated in this proverb is that the person who moves through life solemnly telling people that which is not true is going to be caught in lies and will have significant consequences for this behavior.
Many times people do not remember that the meaning in life comes from their relationships. Life is relationships and all the meaning and significance that I derive from life comes from my relationships. If your relationships are built on lies – or you try and live in the midst of lies – then depth of relationships will be greatly damaged.
Think about what happens when you find out that someone has been lying to you. They don't like you; they weren't where they said; they really perceive you differently than they said; they have had an affair; they did steal from you. All these things break trust and destroy joy, meaning, significance, and connection between people. You destroy yourself when you lie.
This is the Hebrew word malat which means to be delivered, escape, saved. The liars always believe that one more lie will deliver them; one more lie will allow them to escape the punishment. It is not true. There will eventually be a day of reckoning, and liars will not escape. Even if there is a temporal escape, it will be without your relationships. Eventually the more you lie, the more alone you become as more and more people realize that they cannot trust you.
Solomon is trying to help the person who has found lying as the new wonder key that unlocks pleasures and avoids punishments in their life. Solomon reminds you this key will get you into a lot more trouble than it gets you out of, and it will lead to a level of aloneness and misery that you should avoid at all costs. Tell the truth.
If you have a habit of lying, you need to begin to memorize Scripture and repeat it over and over again during the day to rebuild the pathways of truth in your soul. Tell the truth.