Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 26:23
"Like an earthen vessel overlaid with silver dross are burning lips and a wicked heart"
Solomon is, in this section, detailing people that you should avoid. Most of these people are engaged in some form of sinning with their speech. He points out four different types of sins of speech in this section: whisperer, burning lips, hatred but flattery, lying tongue. Mark these people and steer clear of them.
earthen vessel overlaid with silver dross
The word earthen is the Hebrew word heres, which is earthenware or mud. Solomon is saying that everything about this pottery is fake. It is not really metal; it is mud. It is not really silver; it is the offscourings of silver.
drossis the impurities in metal that float to the surface when a metal is heated up. The silversmith then scoops off the impurities and has purer metal to work with. The dross contains little bits of silver, but it is really the impurities of silver.
It was not uncommon for a silversmith to put a glaze over a common mud pot to make it more durable. It could even be polished up to give the glint of silver.
Solomon is saying that there are people who look good from a distance but not up close, and they are even worse in their soul.
The word burningis the Hebrew word dalaq, which means to burn, to hotly pursue. It has been translated as chased, chasing, fiery shafts.
The idea here is that there is passion or sexual arousal in the words that the person is using. This is the person who makes sexual comments and peppers his conversation with lustful and impure references.
It is interesting that Solomon deals with the predator who is wicked to their core and sexual in almost every conversation they have. For some reason one would not expect that this type of person – who is in almost every office in our time – would have been around 3,000 years ago, but there is nothing new under the sun. Solomon makes a point of giving an analogy of what this person is like. They are fake, handsome or attractive, and have wickedness in the core of their being. They are all about lust and sexual unfaithfulness.
The wise person does not become like this and marks these people to avoid. They have a one-track mind. They fill an office with gutter language and sexual harassment.
The idea here is that this person lives in sexual unfaithfulness in their soul and thinks nothing of it. This describes the permissiveness of our society. Our culture wanted to create a society in which there were no regulations on sex, thinking that it was the laws of God that were destroying all the fun. They thought that nothing would happen if people were given permission to be unfaithful at the drop of a hat; but when you try and live outside of God's boundaries, the consequences begin to pile up: diseases, rape, harassment, child abuse, molestation, divorce, emotional destruction, lack of love, etc. Our culture is creating people like Solomon describes here: wickedness covered over by a fake attractiveness; speaking about sex and passion constantly.