New International Version
Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.
New Living Translation
Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent.
English Standard Version
Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
New American Standard Bible
Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; When he closes his lips, he is considered prudent.
King James Bible
Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.
Holman Christian Standard Bible
Even a fool is considered wise when he keeps silent, discerning when he seals his lips.
International Standard Version
Even a fool is thought to be wise when he remains silent; he is thought to be prudent when he keeps his mouth shut.
Even a fool who remains silent is considered wise, and the one who holds his tongue is deemed discerning.
Aramaic Bible in Plain English
A madman who is silent is considered a wise person, and he that keeps his lips silent is considered intelligent.
GOD'S WORD® Translation
Even a stubborn fool is thought to be wise if he keeps silent. He is considered intelligent if he keeps his lips sealed.
JPS Tanakh 1917
Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise; And he that shutteth his lips is esteemed as a man of understanding.
New American Standard 1977
Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise;
When he closes his lips, he is counted prudent.
Parallel CommentariesMatthew Henry's Concise Commentary
17:19. If we would keep a clear conscience and a quiet mind, we must shun all excitements to anger. And a man who affects a style of living above his means, goes the way to ruin. 20. There is nothing got by ill designs. And many have paid dear for an unbridled tongue. 21. This speaks very plainly what many wise and good men feel very strongly, how grievous it is to have a foolish, wicked child. 22. It is great mercy that God gives us leave to be cheerful, and cause to be cheerful, if by his grace he gives us hearts to be cheerful. 23. The wicked are ready to part with their money, though loved, that they may not suffer for their crimes. 24. The prudent man keeps the word of God continually in view. But the foolish man cannot fix his thoughts, nor pursue any purpose with steadiness. 25. Wicked children despise the authority of their father, and the tenderness of their mother. 26. It is very wrong to find fault for doing what is duty. 27,28. A man may show himself to be a wise man, by the good temper of his mind, and by the good government of his tongue. He is careful when he does speak, to speak to the purpose. God knows his heart, and the folly that is bound there; therefore he cannot be deceived in his judgment as men may be.
Verse 28. - Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise. Not betraying his ignorance and incapacity by words, a foolish man is credited with possessing sense (comp. Job 13:5). Proverbs to this effect are found in all languages. Thus the Greek -
Πᾶς τις ἀπαίδευτος φρονιμώτατος ἐστὶ σιωπῶν. Cato, 'Dist.,' 1:3 -
"Virtutem primam esse puta compescere linguam;
Proximus ille Deo qui scit ratione tacere." Talmud, "Silence becomes the wise, much more feels." The Dutch have appropriated this maxim, "Zweigen de dwazen zij waren wijs, .... Were fools silent, they would pass for wise." "Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses." "Silence," says the Sanskrit gnome, "is the ornament of the ignorant." "Talking comes by nature," say the Germans, "silence of understanding." The LXX. gives a different turn to the first clause: "A foolish man inquiring of wisdom will have wisdom imputed to him;" the expressed desire of knowledge will be taken as a proof of intelligence. The second clause is coordinate with the former. He that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding; Revised Version, when he shutteth his lips, he is esteemed as prudent; Septuagint, "A man making himself dumb will seem to be prudent." Theophrastus is said to have thus addressed a guest who was very silent at table: "If you are a fool, you act wisely; if you are wise, you act foolishly." "Let every man," says St. James (James 1:19), "be swift to hear, slow to speak."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise,.... Not only one that is sparing of his words, and is really a man of knowledge and understanding; but even a feel, if he is but silent, and does not betray his folly by his words, will be reckoned a wise man by those that do not know him; and, whatever fool he may be in other respects, yet in this he acts the wise part, that he holds his peace and says nothing;
and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding; and keeps them shut, lest he should say anything rashly and hastily; a man that has so much command of himself as not to speak unadvisedly, through the heat of his own passions, and through the provocations of others, will pass for a man that understands himself, and knows how to behave well before others.
Proverbs 17:28 Additional Commentaries
Better a Dry Morsel with Quietness
…27He who restrains his words has knowledge, And he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. 28Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; When he closes his lips, he is considered prudent.
If only you would be altogether silent! For you, that would be wisdom.
An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.
Treasury of Scripture
Even a fool, when he holds his peace, is counted wise: and he that shuts his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.
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