He that keeps his mouth keeps his life: but he that opens wide his lips shall have destruction.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life.—Comp. above, on Proverbs 4:23; Proverbs 12:13.
he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction—On last clause, compare Pr 10:14.He that keepeth his mouth, to wit, to the opening of it; who speaks sparingly, and with due care and caution;
keepeth his life; prevents many sins and mischiefs which others run into. He that openeth wide his lips, that takes liberty to speak every thing which pleaseth him, or cometh into his mind, shall have destruction, from God or men. Proverbs 18:21; besides, persons ought to be careful of their words, since by them a man will either be justified or condemned hereafter, Matthew 12:37;
but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction; or "consternation" (x): he that is rash and inconsiderate, hasty with his lips, a talkative man; that speaks freely everything that comes into his mind, regardless of the characters of men, or consequences of things; is often brought into frights and fears, through the menaces and threatenings of men in power, whose characters he has made too free with, and oftentimes is brought to ruin and destruction: so he, whose throat is as an open sepulchre, belching out filthy words, horrid oaths, curses, and imprecations, destruction is near him, even in all his ways; and the man of sin, that opens his mouth in blasphemy against God, and his tabernacle, and his saints, shall go into perdition, Revelation 13:5.He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)3. keepeth … keepeth] Rather, guardeth … keepeth, R.V., the Heb. words being different. For the sentiment comp. Proverbs 10:19.Verse 3. - He that keepeth (guardeth) his mouth keepeth his life (Proverbs 18:21; Proverbs 21:23; comp. Psalm 39:1; James 1:26). Thus the gnome -
Ἡ γλῶσσα πολλοὺς εἰς ὄλεθρον ἤγαγεν.
"The tongue hath many to destruction led." And Ecclus. 28:25, "Weigh thy words in a balance, and make a door and bar for thy mouth. Beware thou slide not by it, lest thou fall before him that lieth in wait." But he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction (Proverbs 10:14). The Vulgate paraphrases, "He who is inconsiderate in speech shall experience evils;" Septuagint, "will terrify himself" - will occasion to himself many terrible alarms and inflictions. Hence the psalmist prays, "Set a watch, O Lord, before my month; keep the door of my lips." So we have in the Danish, "A silent man's words are not brought into court;" and in the Spanish, "Let not the tongue say what the head shall pay for;" while the Italians tell us, "The sheep that bleats is strangled by the wolf:" and "Silence was never written down" (Kelly). (See on Proverbs 18:6; 20:19.)
And a friendly word maketh it glad.
The twofold anomaly that דּאגה is construed as masc. and לב as fem. renders the text doubtful, but the lxx, Syr., Targum, which introduce another subject, φοβερὸς λόγος (דּבר מדאיג?), do not improve it; Theodotion's is preferable, who translates μέριμνα ἐν καρδίᾳ ἀνδρὸς κατίσχει αὐτόν, and thus reads ישׁחנּוּ. But the rhyme is thereby lost. As כּבוד, Genesis 49:6, so also may לב be used as fem., for one thereby thinks on נפשׁ; the plur. לבּות (לבבות), according to which in Ezekiel 16:30 we find the sing. לבּה, may also conform to this. And ישׁחנה as pred. to דאגה follows the scheme Proverbs 2:10, perhaps not without attractional co-operation after the scheme קשׁת גברים חתים, 1 Samuel 2:4. השׁחה, from שׁחה, occurs only here; but השׁח, from שׁחח, occurs only twice. דּבר טוב designates in the book of Joshua and in Kings (1 Kings 8:56) the divine promise; here it is of the same meaning as 1 Kings 12:7 : an appeasing word. Who has not in himself had this experience, how such a word of friendly encouragement from a sympathizing heart cheers the sorrowful soul, and, if only for a time, changes its sorrow into the joy of confidence and of hope!
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