Proverbs 16:21
The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increases learning.
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(21) The sweetness of the lips increaseth learning.—Power to express the thoughts in graceful language adds greatly to the value of learning.

16:12. The ruler that uses his power aright, will find that to be his best security. 13. Put those in power who know how to speak to the purpose. 14,15. Those are fools, who, to obtain the favour of an earthly prince, throw themselves out of God's favour. 16. There is joy and satisfaction of spirit, only in getting wisdom. 17. A sincerely religious man keeps at a distance from every appearance of evil. Happy is the man that walks in Christ, and is led by the Spirit of Christ. 18. When men defy God's judgments, and think themselves far from them, it is a sign they are at the door. Let us not fear the pride of others, but fear pride in ourselves. 19. Humility, though it exposes to contempt in the world, is much better than high-spiritedness, which makes God an enemy. He that understands God's word shall find good. 21. The man whose wisdom dwells in his heart, will be found more truly prudent than many who possess shining talents. 22. As waters to a thirsty land, so is a wise man to his friends and neighbours. 23. The wise man's self-knowledge, always suggests something proper to be spoken to others. 24. The word of God cures the diseases that weaken our souls. 25. This is caution to all, to take heed of deceiving themselves as to their souls. 26. We must labour for the meat which endureth to everlasting life, or we must perish.The words point to the conditions of all true growth in wisdom; and he who has the gift of uttering it in winning speech increases it in himself and others. 21. wise in heart—who rightly consider duty.

sweetness of the lips—eloquent discourse, persuades and instructs others.

The wise in heart shall be called prudent: the sense is either,

1. He who hath wisdom or sound knowledge in his heart, will show it by his prudence in ordering his actions. Or rather,

2. He who is truly wise, or prudent, or intelligent (all which words most commonly signify one and the same thing, both in this and in other books of Scripture) shall be so called or accounted by others.

The sweetness of the lips; eloquence added to wisdom; the faculty of expressing a man’s mind fitly, and freely, and acceptably.

Increaseth learning; both in himself, for whilst a man teacheth others he improveth himself; and especially in others, who by this means are induced to hear and receive his good instructions. Wisdom gets a man repute with others, but this faculty of right speaking makes a wise man more instrumental to do good to others. The wise in heart shall be called prudent,.... He that has true wisdom in the inward part; who knows his heart and the haughtiness of it; who has the fear of God in it, which is the beginning of wisdom; who is wise unto salvation, not only knows the scheme of it, but is experimentally acquainted with it; who has not head knowledge and wisdom only, but heart knowledge and wisdom, and behaves wisely in his life and conversation; who is so wise and endued with knowledge, as, out of a good conversation, to show his works with meekness of wisdom; such a man is called, reckoned, accounted, and spoken well of, as a prudent man among all wise and knowing persons;

and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning; who, besides a wise heart and a knowing head, have the gift of elocution; can deliver themselves in a flowing easy style; can clothe their thoughts with proper words, and convey their ideas in clear expressions, in a very edifying and instructive manner: these communicate knowledge to others, and increase it in themselves: for, while they are improving others, they improve themselves and learning also, whether it be divine or human; these are such who are "apt to teach", 1 Timothy 3:2; and if they have proper hearers to attend them, they will "increase in learning", as a just man does, Proverbs 9:9.

The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the {k} sweetness of the lips increaseth learning.

(k) The sweet words of consolation which come from a godly heart.

21. “He who is wise will gain respect; but if he should also possess a pleasant manner of imparting his wisdom, he will be a more efficient teacher,” Rel. Tr. Soc. Commentary.Verse 21. - The wise in heart shall be called prudent. True wisdom is recognized and acknowledged as such, especially when it has the gift of expressing itself appropriately (see on Proverbs 24:8). The sweetness (Proverbs 27:9) of the lips increaseth learning. People listen to instruction at the mouth of one who speaks well and winningly. Such a one augments knowledge in others, and in himself too, for he learns by teaching. Knowledge ought not to be buried in one's own mind, but produced on fit occasions and in suitable words for the edification of others. Ecclus. 20:30, "Wisdom that is hid, and treasure that is hoarded up, what profit is in them both?" (see Matthew 5:15). Septuagint, "The wise and prudent they call worthless (φαύλους); but they who are sweet in word shall hear more." Wise men are called bad and worthless by the vulgar herd, either because they do not impart all they know, or because they are envied fear their learning; but those who are eloquent and gracious in speech shall receive much instruction from what they bear, every one being ready to converse with them anal impart any knowledge which they possess. 15 In the light on the king's countenance there is life,

     And his favour is as a cloud of the latter rains.

Hitzig regards אור as the inf. (cf. Proverbs 4:18), but one says substantively אור פּני, Job 29:24, etc., and in a similar sense מאור עינים, Proverbs 15:30; light is the condition of life, and the exhilaration of life, wherefore אור החיּים, Psalm 56:14, Job 33:30, is equivalent to a fresh, joyous life; in the light of the king's countenance is life, means that life goes forth from the cheerful approbation of the king, which shows itself in his face, viz., in the showing of favour, which cheers the heart and beautifies the life. To speak of liberality as a shower is so common to the Semitic, that it has in Arab. the general name of nadnâ, rain. 15b conforms itself to this. מלקושׁ (cf. Job 29:23) is the latter rain, which, falling about the spring equinox, brings to maturity the barley-harvest; on the contrary, מורה (יורה) is the early rain, which comes at the time of ploughing and sowing; the former is thus the harvest rain, and the latter the spring rain. Like a cloud which discharges the rain that mollifies the earth and refreshes the growing corn, is the king's favour. The noun עב, thus in the st. constr., retains its Kametz. Michlol 191b. This proverb is the contrast to Proverbs 16:14. Proverbs 20:2 has also the anger of the king as its theme. In Proverbs 19:12 the figures of the darkness and the light stand together as parts of one proverb. The proverbs relating to the king are now at an end. Proverbs 16:10 contains a direct warning for the king; Proverbs 16:12 an indirect warning, as a conclusion arising from 12b (cf. Proverbs 20:28, where יצּרוּ is not to be translated tueantur; the proverb has, however, the value of a nota bene). Proverbs 16:13 in like manner presents an indirect warning, less to the king than to those who have intercourse with him (cf. Proverbs 25:5), and Proverbs 16:14 and Proverbs 16:15 show what power of good and evil, of wrath and of blessing, is given to a king, whence so much the greater responsibility arises to him, but, at the same time also, the duty of all to repress the lust to evil that may be in him, and to awaken and foster in him the desire for good.

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