A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who tells lies will perish.
The battle had not gone well that day. Many of Israel's fighters had fallen on the field. A young Amalekite watched as the king of Israel struggled to stay on his feet. It was evident from the shafts of the arrows sticking out of his body that he had been hit by the archers and would not survive the day. As the events unfolded before his eyes - he watched as Israel's king then took his own sword and fell upon it - then he watched the king's armor bearer do the same. He was horrified as this took place - knowing that this battle was about to be lost badly. But he also saw an amazing opportunity as his eyes became fixed on the crown that lay only inches from the king's fallen body. He quickly rushed to the king and scooped up the crown - put it in his satchel and fled to the rear of the conflict.
As he ran that day visions of grandeur filled his mind. He knew exactly where he was going. He headed for David's camp - for he had heard many speak of David's exploits. "This one will be king some day, mark my words!" Those were the words he had heard from a commander of a hundred who had later defected to David. He smiled a wicked smile as he weaved a web of deceit that would tell the king how he himself had helped the king - and now was bringing his crown to the heir apparent. His plan was completed in his head just about the moment that he reached the outskirts of the camp.
He immediately was stopped by a sentry who asked his business. "I have news of the battle for David," was his reply. He did not miss that the sentry noticed the crown just inside his satchel. Seeing that expedited the process whereby he could see the future king. His mind raced with all that would be done for him. He would be rich and influential at last. All it would cost him was one little lie.
He related his story to David. Israel had fled in battle, defeated before the Philistines. Then David asked of the welfare of the king. He related his falsehood - making it seem that he was being merciful by killing Saul in battle. Now he had come to bring David the crown.
David's response was anything but what he was expecting. He was horrified by the defeat of his nemesis. Wasn't Saul the one who was chasing him around the wilderness? Wasn't Saul the one who supposedly threw a spear at this young man - more than once. The Amalekite's horror was far worse though when he heard David ask why he was not afraid to stretch out his hand against the Lord's annointed? Before he could answer, one of the young men who attended David unsheathed his sword and came toward him. His lie did not yield him riches or position - unless one meant the wealth of pain and the position of a fool as he felt the glinted steel pierce his chest. He was not exalted for his news - but struck down. As his life ebbed from his body he felt the dust from his fall settling around his face. The only reward he had received was that of the death of a fool who thought he could advance himself through lies and deceit.
Solomon surely heard this story from his father, David. Punctuated by this very truth he knew that a false witness will be punished. He will be punished when the web of his own deceit is exposed. How often had he seen this before his very eyes as he experienced it himself - and watched others caught by their own web - rather than catching the ones they intended to mislead.
The liar will pay the penalty of his lies. And if he persists in them - if he continuously lies to others, as this proverb states, he will perish. The one who remains a liar - whose very life is defined by being a false witness - will spend eternity along with the one whose main descriptor is "the father of lies." Lying will get you somewhere. It will get you destruction and devastation for all eternity with the devil himself - the ultimate false witness - the ultimate liar.
Proverb a Day
Each day, we'll take a look at a verse from the chapter of Proverbs for the day. Our hope is to gain wisdom each day - and from that wisdom - to have understanding to make godly decisions in the throes of everyday life.
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