The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Proverbs 10:20-21. The tongue of the just is as choice silver — Of great worth and use, bringing credit to himself, and great benefit to others; the heart of the wicked is little worth — And consequently his tongue, which speaketh out of the abundance of the heart, Matthew 12:34. The lips of the righteous feed many — By their wise and pious discourses, counsels, and comforts, which are so many evidences of their wisdom: but fools die for want of wisdom — They have not wisdom to preserve themselves, much less to feed others.As choice silver; of great worth and use, bringing credit to himself, and much benefit to others.
The heart, and consequently the tongue, which speaketh out of the abundance of the heart, Matthew 12:34. Proverbs 10:21; see Psalm 37:30;
the heart of the wicked is little worth; good for nothing, as the Vulgate Latin version. The righteous man's tongue is better than the wicked man's heart; there is no good thing in his heart naturally; all manner of evil is in it, and comes out of it; no sin can be named but what is in his heart; all that is in it is sinful; the thoughts of it, and the imagination of his thoughts, are only evil, and that continually; the affections are inordinate, and set on sinful lusts and pleasures; the mind and conscience are defiled with sin; the understanding is darkened with it, and the will is obstinate and perverse, and bent upon it: his heart is wicked, and exceedingly wicked; it is wickedness itself, very wickedness, desperately wicked, incurably so without the grace of God. Such therefore know not their hearts who say they have good hearts; and they are fools that trust in them: this shows the necessity of regeneration, and that powerful and efficacious grace is requisite to it.The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)20. tongue … heart] The force of the antithesis lies in these two words: even the tongue of the one, but the very heart of the other.Verse 20. - Choice (Proverbs 8:10, 19); tested, purified by fire; πεπυρωμένος, Septuagint. Is little worth; mere dross, in contradistinction to choice silver. So the tongue is contrasted with the heart, out of whose abundance it speaketh (Ecclus. 21:26, "The heart of fools is in their mouth; but the mouth of the wise is in their heart"). Septuagint, "The heart of the godless shall fail (ἐκλείψει)."
But the mouth of the fool is threatening destruction.
Ewald, Bertheau, Hitzig, Oetinger: "The mouth of the fool blunders out, and is as the sudden falling in of a house which one cannot escape from." But since מחתּה is a favourite Mishle-word to denote the effect and issue of that which is dangerous and destructive, so the sense is perhaps further to be extended: the mouth of the fool is for himself (Proverbs 13:3) and others a near, i.e., an always threatening and unexpectedly occurring calamity; unexpectedly, because suddenly he blunders out with his inconsiderate shame-bringing talk, so that such a fool's mouth is to every one a praesens periculum. As to יצפּנוּ, it is worthy of remark that in the Beduin, Arab. dfn, fut. i, signifies to be still, to be thoughtful, to be absorbed in oneself (vid., Wetstein on Job, p. 281). According to Codd. and editions, in this correct, וּפי־ is to be written instead of אויל uwpiy; vid., Baer's Torath Emeth, p. 40.
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