The partner of a thief hates his own life;
he hears the curse, but discloses nothing.
The fear of man lays a snare,
but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.
Many seek the face of a ruler,
but it is from the Lord that a man gets justice.
An unjust man is an abomination to the righteous,
but one whose way is straight is an abomination to the wicked.
In 24, we have a good example of how sinning compels further sin. The meaning seems to be that to be in complicity with a thief is to be one's own worst enemy, for one will almost certainly be caught, and if, in court, when put on oath, one refuses to disclose the full truth, perjury can be committed, which leads to further and greater trouble. Well might Paul warn Timothy, ‘Be not partaker in other men's sins'! The Truth expressed in 25 is applicable on different levels. In spiritual life it can be disastrous and paralyzing. To be silent when we should speak, for fear of men, leads into bondage (this is one meaning of 'snare'). Currying favour (26) is always a rather pathetic and disreputable exercise. It is God's favour that is important, and if we are walking with Him, and assured of His smile, we can hold our heads high and not be dependent on any man's patronage. In 27 we are faced with ultimates and absolutes. There can be no mixing of the two classes mentioned here, the just and the unjust. Oil and water do not mix. And it is best to realise this from the outset, for it will save much trouble later on. There is a war on in the universe, with two irreconcilable opposites in conflict with each other. Evil will never change into good, although - thank God - evil men may become good through the grace of the gospel. As Kidner puts it, though 'common interests and mutual attraction at various levels may mask this enmity; nothing can mend it.'