|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
15:3. Secret sins, services, and sorrows, are under God's eye. This speaks comfort to saints, and terror to sinners. 4. A good tongue is healing to wounded consciences, by comforting them; to sin-sick souls, by convincing them; and it reconciles parties at variance. 5. If instruction is despised, reprove men rather than suffer them to go on undisturbed in the way to ruin. 6. The wealth of worldly men increases their fears and suspicions, adds strength to their passions, and renders the fear of death more distressing. 7. We use knowledge aright when we disperse it; but the heart of the foolish has nothing to disperse that is good. 8,9. The wicked put other things in the stead of Christ's atonement, or in the place of holy obedience. Praying graces are his gift, and the work of his Spirit, with which he is well pleased. 10. He that hates reproof shall perish in his sins, since he would not be parted from them.
Verse 4. - A wholesome tongue is a tree of life; a tongue that brings healing, that soothes by its words. Septuagint, "the healing of the tongue." But the Vulgate rendering is better, lingua placabilis, "the gentle, mild tongue" (see on Proverbs 14:30). Speech from such a source refreshes and vivifies all who come under its influence, like the wholesome fruit of a prolific tree (comp. Proverbs 3:18; Proverbs 11:30).
Ψυχῆς νοσούσης ἐστὶ φάρμακον λόγος
"The sick soul by a healing word is cured." But perverseness therein - in the tongue - is a breach in the spirit. The perverseness intended must be falsehood, perversion of the truth. This is ruin and vexation (Isaiah 65:14, where the same word is used) in the spirit, both in the liar himself, whose higher nature is thus terribly marred and spoiled, and in the case of his neighbour, who is injured by his slander and falsehood to the, very core. The LXX., with a different reading, translates, "But he who keepeth it [the tongue] shall be filled with the spirit."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
A wholesome tongue is a tree of life,.... A tongue that delivers out salutary instructions, wholesome advice and counsel; a "healing tongue" (w), as it may be rendered, which pacifies contending parties, and heals the divisions between them; to have the benefit of such a man's company and conversation is like being in paradise. Such is the tongue of a Gospel minister, which delivers out the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus Christ; sound speech and doctrines, which cannot be condemned; healing truths to wounded consciences, such as peace, pardon, righteousness, and atonement by the blood of Christ. These are the means of quickening dead sinners, reviving and comforting distressed ones, and show the way of eternal life unto them;
but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit; impure, unchaste, unsavoury, and corrupt language, does mischief to the spirits of men; evil communications corrupt the heart and manners, defile the soul and the conversation; these and unsound doctrines eat as a canker; and as they make the heart of God's people sad, whom he would not have made sad; so they bring distress and despair into the spirits of others, and make sad wounds and breaches there, which are never healed, and that both in the spirits of speakers and hearers; for damnable heresies bring swift destruction on the propagators of them, and them that receive them.
(w) "sanans", so some in Vatablus.
Wesley's Notes on the Bible
15:4 Wholesome - Which utters sound and useful counsels. Tree of life - Is greatly useful to preserve the present life, and to promote the spiritual and eternal life, both of the speaker and hearers. Perverseness - False or corrupt speeches. A breach - Disturbs and wounds the spirits, both of the speaker and hearers.
Proverbs 15:4 Parallel Commentaries
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