Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.
Proverbs 13:17: “A wicked messenger falls into trouble, But a faithful ambassador brings health.”
The credibility of a messenger is what this proverb is about. Messengers are the means of communication, but if they change the message, they become the communication, itself. Messengers may bring news of what they have seen (Job 1:13-20), or what they have been told to say (Judges 7:23-25). Gehazi was a wicked messenger. After Naaman obeyed the Prophet Elisha and was healed of his leprosy, Elisha refused to be paid (2 Kings 5:1-19). Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, ran after Naaman and reported that Elisha changed his mind and would accept a gift. Gehazi was cursed with Naaman’s leprosy beginning then (2 Kings 5:20-27). A wicked messenger will no longer be trusted, and should lose the job. When so-called “news” sources (networks, reporters, newspapers, magazines, web pages, wire services) are guilty of misrepresenting and perverting what they report, they should never be relied upon again!
God’s Prophet, Haggai, was also God’s Messenger who was inspired to speak (Haggai 1:12-13), but the Levitical priests under Moses’ Law were messengers who had to accurately teach what was written by inspiration (Malachi 2:7). It is imperative that today, preachers and teachers of the Scriptures must not alter, add, remove, replace, or amend the inspired Word of God, or its intended message! Paul represented Jesus’ true Apostles when he said: “But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God” (2 Corinthians 4:2).
The rest of this proverb is also taught later in the Book: “Like the cold of snow in time of harvest Is a faithful messenger to those who send him, For he refreshes the soul of his masters” (Proverbs 25:13). Though an actual snowfall would not be expected during a “harvest,” yet a cold wind would certainly feel good and refreshing to those who would be harvesting in a dry climate! Just that refreshing is a faithful messenger who brings good news. Christians should freely share the good about their brethren in Christ. “For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers” (3 John 3-5). Christians who refuse to bring a good report of their brethren should no longer be trusted when discussing the church. “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.