|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
12:16. A foolish man is soon angry, and is hasty in expressing it; he is ever in trouble and running into mischief. It is kindness to ourselves to make light of injuries and affronts, instead of making the worst of them. 17. It is good for all to dread and detest the sin of lying, and to be governed by honesty. 18. Whisperings and evil surmises, like a sword, separate those that have been dear to each other. The tongue of the wise is health, making all whole. 19. If truth be spoken, it will hold good; whoever may be disobliged, still it will keep its ground. 20. Deceit and falsehood bring terrors and perplexities. But those who consult the peace and happiness of others have joy in their own minds. 21. If men are sincerely righteous, the righteous God has engaged that no evil shall happen to them. But they that delight in mischief shall have enough of it. 22. Make conscience of truth, not only in words, but in actions. 23. Foolish men proclaim to all the folly and emptiness of their minds. 24. Those who will not take pains in an honest calling, living by tricks and dishonesty, are paltry and beggarly. 25. Care, fear, and sorrow, upon the spirits, deprive men of vigour in what is to be done, or courage in what is to be borne. A good word from God, applied by faith, makes the heart glad. 26. The righteous is abundant; though not in this world's goods, yet in the graces and comforts of the Spirit, which are the true riches. Evil men vainly flatter themselves that their ways are not wrong. 27. The slothful man makes no good use of the advantages Providence puts in his way, and has no comfort in them. The substance of a diligent man, though not great, does good to him and his family. He sees that God gives it to him in answer to prayer. 28. The way of religion is a straight, plain way; it is the way of righteousness. There is not only life at the end, but life in the way; all true comfort.
Verse 18. - There is that speaketh. The word implies speaking thoughtlessly, rashly; hence we may render, "a babbler," "prater." Such a one inflicts wounds with his senseless tattle. Like the piercings of a sword. The point of the simile is seen when we remember that the edge of the sword is called its "mouth" in the Hebrew (Genesis 34:26; Exodus 17:13, etc.; comp. Psalm 59:7; Psalm 64:3). The Greek gnome says -
Ἀλλ οὐδὲν ἕρπει ψεῦδος εἰς γῆρας χρόνου
"A sword the body wounds, a word the soul." Vulgate, est qui promittit, which restricts the scope of the clause to the making of vain promises (Leviticus 5:4; Numbers 30:7-9), continuing, et quasi gladio pungitur conscientiae, "And is pierced as it were by the sword of his conscience." where "conscience" is added to make the meaning plain. Such a man suffers remorse if he breaks his promise, or if, like Jephthah, he keeps it. The tongue of the wise is health; it does not pierce and wound like that of the chatterer, rather it soothes and heals even when it reproves (Proverbs 4:22; Proverbs 10:11).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword,.... Whose words are like sharp swords, cutting, wounding, dividing, killing; see Psalm 57:4; such are the words of false witnesses, who by their false testimonies and perjuries are as guilty of the murder of men as cutthroats; such are the words of slanderers, backbiters, and talebearers, who grieve the innocent, wound their characters, destroy their good name and credit, and separate chief friends; and such are the words of antichrist, who looks like a lamb, but speaks like a dragon, Revelation 13:11;
but the tongue of the wise is health; or "healing" (e); by giving a faithful testimony which sets matters right; by clearing and defending the character of those who are falsely accused and wrongfully charged; by making up differences, and reconciling persons at variance through the detracting and lying insinuations of others; and by speaking comfortable, cheerful, and refreshing words to the injured and abused; especially the tongue of a wise minister of the Gospel is health, or healing, to wounded souls, to whom he ministers the Gospel of the grace of God, which directs to Christ for healing, peace, pardon, righteousness, and eternal life.
(e) "medicinae", Junius & Tremellius; "medicina", Piscator, Cocceius; "sanatio", Michaelis; "sanatrix", Schultens.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
18. speaketh—literally, "speaketh hastily," or indiscreetly (Ps 106:33), as an angry man retorts harsh and provoking invectives.
tongue … health—by soothing and gentle language.
Proverbs 12:18 Parallel Commentaries
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