These Six Things… Yea, Seven (one who sows discord)
The KJV version of Proverbs 6:16 has Solomon saying, “These six things doth the LORD hate: Yea, seven are an abomination unto him.” We have finally arrived at the “yea” (see below for links to the posts on the first six items in the list). What is the final item in Proverbs 6:19 that Solomon says God detests? Here is a sampling of some of the English translations.
ESV - one who sows discord among brothers (“in a family” NLT).
NIV - a person who stirs up conflict in the community.
NASB - one who spreads strife among brothers.
HCSB - one who stirs up trouble among brothers.
Combining the various translations ought to cause to pause: God detests one who sows discord… stirs up conflict… spreads strife… and stirs up trouble.
This behavior of “sowing discord” was already in Solomon’s mind back in 6:14. Now having given a lengthy list for us to ponder, he returns to this item. But he not only says that God detests or finds abominable “one who sows discord” generally, he says specifically that God detests or finds abominable one who does so “among brothers.” Once more I’m thankful for commentator Bruce Waltke’s insights. He says that “sowing discord among brothers” is the worst sort of behavior. The words “among brothers” in Hebrew
… can denote blood relatives ranging from full blood brother (Gen. 25:26) to kinsman (Gen. 14:14) to a fellow countryman (Gen. 31:32; 18:19)… (This) stands in contrast to “foreigner” (see Proverbs 2:16; 5:10; Deut. 17:15; 23:19–20[20–21]), emphasizing now the effects of disruptive behavior on much more close-ranging loyalties.
God takes unity amongst his people very seriously. Whether that be within a family, a group of co-workers, roommates, or especially within the church, unity matters! I see in my own heart certain situations and occasions where I take joy in stirring up trouble for my own selfish gain and interests. God hates this. I want to hate this as well.
This past Sunday we saw from Philippians 2:1-4 that gospel benefits compel gospel unity. In response to the benefits of the gospel, we must live together in unity. The gospel calls the church to live together in unity. Jesus himself devoted a considerable amount of his prayer on the night of his betrayal/arrest/death to praying that we would be one (John 17:11, 21-23). By the grace that God supplies, we need to NOT sow discord. We need to count others more significant than ourselves and look not only to our interests but also to the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-4).
Have you or do you set people against each other? Commentator Eric Lane has a penetrating thought to consider:
The first meaning of ‘heretic’ is ‘one who divides’ rather than ‘one who is unorthodox’. It is possible to fall into unorthodoxy without causing division. It is equally possible, but far more common, to remain orthodox and foment a party spirit.
May we be “doers of the word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22). May we find detestable the same things that God detests.
Other Posts in the Series: