Proverbs 15:23
A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!
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(23) A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth.—So much mischief is done by the tongue, and its slips are so many, that when a man makes a suitable reply, he may well rejoice and look upon it as the gift of God (Proverbs 16:1).

15:16,17. Believers often have enough when worldly eyes see little; the Lord is with them, without the cares, troubles, and temptations which are with the wealth of the wicked. 18. He that is slow to anger, not only prevents strife, but appeases it, if kindled. 19. Those who have no heart to their work, pretend that they cannot do their work without hardship and danger. And thus many live always in doubt about their state, because always in neglect of some duty. 20. Those who treat an aged mother or a father with contempt or neglect, show their own folly. 21. Such as are truly wise, study that their thoughts, words, and actions should be regular, sincere, and holy. 22. If men will not take time and pains to deliberate, they are not likely to bring any thing to pass. 23. Wisdom is needed to suit our discourse to the occasions. 24. A good man sets his affections on things above; his way leads directly thither.Probably, a special reference to debates in council Proverbs 15:22. They bring before us the special characteristic of the East, the delight in ready, improvised answers, solving difficulties, turning aside anger. Compare the effect on the scribe Mark 12:28. 23. Good advice blesses the giver and receiver. By the answer, i.e. by a wise or good and seasonable answer or advice, as is manifest, both from the opposite clause, and from the nature of the thing, because it is manifest and undeniable, that a foolish answer can be no credit nor comfort to the answerer. Thus above, Proverbs 15:10, the way is put for God’s way; and such synecdoches are frequent in Scripture.

A word spoken in due season, counsel or comfort given to another in fit time and manner,

how good is it! it is highly acceptable and useful.

A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth,.... When his advice is asked, and he gives good and wholesome counsel, and that being taken succeeds; it is a pleasure to a man that he is capable of assisting his friend, and doing him service, or a common good, whether it be in things natural, civil, or religious; when his speech is with salt, seasoned with grace, and he knows how he ought to answer every man; when that which is good proceeds from him, and is to the use of edifying, and ministers grace to the hearers, and is acceptable to them; when with readiness he gives an answer to every man that asks him a reason of the hope that is in him, with meekness and fear, Colossians 3:6, Ephesians 4:29;

and a word spoken in due season, how good is it? whether by way of advice and counsel to such who stand in need of it, or of exhortation and instruction to those that want it, or of comfort to those that are distressed; such is a word of promise spoken and applied by the Spirit of God to the hearts of his people in a time of need; and such is the Gospel of peace, pardon, righteousness, and salvation, as spoken by Christ and his ministers to weary and wounded souls; it cannot be well and fully expressed how sweet, how good, how suitable, as well as seasonable, it is: see Proverbs 25:11.

A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken {g} in due season, how good it is!

(g) If we will that our talk be comfortable, we must wait for time and season.

23. by] Rather, in. The reference is rather to the satisfaction found in the ready answer itself, the “word in due season,” as he utters it, than to any fruit which comes to him “by” it.

Verse 23 - A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth. The idea of the preceding verse concerning counsel is maintained. A counsellor gives wise and skilful advice, or makes a timely speech; and, knowing how much harm is done by rash or evil words, he naturally rejoices that he has been able to be useful, and has avoided the errors which the tongue is liable to incur. A word spoken in due season, sermo opportunus, is advice given at the right moment and in the most suitable manner, when the occasion and the interests at stake demand it (comp. Proverbs 25:11). The LXX. connects this verse with the preceding, and renders, "The evil man will not hearken to it (counsel), nor will he say aught in season or for the public good." Proverbs 15:2323 A man has joy by the right answer of his mouth;

     And a word in its season, how fair is it!

If we translate מענה only by "answer," then 23a sounds as a praise of self-complaisance; but it is used of true correspondence (Proverbs 29:19), of fit reply (Job 32:3, Job 32:5), of appropriate answer (cf. 28a, Proverbs 16:1). It has happened to one in his reply to hit the nail on its head, and he has joy from that (שׂמחה ב after שׂמח בּ, e.g., Proverbs 23:24), and with right; for the reply does not always succeed. A reply like this, which, according to circumstances, stops the mouth or bringeth a kiss (Proverbs 24:26), is a fortunate throw, is a gift from above. The synonymous parallel line measures that which is appropriate, not to that which is to be answered, but from a general point of view as to its seasonableness; עת ( equals עדת from יעד) is here "the ethically right, becoming time, determined by the laws of wisdom (moral)" (vid., Orelli, Synonyma der Zeit u. Ewigkeit, p. 48), cf. על־אפניו (translated by Luther 'in its time"), Proverbs 25:11. With מה־טּוב, cf. Proverbs 16:16; both ideas lie in it: that such a word is in itself well-conditioned and successful, and also that it is welcome, agreeable, and of beneficial influence.

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