Proverbs 26:18, 19 - Some Thoughts on Deception and Joking.

Proverbs 26:18, 19 - Some Thoughts on Deception and Joking.

Proverbs 26:18, 19 (TNIV) Like a maniac shooting flaming arrows 
of death 19 is one who deceives a neighbor and says, "I was only 

Proverbs 26:18, 19 (NLT) Just as damaging as a madman shooting a 
deadly weapon 19 is someone who lies to a friend and then says, "I was 
only joking."  

Proverbs 26:18, 19 (MSG) People who shrug off deliberate 
deceptions, saying, "I didn't mean it, I was only joking," 19 Are worse than 
careless campers who walk away from smoldering campfires.  


The troublemaker (vv. 17-28). This category includes meddlers 
(v. 17), pranksters (vv. 18-19), talebearers (vv. 20-22), and 
deceivers (vv. 23-28). [Chapter by Chapter Bible Commentary by Warren 

26:17-22 These proverbs describe a person who uses his words 
carelessly. Examples include interfering in other people's arguments (v. 
17), deceiving people as a joke without concern for the consequences 
(vv. 18-19), and gossiping, especially where gossip provokes conflict 
(vv. 20-21). Verse 22 directly warns the reader that gossip is 
seductive, and the proverb serves as a bridge to the next section (vv. 
23-28), on the liar.  [ESV SB 2008]  


As dangerous as the maniac (v. 18), and as deadly in his 
actions, is the man who plots against his neighbor's welfare and, when 
discovered, alleges that he was only joking. Serious harm is often caused by 
those who find pleasure in seeing their friends in trouble as a result 
of foolish tricks. [SDA Bible Commentary] 

An act of deception is not funny. [Andrews SB]

I was only joking! A lame excuse does not undo the damage done. 
[NIV SB 2008] 

The person who makes a joke of his thoughtlessness is a 
dangerous person to be around. [Ryrie SB] 

Making jokes at another's expense shows foolishness. Playing on 
another's emotions and intentions is dishonest and malicious. We need to 
find better ways to gain attention. [Disciple SB] 

Lies are extremely dangerous because they lead people to act on 
false information. Liars cannot cover up later by claiming that they 
were only joking.  [NLT SB 2008]  

The subject of this proverb is not simply a deceiver, but one 
who does so out of jest, or at least who claims he was joking 
afterward. The participle has the idea of "laughing, mocking"; in this 
context it might convey the idea of "kidding" or "joking." The point is 
that such practical joking is immature and often dangerous. To the 
foolish deceiver it might all seem like fun, like sport; but it can 
destroy people. One cannot trifle with dangerous weapons, or put them in 
irresponsible hands; likewise one cannot trifle with human relationships. W. 
G. Plaut notes, "The only worthwhile humor is that which laughs 
with, not at others" (Proverbs, 270). [NET SB] 


Proverbs 10:23 To do evil is like sport to a fool, But a man of 
understanding has wisdom.  

Proverbs 14:9 Fools mock at sin, But among the upright there is 

Proverbs 15:21 Folly is joy to him who is destitute of 
discernment, But a man of understanding walks uprightly.  

Ephesians 5:4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor 
coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.  


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