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SLANDER (Heb. dibbâh, slander, Gr. diabolos, slanderer). A malicious utterance designed to hurt or defame the person about whom it is uttered. The Scriptures often warn against it (Lev.19.16; Ezek.22.9; Eph.4.31; Col.3.8; Jas.4.11).

The basic character of this sin is shown by its inclusion in the Decalógue (Exod 20:16), and also in the immediate context from which Christ quotes the second and great commandment (Lev 19:15-18; cf. Matt 19:19; 22:39; James 2:8). There love for one’s neighbor is characterized by not slandering him, but instead showing him justice without partiality.

The great slanderer is Satan himself (διάβολος, G1333, =accuser). He attempts to alienate Job from his God. The Apocalypse describes him as the one who continually accuses the brethren (Rev 12:10). The deliberate false witness against Christ, particularly at His trial, must be seen in this context (Matt 26:59; cf. the command to Christ’s disciples to give true witness to Him). It is on Christ’s account that His followers are falsely accused (Matt 5:11), but when God has pronounced His judgment on the elect (justification), who dares bring any charge against them (Rom 8:33)?

Slander is opposed to the whole character of the Christian life, the love for the brethren (1 Pet 2:1). Instead of slandering, the believer must forgive, remembering how Christ has forgiven him (Eph 4:31, 32), and put on the new nature which is not characterized by lying, but which is renewed in knowledge after God’s image (Col 3:8-10).

See Truth; Ten Commandments; Justification; Satan.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)


D. Miall Edwards