The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Psalm 58:4 note.
and the end of his talk is mischievous madness; to himself and others; as he goes on, he appears more and more foolish, and yet more confident of his own wisdom; and is resolutely set on having his own way and will; grows warm, and is violently hot, to have his own words regarded; and, if contradicted, is like a madman, scattering arrows, firebrands, and death; his talk from first to last is a circle of folly; and, though it begins with something weak, and may seem innocent, yet it ends and issues in wickedness and madness, in rage and wrath, in oaths and curses.The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)13. The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness] The words point, with a profound insight into human nature, to the progress from bad to worse in one who has the gift of speech without discretion. He begins with what is simply folly, unwise but harmless, but “vires acquirit eundo” he is borne along on the swelling floods of his own declamatory fluency, and ends in what is “mischievous madness.” He commits himself to statements and conclusions which, in his calmer moments, he would have shrunk from. As has been said of such an orator or preacher, without plan or forethought, he “goes forth, not knowing whither he goeth.”Verse 13. - The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness. A confirmation of the last clause of the preceding verse. The fool speaks according to his nature. "As saith the proverb of the ancients, Out of the wicked cometh forth wickedness" (1 Samuel 24:13; cutup. Proverbs 15:2; Isaiah 32:6). As soon as he opens his month he utters folly, unwisdom, silliness. But he does not stop there. The end of his talk is mischievous madness. By the time he has finished, he has committed himself to statements that are worse than silly, that are presumptuous, frenzied, indicative of mental and moral depravity. Intemperate language about the secrets of God's providence and the moral government of the world may be intended. Some think that the writer is still alluding to dangerous talk concerning a tyrannical ruler, seditious proposals, secret conspiracies, etc. The text itself does not confirm such notion with any certainty. Psalm 18:17); here "great heights" are such as are of a high, or the highest degree; rabbim, instead of harabbim, is more appos. than adject. (cf. Genesis 43:14; Psalm 68:28; Psalm 143:10; Jeremiah 2:21), in the sense of "many" (e.g., Ginsburg: "in many high positions") it mixes with the poetry of the description dull prose.
(Note: Luzz. reads נתן: "Folly brings many into high places." The order of the words, however, does not favour this.)
Ashirim also is peculiarly used: divites equals nobiles (cf. שׁוע, Isaiah 32:5), those to whom their family inheritance gives a claim to a high station, who possess the means of training themselves for high offices, which they regard as places of honour, not as sources of gain. Regibus multis, Grotius here remarks, quoting from Sallust and Tacitus, suspecti qui excellunt sive sapientia sive nobilitate aut opibus. Hence it appears that the relation of slaves and princes to each other is suggested; hoc discrimen, says Justin, 41:3, of the Parthians, inter servos liberosque est quod servi pedibus, liberi nonnisi equis incedunt; this distinction is set aside, princes must walk 'al-haarěts, i.e., beregel (beraglēhěm), and in their stead (Jeremiah 17:25) slaves sit high on horseback, and rule over them (the princes), - an offensive spectacle, Proverbs 19:10. The eunuch Bagoas, long all-powerful at the Persian Court, is an example of the evil consequences of this reversal of the natural relations of men.
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