Like a broken tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in a time of trouble.
Medicine offered minimal help for diseases or injuries in the ancient world. Consequently, they probably needed to apply one of our modern wise sayings quite regularly – “it is what it is!”
So “a broken tooth” or “a lame foot” was something people just needed to learn to live with and do the best they could. But they did know that both situations would make their lives more difficult.
In this proverb these two conditions were likened to “reliance on the unfaithful in a time of trouble.” “A time of trouble,” by definition, was hard enough, but when the best we have to rely on is “the unfaithful,” we can be assured it’s going to get ugly.
In antiquity, they couldn’t do much about that tooth or foot and, consequently, simply had to live with the consequences. On the other hand, in a time of trouble, they might have had the option to decide if they would rely on this guy or gal – or not.
The message of our verse is simple. We know how it feels with a bad tooth or foot – and it’ll feel the same way if we have to rely on that person in tough times! It will be painful – but, at least, we’ll know we shouldn’t expect much help or relief!
Thankfully modern medical care can provide that relief, even healing, from such tooth or foot discomfort. But there’s not much to do to stop these times of trouble.
So, it’s helpful to recognize with whom we’re dealing. Then decide if we want to rely on them or not.
But in the end, we do know Who we really can trust!