Proverbs 18:21
Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKellyKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
(21) Death and life are in the power of the tongue.—See above on Proverbs 4:23, where much the same power is attributed to the heart as is here given to the tongue as being its exponent. (Comp. also Proverbs 12:13.)

They that love it—i.e., to use it.

Proverbs 18:21. Life and death are in the power of the tongue — Are brought upon men by the good or bad use of their tongues; and they that love it — Namely, the tongue; that love much talking; shall eat the fruit thereof — Shall receive either good or evil according to the quality of their speeches.

18:19. Great care must be taken to prevent quarrels among relations and those under obligations to each other. Wisdom and grace make it easy to forgive; but corruption makes it difficult. 20. The belly is here put for the heart, as elsewhere; and what that is filled with, our satisfaction will be accordingly, and our inward peace. 21. Many a one has caused his own death, or the death of others, by a false or injurious tongue. 22. A good wife is a great blessing to a man, and it is a token of Divine favour. 23. Poverty tells men they must not order or demand. And at the throne of God's grace we are all poor, and must use entreaties. 24. Christ Jesus never will forsake those who trust in and love him. May we be such friends to others, for our Master's sake. Having loved his own, which were in the world, he loved them unto the end; and we are his friends if we do whatever he commands us, Joh 15:14.The general sense is plain. A man must for good or evil take the consequence of his words, as well as his deeds. Compare the marginal reference. 21. Death and life—or, the greatest evil and good.

that love it—that is, the tongue, or its use for good or evil.

eat … fruit—(Compare Pr 18:19; Jas 1:19).

Are in the power of the tongue; are brought upon men by the good or bad use of their tongues.

That love it; either,

1. The tongue; that love and use much talking, which is oft censured as a sin, and a cause of mischief. See Proverbs 10:19 Jam 1:19. Or,

2. The use of their tongue in either of those ways, which are plainly supposed in the former clause of the verse: they who do not only speak well, which a wicked man may sometimes do; or speak ill, which a good man may possibly do; but do love, and therefore accustom themselves, to speak well or ill.

Shall eat the fruit thereof; shall receive either good or evil, according to the quality of their speeches.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue,.... Of witnesses, according to the testimony they bear; of judges, according to the sentence they pass; of teachers, according to the doctrine they preach; of all men, who, by their well or ill speaking, bring death or life to themselves and others. Some, by their tongues, by the too free use of them, or falsehood they utter, are the cause of death to themselves and others; and some, by their silence, or by their prudent speech and prevalent intercession, secure or obtain life for themselves and others; yea, judgment at the last day will proceed according to a man's words, "By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned", Matthew 12:37; the tongue is the instrument either of a great deal of good, or of a great deal of evil;

and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof; that delight to be talkative; that love to use the tongue, whether in a good or in a bad way, shall accordingly be recompensed; shall enjoy the advantages or disadvantages arising from it.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that {o} love it shall eat the fruit of it.

(o) By the using the tongue well or evil, comes the fruit of it either good or bad.

21. love it] i.e. delight in using it, as an instrument either of “death” or of “life.”

Verse 21. - Death and life are in the power of the tongue; literally, in the hand of the tongue. The tongue, according as it is used, deals forth life or death; for speech is the picture of the mind (comp. Proverbs 12:18; Proverbs 26:28). The vast importance of our words may be learned from James 3; and our blessed Lord says expressly (Matthew 12:36, etc.), "Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." Hence the gnome -

Γλῶσσα τύχη γλῶσσα δαίμων

intimating that the tongue is the real controller of man's destiny; and another -

Λόγῳ διοικεῖται βροτῶν βίος μόνῳ

By words alone is life of mortals swayed." And they that love it (the tongue) shall eat the fruit thereof. They who use it much must abide the consequences of their words, whether by kind and pure and edifying conversation they contribute health and life to themselves and others, or whether by foul, calumnious, corrupting language they involve themselves and others in mortal sin. For "they that love it," the Septuagint has, οἱ κρατοῦντες αὐτῆς, "they who get the mastery over it." Proverbs 18:2121 Death and life are in the power of the tongue;

     And whoever loveth it shall eat its fruit.

The hand, יד, is so common a metaphor for power, that as here a hand is attributed to the tongue, so e.g., Isaiah 47:14 to the flame, and Psalm 49:16 to Hades. Death and life is the great alternative which is placed, Deuteronomy 30:15, before man. According as he uses his tongue, he falls under the power of death or attains to life. All interpreters attribute, 21b, ואהביה to the tongue: qui eam (linguam) amant vescentur (יאכל, distrib. sing., as Proverbs 3:18, Proverbs 3:35, etc.) fructu ejus. But "to love the tongue" is a strange and obscure expression. He loves the tongue, says Hitzig, who loves to babble. Euchel: he who guards it carefully, or: he who takes care of it, i.e., who applies himself to right discourse. Combining both, Zckler: who uses it much, as εὐλογῶν or κακολογῶν. The lxx translates, οἱ κρατοῦντες αὐτῆς, i.e., אחזיה; but אחז means prehendere and tenere, not cohibere, and the tongue kept in restraint brings forth indeed no bad fruit, but it brings no fruit at all. Why thus? Does the suffix of ואהביה, perhaps like Proverbs 8:17, Chethı̂b, refer to wisdom, which, it is true, is not named, but which lies everywhere before the poet's mind? At Proverbs 14:3 we ventured to make חכמה the subject of 3b. Then 21b would be as a miniature of Proverbs 8:17-21. Or is ואהביה a mutilation of ואהב יהוה: and he who loves Jahve (Psalm 97:10) enjoys its (the tongue's) fruit?

Proverbs 18:21 Interlinear
Proverbs 18:21 Parallel Texts

Proverbs 18:21 NIV
Proverbs 18:21 NLT
Proverbs 18:21 ESV
Proverbs 18:21 NASB
Proverbs 18:21 KJV

Proverbs 18:21 Bible Apps
Proverbs 18:21 Parallel
Proverbs 18:21 Biblia Paralela
Proverbs 18:21 Chinese Bible
Proverbs 18:21 French Bible
Proverbs 18:21 German Bible

Bible Hub

Proverbs 18:20
Top of Page
Top of Page