Concerning the last post.
Many of the recent translations miss the point of Proverbs 25:23. They usually go something like this "As a north wind brings rain, so a sly tongue brings angry looks." Not only does "sly" miss the point, but also the comparison is off. The comparison is this "As the north wind is to rain, so the backbiting tongue is to anger."
But in Palestine the north wind did never bring rain. Rain never came from the north. The north wind drove away the rain. So then, we must say that backbiting drives away anger, which is stupid, or we must say anger drives away backbiting. It is the only thing that makes sense.
The translators have fits with this passage because of the word "north." I think that some were so afraid of the word anger--the idea that it is godly to be angry with backbiting--that they turned the Scripture upside down. Shall I say they were false witnesses? No, I dasn't say that, should I? Could a milk-toast view of Christianity have influenced this translation? hmmmm.
But, on the other hand [don't you love it] it is possible to get a valid interpretation from the NIV. The lying tongue spread anger everywhere, pits brother against brother, husband against wife, etc. But the value of the traditional KJV is that it directs the anger where it belongs--against the slanderer, so that his slander comes back against him, even though he or she wants people to get mad at each other. It is the backbiter who is the culprit, not all the ones who are backbitten. There is where the anger should go: against the devil-tongued one.
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Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Pr 25:23 "The north wind driveth away rain: so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue."
Does the Lord really mean that it is not only OK but a positive good to get angry with those who destroy other's reputations by backbiting? Surely not. We must be patient, forgiving, kind, charitable, while our neighbor's reputations go up in flames--or so the message is in many churches. How long has it been since anyone in your church was disciplined by the elders for this unspeakable crime against God, the very sin of the devil himself against the church?
"Angry" means to "abhor," "indignation." In the form used here it means to "show anger" or "indignation." You are not only to be angry, but you are to show it. Your love for your neighbor's reputation requires it, and your love for the sinner requires it.
"Countenance" means the presence or person. It is translated often "before" as in Ex. 20:3 in the First Commandment, "Thou shalt have no other Gods before me." The slanderer ought to be ashamed and fearful of uttering a slander in our presence. What we think about defamation of ministers, elders, Christians, and people in general ought to be abundantly clear. If we lose friends because of it, so be it. We must not aid and abet the devil's work.
"backbiting" literally means "secret." It is what is said in secret. The slanderer speaks in secret and then lies about saying it. Those who aid and abet the slanderer cover for their lies, lying to cover lies and cover sins. It is the sin of the "whisperer" in Romans 1:29, one of the sins that shows the soul abandoned of God and given over to wickedness and reprobation of mind.
"Tongue" means "tongue." The slanderer speaks abominable things about those he hates and wishes to destory, but then denies that he said them.
Those who cover for slanderers are as bad as those who slander. Solomon showed us the way of righteousness. It is such a shame that there are so few who will bear faithful witness, but will cover for the evil. This evil will continue in our churches until Christians get mad about it.
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