As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death,
What a wild and dangerous man! Handcuff him! Lock him up! There is a simile here, indicated by the word “as.” What kind of person resembles this crazy mad man? A man wildly throwing firebrands, arrows, and death? Anyone who deceives his neighbor and uses a jesting cover-up of his evil intentions is just like this mad man (Pr 26:19).
Imagine an insane man, like the devil-possessed Gadarene (Mark 5:1-13). He is naked, powerful, savagely wild, masochistically violent, untamed, and living among the dead. Now imagine him on your property. Imagine him in your house. In your business. Solomon created this picture of a neighbor who deceives you and lightly excuses it.
Wicked men think their actions are not very harmful. So Solomon described them in terms to get your attention and rightly classify their actions. Neighbors, due to close proximity to one another, must trust each other. They should be able to trust each other at all times. But a deceitful and ambitious neighbor is comparable to this wild enemy.
What is the lesson? Deceiving those who trust you is a horrible sin and crime. Neighbors, employers, and others trust your integrity. You live close enough to take advantage of them, so they must trust your integrity not to use that nearness against them. It is your duty as a Christian to live honestly with all men, but especially those nearest to you.
What else can you learn? Covering and excusing sin by lightly claiming it was just a joke reveals an extremely profane character. Such persons have no conscience; they laugh at sin; they do not comprehend the pain their deception causes others. You can oppose this folly by keeping a sober and serious approach to all relationships, especially neighbors.
What else can you learn? Only fools joke about sin (Pr 10:23; 14:9; 15:21). Sin is a horrible thing – it defies your Creator God, hurts your fellow man, is inconvenient for profitable relationships, and leads to eternal punishment. Only hopeless scorners and rebels laugh and jest about sin. Sin is to be avoided, hated, and repented of.
What else can you learn? God hates foolish talking and jesting. He will destroy the world for these heinous sins. He lists foolish talking and jesting with fornication, uncleanness, and covetousness, three other abominable sins (Eph 5:3-7). And he describes foolish talking and jesting as He does sodomy – both are not convenient (Eph 5:4 cp Rom 1:28).
These wicked men, like an insane man hurling fire, arrows, and death, can show up even in Jesus Christ’s churches (II Pet 2:13; Pr 6:19; Gal 5:15). Therefore, it is your solemn duty to identify them and stop them in their tracks, for such conduct is destructive to the peace and prosperity of the body. Lord, save your people from such sins and sinners!