Scripture reading – Proverbs 28; Proverbs 29
This is the second of two Bible studies for the day, with the first from Proverbs 28 and this one from Proverbs 29. This brief devotional will focus on Proverbs 29:24. Once again, my amplifications of word meanings are stated in italics and within brackets.
Proverbs 29:24 serves as a reminder that, when it comes to sin, one’s failure to be a tattletale, informer, snitch, or rat is not a matter of neutrality but may afford sinners aid and comfort in their sins. Solomon taught his son:
Proverbs 29:24 – “Whoso is partner [i.e., divide the spoils] with a thief hateth [is the enemy of; detests] his own soul [life; person; being]: he heareth cursing [oaths; swearing], and bewrayeth it not.” [i.e., fails to expose or rebuke]
Notice the couplet format of Proverbs 29:24. We find two illustrations of one truth in the proverb. What is that truth?
You Are Liable for What You Know (Proverbs 29:24a)
The first lesson in personal liability was: “Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul” (29:24). To be a thief is a violation of the commandment, “Thou shalt not steal” (Exodus 20:15). The same is true should we “partner” with a thief and divide the spoils.
However, what if our partnership with a thief is our silence? In other words, we observe a thief steal, but we do not intervene or, if questioned, conceal the theft by our silence. Solomon warned, in effect, you detest or harm your soul.
You Are Liable for What You Hear (Proverbs 29:24b)
The second lesson in personal liability concerns hearing someone curse but failing to correct or rebuke them. I suggest the third commandment, “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain” (Exodus 20:6), is the latter example when we read, “He heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not” (29:24b). To “bewray” is to tell or bring to the attention of another. Thus, to “bewrayeth it not” is to be silent or fail to correct or inform another.
Closing thoughts –
“Tattletale” is a taunting label children give peers who expose them and their sins to responsible authorities. While we are silent regarding sin, we may earn the questionable friendship of a thief or beguiler, but sacrifice our integrity and soul.
Permit me the liberty of a broader application:
We live in volatile times, and many biblically sound institutions are tragically adrift from their founders’ sacred principles and convictions. I have witnessed churches, schools, and Bible colleges steered from their conservative, biblical legacies by “progressive” pastors and administrators while their staff, faculty, and church members remain silent.
Are you guilty of being numbered with the silent ones who have “tacitly partnered” with leaders plotting a subtle departure from the course and principles of your institution’s past? Have you watched and listened silently as the founding character of your institution’s past and legacy were “cursed” and besmirched?
Warning: You share in the sins of your leaders, and your silence “bewrayeth” the sacred trust of those who went before you. Criticize some who dare to speak but–
I’d rather “sing like a canary in a coal mine” than be a silent Judas!
Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith
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