Definition: False accusation is very closely related to slander. Slander is a false report maliciously uttered, with the intention of injuring the reputation of another.
1. Accusing others falsely, or “bearing false witness,” as it is usually referred to in the Bible, is specifically condemned and forbidden by the Lord.
Exodus 20:16 [The Ninth Commandment says:] Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
Exodus 23:1,7a Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. 7a Keep thee far from a false matter.
Proverbs 24:28 Be not a witness against thy neighbour without cause; and deceive not with thy lips.
2. Accusing falsely is a form of lying.
Proverbs 6:16,19a [The Lord hates] a false witness that speaketh lies.
Proverbs 10:18 He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.
Proverbs 12:17 He that speaketh truth sheweth forth righteousness: but a false witness deceit.
Proverbs 14:5 A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies.
3. At the root of false accusations there are very often the serious sins of pride, selfishness, bitterness, jealousy or envy, as illustrated by these examples from the Bible:
Genesis 39:7-18 [Joseph was falsely accused of rape by his master’s wife:] And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. 8 But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; 9 There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? 11 And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within. 12 And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out. 13 And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth, 14 That she called unto the men of her house, and spake unto them, saying, See, he hath brought in an Hebrew unto us to mock us; he came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice: 15 And it came to pass, when he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled, and got him out. 16 And she laid up his garment by her, until his lord came home. 17 And she spake unto him according to these words, saying, The Hebrew servant, which thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me: 18 And it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment with me, and fled out.
Numbers 16:3 [Korah and his cohorts jealously accused Moses and Aaron:] And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord?
Esther 3:2,5,8 [His pride wounded, Haman maliciously accused all the Jews to King Ahasuerus:] And all the king’s servants, that were in the king’s gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence. 5 And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath. 8 And Haman said unto King Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king’s laws: therefore it is not for the king’s profit to suffer them.
Daniel 6:1-5 [Jealous men set a trap whereby they might accuse Daniel to King Darius:] It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; 2 And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage. 3 Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. 4 Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. 5 Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.
Luke 23:1,2 [Jealous and hypocritical religious leaders falsely accused Jesus to Pilate:] And the whole multitude of them arose, and led Him unto Pilate. 2 And they began to accuse Him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Christ a King.
Acts 6:8-13 [Confounded by Stephen’s inspired witness, his “rivals” conspired to accuse him falsely:] And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. 9 Then there arose certain of the synagogue … disputing with Stephen. 10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. 11 Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God. 12 And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, 13 And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law.
4. Those that accuse others falsely will be chastened by the Lord.
Psalm 94:9,10a,16,21-23 He [God] that planted the ear, shall He not hear? He that formed the eye, shall He not see? 10a He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not He correct? 16 Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? Or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?… 21 They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood. 22 But the Lord is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge. 23 And He shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the Lord our God shall cut them off.
Proverbs 19:5,9 A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape. 9 A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall perish.
Daniel 6:24 And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den.
[See also : Deuteronomy 19:16-20, which describes the manner in which false accusers were disciplined under the Mosaic law]
5. We must be careful to avoid tit-for-tat, finding fault with those who justly or unjustly accuse us or point out our errors.
Proverbs 24:29 Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.
Matthew 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
1 Peter 3:10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.
6. When we are accused falsely, the Lord may want us to take it patiently, as He did.
Matthew 5:11,12 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in Heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.
Matthew 27:12 And when He was accused of the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing.
1 Peter 2:19-23 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth: 23 Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously.
1 Peter 3:16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation [behavior] in Christ.