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An Honest Person Tells the Truth
Proverbs 12:17 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
17 He who breathes out faithfulness reveals justice,
but a false witness deceit.
He who breathes out faithfulness reveals justice: He who breathes out (פּוּחַ puach) faithfulness (אֱמוּנָה emunah) means speaks the truth. Victor P. Hamilton says of this verb, “Primarily the verb means “to breathe/blow” in the negative sense of “to utter” lies, be utterly deceitful.” It is only here that puach is used in the positive sense of speaking, uttering, and breathing out the truth. Faithfulness that is rendered truth is words that are faithful to the facts. Reveals justice means to give honest evidence, that is, show what is right, honest, and correct.
but a false witness deceit: A false witness is a person that lies as easily as he takes a breath and has no pause in bearing false witness under oath or in life. The Hebrew (מִרְמָה mirmah) rendered deceit means dishonesty, treachery, or a person deliberately misleading so as to give another a false view.
The setting here is a judicial hearing, which makes the repercussion of being deceitful even more severe. In the days of Solomon, a false witness in a court of law would receive the death penalty, while being truthful can save the person’s life. So, yeah, the false witness can cause much damage when it comes to a judicial setting. The true witness brings forth faithfulness, and he is speaking, uttering, and breathing out the truth because his testimony is reliable and trustworthy. The false witness brings forth deceit and has no concern for the miscarriage of justice. The sense of this verse is the inseparable alliance between faithfulness (truth) and justice. A positive outcome isn’t a good thing if the methods used were dishonest or harmful to others, and only he who breathes out faithfulness and speaks truth makes known the justice.
 That is, speaks
 That is, the truth
 That is, gives honest evidence
 Victor P. Hamilton, “1741 פּוַּח,” ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 719.
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