Proverbs 18:4
The words of a man's mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook.
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(4) The words of a man’s mouth are as deep waters . . .—i.e., the words of a “man,” properly so called, are as deep waters which cannot be easily fathomed; they are a copious stream, which flows from a never failing source; they are a fountain of wisdom which is never exhausted.

Proverbs 18:4. The words of a man’s mouth — Of a wise man’s; are as deep waters — Full of deep wisdom; and the well-spring of wisdom as a flowing brook — That wisdom which is in his heart is continually pouring forth wise and good counsels.18:4. The well-spring of wisdom in the heart of a believer, continually supplies words of wisdom. 5. The merits of a cause must be looked to, not the person. 6,7. What mischief bad men do to themselves by their ungoverned tongues! 8. How base are those that sow contention! and what fatal effects may be expected from small beginnings of jealousy! 9. Omissions of duty, and in duty, are fatal to the soul, as well as commissions of sin. 10,11. The Divine power, made known in and through our Lord Jesus Christ, forms a strong tower for the believer, who relies on the Lord. How deceitful the defence of the rich man, who has his portion and treasure in this world! It is a strong city and a high wall only in his own conceit; for it will fail when most in need. They will be exposed to the just wrath of that Judge whom they despised as a Saviour. 12. After the heart has been lifted up with pride, a fall comes. But honour shall be the reward of humility. 13. Eagerness, with self-conceit, will expose to shame. 14. Firmness of mind supports under many pains and trials. But when the conscience is tortured with remorse, no human fortitude can bear the misery; what then will hell be? 15. We must get knowledge, not only into our heads, but into our hearts. 16. Blessed be the Lord, who makes us welcome to come to his throne, without money and without price. May his gifts make room for him in our souls.The parallelism of the two clauses is probably one of contrast. If so, the proverb is a comparison between all teaching from without and that of the light within. "The words of a man's mouth" are dark as the "deep waters" of a pool, or tank ("deep waters" being associated in the Old Testament with the thought of darkness and mystery; compare Proverbs 20:5; Psalm 69:2; Ecclesiastes 7:24); but "the wellspring of wisdom is as a flowing brook," bright and clear. The verse presents a contrast like that of Jeremiah 2:13. 4. Wise speech is like an exhaustless stream of benefit. A man’s, i.e. a wise man’s, as the next clause explains this; who is worthy of the name and hath the understanding of a man in him. This Hebrew word ofttimes notes an eminent or excellent person, and therefore is opposed to Adam, which designs any ordinary man.

As deep waters; full of deep wisdom.

The well-spring of wisdom as a flowing brook; that wisdom which is in his heart is continually pouring forth wise and good counsels. The words of a man's mouth are as deep waters,.... The words of a great and mighty man; of an excellent and valuable man, as Jarchi; or of a wise man, as Aben Ezra. The doctrines which such a man has imbibed, and his heart is full of and his mouth utters, are like to "waters", pure, purifying, and refreshing; to "deep waters", which make no noise, and cannot be easily fathomed: such are the deep mysteries of grace, the wisdom of God in a mystery, spoken among them that are perfect; of which a good man makes no boast, but humbly declares; out of the abundance of his heart, his mouth speaks;

and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook; there is a spring of spiritual wisdom and knowledge in him; a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life; and from thence it flows freely and constantly; communicating itself liberally unto others, and ministering grace to the hearers, for their edification.

The words of a man's mouth are as deep {d} waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook.

(d) Which can never be drawn empty, but always bring profit.

4. a man’s mouth] The second clause of the verse limits and interprets the first. It is of a wise man’s mouth that the proverb speaks. His words are “as deep waters,” because they are no mere shallow talk, but are full of depth and meaning, “The well-spring of wisdom,” which is their source, does not soon run dry, but is “as a flowing brook,” in its full, clear, steady course. Such were Solomon’s own words to the queen of Sheba, 1 Kings 10:1; 1 Kings 10:3.

Somewhat similarly the LXX. make the first clause refer to the still unuttered word in the heart, and the second to its leaping forth thence like the stream from the spring:

“Deep water is a word in the heart of a man,

But it leaps forth as a river and a fountain of life.”Verse 4. - The words of a man's mouth are as deep waters. "Man" (ish) here means the ideal man in all his wisdom and integrity, just as in Proverbs 18:22 the ideal wife is intended under the general term "wife." Such a man's words are as deep waters which cannot be fathomed or exhausted. The metaphor is common (see Proverbs 20:5; Ecclesiastes 7:24; Ecclus. 21:13). For "mouth," the Septuagint reads "heart:" "Deep water is a word in a man's heart." The second hemistich explains the first: The well spring of wisdom as a flowing (gushing) brook. A man's words are now called a well spring of wisdom, gushing forth from its source, the wise and understanding heart, pure, fresh, and inexhaustible. Septuagint, "And it leapeth forth (ἀναπηδύει) a river and a fountain of life." Or we may, with Delitzsch, take the whole as one idea, and consider that a man's words are deep waters, a bubbling brook, and a fountain of wisdom. 26 Also to inflict punishment on the righteous is not good;

     This, that one overthrows the noble on account of his rectitude.

Does the גּם [also] refer to a connection from which the proverb is separated? or is it tacitly supposed that there are many kinds of worthless men in the world, and that one from among them is brought forward? or is it meant, that to lay upon the righteous a pecuniary punishment is also not good? None of all these. The proverb must have a meaning complete in itself; and if pecuniary punishment and corporeal punishment were regarded as opposed to one another, 26b would then have begun with אף כּי (quanto magis percutere ingenuos). Here it is with גם as at Proverbs 20:11, and as with אך at 11a, and רק at Proverbs 13:10 : according to the sense, it belongs not to the word next following, but to לצּדּיק; and ענשׁ (whence inf. ענושׁ, as Proverbs 21:11, with the ǎ in ע, cf. also עבד, Proverbs 11:10, for אבד) means here not specially to inflict a pecuniary fine, but generally to punish, for, as in mulctare, the meaning is generalized, elsewhere with the accus., Deuteronomy 22:19, here to give to any one to undergo punishment. The ruler is the servant of God, who has to preserve rectitude, εἰς ὀργὴν τῷ τὸ κακὸν πράσσοντι (Romans 13:14). It is not good when he makes his power to punish to be felt by the innocent as well as by the guilty.

In 26b, instead of הכּות, the proverb is continued with להכּות; לא־טוב, which is to be supplied, takes the inf. alone when it precedes, and the inf. with ל when it follows, Proverbs 18:5; Proverbs 28:21; Proverbs 21:9 (but cf. Proverbs 21:19). הכּות is the usual word for punishment by scourging, Deuteronomy 25:1-3, cf. 2 Corinthians 11:24, N.T. μαστιγοῦν, δίρειν, Rabb. מכּות, strokes, or מלקוּת from לקה, vapulare, to receive stripes. נדיבים are here those noble in disposition. The idea of נדיב fluctuates between generosus in an outward and in a moral sense, wherefore על־ישׁר, or rather עלי־ישׁר, is added; for the old editions, correct MSS, and e.g., also Soncin. 1488, present עלי (vid., Norzi). Hitzig incorrectly explains this, "against what is due" (ישׁר, as Proverbs 11:24); also Psalm 94:20, עלי־חק does not mean κατὰ προστάγματος (Symmachus), but ἐπὶ προστάγματι (lxx and Theod.), on the ground of right equals praetextu juris (Vatabl.). Thus עלי־ישׁר means here neither against nor beyond what is due, but: on the ground of honourable conduct, making this (of course mistakenly) a lawful title to punishment; Aquila, ἐπὶ εὐθύτητι, cf. Matthew 5:10, ἕνεκεν δικαιοσύνης. Besides, for על after הכּה, the causal signification lies nearest Numbers 22:32, cf. Isaiah 1:5 (על־מה, on account of anything). If the power of punishment is abused to the punishing of the righteous, yea, even to the corporeal chastisement of the noble, and their straight, i.e., conscientious, firm, open conduct, is made a crime against them, that is not good - it is perversion of the idea of justice, and an iniquity which challenges the penal rectitude of the Most High (Ecclesiastes 5:7 [8]).

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