23 Like a coating of silver dross on earthenware
are fervent lips with an evil heart.
24 Enemies disguise themselves with their lips,
but in their hearts they harbor deceit.
25 Though their speech is charming, do not believe them,
for seven abominations fill their hearts.
26 Their malice may be concealed by deception,
but their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.
Seems like just yesterday the Halloween candy and costumes were starting to be displayed in the stores. (Now the Christmas decor is featured -- I always wonder what happens to Thanksgiving. Sorry, I'm digressing here.) As I walked through a discount store, I chuckled to hear a youngster exclaiming over a costume, and how cool it would be . . . no one would recognize him in his disguise!
Solomon is talking here about some other people who use disguises. People that we need to be wary of. Masters of disguise, and masters of deception. And that makes them able to inflict a world of hurt on us, if we are not careful.
We have examples of these people in the scriptures.
Joab, the commander of David's armies, greeted his relative Amasa cordially, even acting like he was going to kiss him in greeting (as was the custom). Amasa didn't realize there was a weapon in Joab's other hand, and Joab thrust him through with his sword, and killed him.
Judas betrayed Christ with a kiss, as well, turning him over to the authorities by that mark of affection.
Hatred and spite, even a murderous spirit -- all disguised very well.
Solomon notes that their deception is just like a coating of silver dross (the impurities from the refining process, it is still shiny) on an earthenware vessel. It looks good on the outside, but it really is not valuable, like true friendship. He tells us to be careful of the charming speech that may hide hatred and spite.
The person who has contempt for us, who despises us, will make the greatest noise about how wonderful we are, but talk down about us, behind our back. Beware of someone whose words and actions just don't add up --- do they talk a lot about being our friend, but have little desire to spend time with us? Do they make a show of talking about how fortunate we are, and then act jealous because of those blessings? Do they seem to do things that seem a little off kilter, almost betrayal, then brag to us about how they "have our back"?
Be cautious of those who seem overly affectionate and effusive with their compliments and approval. If it seems exaggerated, be careful. Use that wisdom from the Lord to discern if they are truly friendly to you, or if it is a deception. Your caution may help you avoid being hurt by a master of disguise.