There was an interesting theme that developed back in days of really good television. It was a staple on programs like the Andy Griffith Show and Leave It to Beaver. It was the tale of the vagabond boaster who showed up in the lives of the protagonists and told prodigious tales of their actions and heroic pasts and as the program moved along they were revealed as liars and charlatans. Usually there was one person, Sheriff Taylor, or Ward Cleaver who saw through the scam all along and tried to tell people who were being duped that they were being duped. Of course people didn’t want to believe and often were angry with the hero and not the dupper. Eventually the boaster left behind disenchanted people in their wake, and moved on to repeat their actions somewhere else. What was left behind were the gullible who would hopefully be wiser for the experience. They were chastened and yet there was something admirable and “Christian” about their belief in the basic goodness of people. They put the best construction on everything and paid the price. Sometimes their gullibility was shown to be the result of greed and so we saw another side of human nature.
Paul’s Roman’s laundry list of hideous behavior and infelicities piles one horrible human attitude on another until there is no hope. Towards the end we encounter the word alazón which is translated as boaster. It focuses on the underlying reason for boasting, which is an unreasonable arrogance.
This according to the Helps word studies-a wandering vagrant (vagabond), boasting to anyone who is foolish enough to take him seriously! This kind of person claims many things he can’t really do, so he must always keep moving on to new, naive listeners.