Smooth Talkers

Reading the Word

A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet.(Proverbs 29:5, ESV)

Understanding and Applying the Word

This proverb speaks of one who flatters his neighbor. The word translated “flatters” is a word that means “smooth talks” or “slippery”. The idea is one who uses words to deceive or manipulate in order to get a desired result. This is not a good neighbor. The second half of the verse is less clear. It tells us that the smooth talker spreads a net for “his feet”, but whose feet are we talking about? Is it the feet of the smooth talker or of the neighbor?

If the verse is speaking of the feet of the neighbor, we see how the smooth talker uses his words to set a trap. This certainly makes sense. However, if we read the next verse in Proverbs 29:6, it speaks of an evil man who is ensnared in his transgression. This sounds exactly like what is happening in today’s passage. The smooth talker will be ensnared in his transgression. Eventually, evil catches up to everyone, even those who seem to get away with it. In the end, all people will stand before the all-knowing God and answer for every thought, word, and deed. There is no evil that goes unseen. The wise live their lives understanding this.

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