The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covers the mouth of the wicked.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)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.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. 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.
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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)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 10:1, stamps on it the character of a book for youth:
He that gathereth in summer is a wise son;
But he that is sunk in sleep in the time of harvest is a son that causeth shame.
Von Hofmann (Schriftb. ii. 2. 403) rightly interprets בּן משׂכּיל and בּן מבישׁ, with Cocceius and others, as the subject, and not with Hitzig as predicate, for in nominal clauses the rule is to place the predicate before the subject; and since an accurate expression of the inverted relation would both times require הוא referring to the subject, so we here abide by the usual syntax: he that gathers in summer time is... Also the relation of the members of the sentence, Proverbs 19:26, is a parallel from which it is evident that the misguided son is called מבישׁ as causing shame, although in הבישׁ the idea to put to shame ( equals to act so that others are ashamed) and to act shamefully (disgracefully), as in השׂכיל the ideas to have insight and to act intelligently, lie into one another (cf. Proverbs 14:35); the root-meaning of השׂכיל is determined after שׂכל, which from שׂכל, complicare, designates the intellect as the faculty of intellectual configuration. בּושׁ, properly disturbari, proceeds from a similar conception as the Lat. confundi (pudore). קיץ and קציר fall together, for קיץ (from קוץ equals qât, to be glowing hot) is just the time of the קציר; vid., under Genesis 8:22. To the activity of a thoughtful ingathering, אגר, for a future store (vid., Proverbs 6:7), stands opposed deep sleep, i.e., the state of one sunk in idleness. נרדּם means, as Schultens has already shown, somno penitus obrui, omni sensu obstructo et oppilato quasi, from רדם, to fill, to shut up, to conclude; the derivation (which has been adopted since Gesenius) from the Arab. word having the same sound, rdm, stridere, to shrill, to rattle (but not stertere, to snore), lies remote in the Niph., and also contradicts the usage of the word, according to which it designates a state in which all free activity is bound, and all reference to the external world is interrupted; cf. תּרדּמה, Proverbs 19:15, of dulness, apathy, somnolency in the train of slothfulness. The lxx has here one distich more than the Hebr. text.
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