Proverbs 10:13
In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.
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Proverbs 10:13-14. In the lips, &c., wisdom is found — His wisdom shows itself in his prudent speeches, by which he escapes that rod which fools meet with, and gains that reputation and advantage to himself which fools lose; but a rod is for the back of him — He may expect rebukes and punishments from God and men; that is void of understanding — That shows his folly by his foolish words. Wise men lay up — Namely, in their minds, to be brought forth upon fit occasions; knowledge — By which they may be enabled to speak both what and when it is seasonable; but the mouth of fools is near destruction — Fools are more forward to lay out than to lay up, and, for want of knowledge, speak much and foolishly, and thereby frequently bring destruction upon themselves.

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.i. e., The wisdom of the wise is seen in the words that issue from his lips; the folly of the fool is not only seen in his speech, but brings upon him the chastisement which he well deserves. 13. In the lips … found—hence, not beaten, as the wicked-speaking fool.

void of understanding—(Pr 6:32; 7:7).

Wisdom is found; his wisdom showeth itself in his prudent speeches, by which he escapeth that rod which tools meet with, and gaineth that reputation and advantage to himself which fools lose.

A rod is for the back of him, he may expect rebukes and punishments from God and men, that is void of understanding; which he showeth by his foolish words.

In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found,.... He that has an understanding, especially of divine, spiritual, and evangelic things, which is the pure gift of God; wisdom will be found in his lips, his mouth will speak of it; not of mere natural wisdom, but spiritual wisdom; of the wisdom of God in his works; of Christ, the Wisdom of God; of the Gospel, the hidden wisdom; of inward experience of the grace of God, wisdom in the inward part, Psalm 37:30; from his lips will drop wise sayings, very instructive and informing; which those that seek for and observe may find to their profit and advantage, and to the great credit and honour of the understanding man; while the foolish man gets both stripes and disgrace, as follows;

but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding; or, "wants a heart" (e): that has no understanding of spiritual things in his heart, and so utters nothing but what is foolish and wicked, and, sooner or later, is chastised for it. The Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions, read this clause in connection with the former, thus; "he that brings forth wisdom out of his lips smites with a rod him that is void of understanding".

(e) "carcutis corde"; Montanus, Mercerus, Gejerus.

In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but {g} a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.

(g) That is, God will find him out to punish him.

13. that hath understanding] or, discernment, R.V. The contrast is heightened by pursuing in the second clause the want of understanding to its consequences.

The Speaker’s Comm. quotes the Egyptian proverb, “A youth hath a back that he may attend to his teacher.”

Verse 13. - Wisdom is found (comp. Psalm 37:30). The man of understanding is discreet in speech, and does not cause trouble by rash or foolish words. A rod (Proverbs 19:29; Proverbs 26:3). A fool brings upon himself punishment by his insensate talk. Void of understanding; Hebrew, "wanting in heart;" Vulgate, qui indiget corde. The LXX. combines the two members into one proposition, "He who putteth forth wisdom with his lips is a rod to chastise the man without heart." In the Hebrew conception the "heart" is the seat, not only of the passions and affections, but also of the intellectual faculties. Proverbs 10:13There follow now two other proverbs on the use and abuse of speech:

On the lips of the man of understanding wisdom is found;

And the rod for the back of the fool.

With Lwenstein, Hitzig, and others, it is inadmissible to regard ושׁבט as a second subject to תּמּצא. The mouth itself, or the word of the mouth, may be called a rod, viz., a rod of correction (Isaiah 11:4); but that wisdom and such a rod are found on the lips of the wise would be a combination and a figure in bad taste. Thus 13b is a clause by itself, as Luther renders it: "but a rod belongs to the fool's back;" and this will express a contrast to 13a, that while wisdom is to be sought for on the lips of the man of understanding (cf. Malachi 2:7), a man devoid of understanding, on the contrary, gives himself to such hollow and corrupt talk, that in order to educate him to something better, if possible, the rod must be applied to his back; for, according to the Talmudic proverb: that which a wise man gains by a hint, a fool only obtains by a club. The rod is called שׁבט, from שׁבט, to be smooth, to go straight down (as the hair of the head); and the back גּו, from גּוה, to be rounded, i.e., concave or convex.

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