Proverbs 10:11
The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.
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(11) Violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.—If these words are to be taken as in Proverbs 10:6, then the first line must mean that the righteous man speaks to his own profit. But perhaps it will be better here to interpret the second line in the sense of “the mouth of the godless hideth violence,” i.e., it conceals under deceitful words the mischief intended for others. With God is the “well of life” (Psalm 36:9; Revelation 22:17); and in like manner the “mouth of the righteous” brings comfort and refreshment to the weary and heavy laden.

Proverbs 10:11. The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life — Continually sending forth waters of life, or such words as are refreshing and useful, both to himself and others, both for the preserving of natural life, the promoting of spiritual, and ensuring of eternal life; but violence, &c. — See on Proverbs 10:6. As the mouth of a good man speaketh those things which are good and beneficial to himself and others, so the mouth of a wicked man uttereth violence, or injury, or things injurious to others, which at last fall upon himself.

10:7. Both the just and the wicked must die; but between their souls there is a vast difference. 8. The wise in heart puts his knowledge in practice. 9. Dissemblers, after all their shuffling, will be exposed. 10. Trick and artifice will be no excuse for iniquity. 11. The good man's mouth is always open to teach, comfort, and correct others. 12. Where there is hatred, every thing stirs up strife. By bearing with each other, peace and harmony are preserved. 13. Those that foolishly go on in wicked ways, prepare rods for themselves. 14. Whatever knowledge may be useful, we must lay it up, that it may not be to seek when we want it. The wise gain this wisdom by reading, by hearing the word, by meditation, by prayer, by faith in Christ, who is made of God unto us wisdom. 15. This refers to the common mistakes both of rich and poor, as to their outward condition. Rich people's wealth exposes them to many dangers; while a poor man may live comfortably, if he is content, keeps a good conscience, and lives by faith. 16. Perhaps a righteous man has no more than what he works hard for, but that labour tends to life. 17. The traveller that has missed his way, and cannot bear to be told of it, and to be shown the right way, must err still. 18. He is especially a fool who thinks to hide anything from God; and malice is no better. 19. Those that speak much, speak much amiss. He that checks himself is a wise man, and therein consults his own peace. 20,21. The tongue of the just is sincere, freed from the dross of guile and evil design. Pious discourse is spiritual food to the needy. Fools die for want of a heart, so the word is; for want of thought.Compare Proverbs 10:6. Streams of living water (like the "fountain of living waters" of Jeremiah 2:13; Jeremiah 17:13, and the "living water" of John 4:10), flow from the mouth of the righteous, but that of the wicked is "covered," i. e., stopped and put to silence by their own violence. 11. a well—or, "source" of good to himself and others (Joh 7:37, 38). On last clause, see on [644]Pr 10:6. A well of life; continually sending forth waters of life, or such good and wholesome words as are very refreshing and useful, both to themselves and others, for the preserving of their natural life, and for the promoting of their spiritual and eternal life. We have the same phrase Psalm 36:9. Violence covereth the mouth of the wicked; the same words were used before, Proverbs 10:6, where see the notes; and they may be understood in the same sense here, and the opposition of this clause to the former may be conceived thus: As the mouth of a good man speaketh those things which are good and beneficial to himself and others, so the mouth of the wicked uttereth violence, or injury, or things injurious to others. which at last fall upon himself. But it is no new thing for the same words and phrases to be taken in different senses in the same chapter, and sometimes in the same verse, as Matthew 8:22, and elsewhere; and therefore these words may here be, and are by many, translated and interpreted thus, the mouth of the wicked covereth (i.e. concealeth) violence or mischief, which he plotteth against others. And so here is a double opposition between the righteous and the wicked; first in the contrary effects, the former causeth life, the latter mischief and death; and secondly in the manner of producing them, the righteous doth it by uttering his words, and the wicked doth it by concealing his mind.

The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life,.... Like a fountain of living water, continually running and flowing with water, wholesome, reviving, and refreshing; so the righteous man's mouth, out of the abundance of his heart, overflows with good things, which minister grace to the hearers, and are for the use of edifying; things that are pleasant and profitable, grateful and acceptable, comforting, refreshing, and pleasing, and which tend to the good of the life that now is, and that which is to come;

but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked; so that nothing comes out of it but what is pernicious and hurtful; what savours of rapine and violence; nothing but lying and deceit, cursing and swearing, and such like filthy and corrupt communication; See Gill on Proverbs 10:6. The Targum is, "the mouth of the ungodly covers injury"; which is meditated in the heart; so the Vulgate Latin version.

The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.
11. violence covereth &c.] See Proverbs 10:6, note. The former (a) of the meanings suggested there best suits the parallelism here.

Verse 11. - A well of life (Proverbs 13:14: 18:4). The good man utters words of wisdom, comfort, and edification. God himself is said to have "the well of life" (Psalm 36:9), and to be "the Fountain of living waters" (Jeremiah 2:13): and the holy man, drawing from this supply, sheds life and health around. The second clause should be takes as in Ver. 6, but the mouth of the wicked concealeth violence, the contrast being between the open usefulness of the good man's words and the harmful reticence of the malicious sinner. The Septuagint has, "A fountain of life is in the hand of the righteous; but destruction shall cover the mouth of the wicked." This is explained to mean that a good man's words and actions tend to spiritual health; a bad man's words bring down sorrow and punishment. Proverbs 10:11Another proverb, similar to the half of Proverbs 10:6 :

A fountain of life is the mouth of the righteous;

But the mouth of the godless hideth violence.

If we understand 11b wholly as 6b: os improborum obteget violentia, then the meaning of 11a would be, that that which the righteous speaks tends to his own welfare (Fl.). But since the words spoken are the means of communication and of intercourse, one has to think of the water as welling up in one, and flowing forth to another; and the meaning of 11b has to accommodate itself to the preceding half proverb, whereby it cannot be mistaken that חמס (violence), which was 6b subj., bears here, by the contrast, the stamp of the obj.; for the possibility of manifold windings and turnings is a characteristic of the Mashal. In the Psalms and Prophets it is God who is called מקור חיּים, Psalm 36:10; Jeremiah 2:13; Jeremiah 17:13; the proverbial poetry plants the figure on ethical ground, and understands by it a living power, from which wholesome effects accrue to its possessor, Proverbs 14:27, and go forth from him to others, Proverbs 13:14. Thus the mouth of the righteous is here called a fountain of life, because that which he speaks, and as he speaks it, is morally strengthening, intellectually elevating, and inwardly quickening in its effect on the hearers; while, on the contrary, the mouth of the godless covereth wrong (violentiam), i.e., conceals with deceitful words the intention, directed not to that which is best, but to the disadvantage and ruin of his neighbours; so that words which in the one case bring to light a ground of life and of love, and make it effectual, in the other case serve for a covering to an immoral, malevolent background.

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