Proverbs 26:21-24
Prov 26:21 (KJB)
As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.
Contentious - One who disputes
Here we have two comparisons which teach how people can get caught up into strife. First we have the piece of coal. The coal itself is just a stagnant cold rock which by itself does nothing. When it is placed next to a burning coal, it eventually starts to burn as the coal which ignited it. Secondly, if you have a fire, such as a campfire, you will have wood already burning in the campfire and you will have a pile of wood next to it that is waiting to be used. The pile of wood next to the fire is not burning. However, when a person takes a piece of wood and places it in the fire, the wood begins to burn. These give an illustration of how the contentious man kindles strife. A contentious man may approach someone he knows and begins telling him some type of story and that person he is telling it to starts to become agitated until he is convinced that the contentious man is right. That person was not agitated or contentious until the disputer came and started talking to him. The contentious people have the ability to plant strife where there is no strife. We must be on guard that we do not court the contentions of an angry man.
Prov 26:22 (KJB)
The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
Talebearer - Slanderer
Innermost Part - Inner chamber
Not only is the fool revealing their foolishness when they speak but here we have a verse which teaches that those who gossip or slander about others are just as foolish. Slander is just like a deep wound which goes into a person’s heart. The word “innermost part” also speaks of an inner chamber in a home and normally that inner chamber is hidden from the outside world. One who slanders, especially a friend, is like wounding you deep within the inner recesses of your heart, a place that only you can experience. Usually a slanderer uses gossip and slander to build themselves up by comparing themselves to the one they are slandering. The great deception about being a slanderer, is that you never win the approval of people and you will be labeled as a slanderer and it will be almost impossible to make any close friends. It will affect every part of their life and eventually the words they used against someone else, will become a wound in their own life.
Prov 26:23 (KJB)
Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross.
Burning - To burn or set on fire
Dross - The Impurities separated from molten metal also from a cognate which means “to deviate.”
Here is a verse which speaks about fraudulent friendship. Those who speak nice things but in reality are speaking things from a wicked heart concerning their friends are no better than if you purchased a piece of pottery which was overlaid with silver dross rather than real silver. If the pottery is sold as silver, then if it ever breaks, the reality of the lesser value of it becomes apparent. It is the same with phony friendships. They may look like they are overlaid with silver but in reality they are nothing but dross and the one who is the dross always deceives the other person into thinking they are his friend. These types of friendships always become known when the innocent party hits hard times and the phony friend runs for cover and is nowhere to be found.
Prov 26:24 (KJB)
He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him;
Dissembleth - Disguise or false appearance
Layeth up - To set or to place
Many people are too good at what is being taught in this verse. It is speaking of being deceptive with the words. Their heart is filled with deceit and as they are hating the one they are speaking to or about. Their hatred is being cloaked in false appearance with words which speak the opposite. It is like organized crime, on one hand they speak nice to you and then the contract goes out to kill you. There are many who hate people and speak with words of adoration which are totally opposite of what they are really feeling. Eventually the deep seated hatred will manifest itself sooner or later and in a different and maybe more destructive manner. No one can hide hatred for a long period of time because it is like a volcano ready to erupt at any moment.