New International Version
If a snake bites before it is charmed, the charmer receives no fee.
King James Bible
Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better.
Darby Bible Translation
If the serpent bite before enchantment, then the charmer hath no advantage.
World English Bible
If the snake bites before it is charmed, then is there no profit for the charmer's tongue.
Young's Literal Translation
If the serpent biteth without enchantment, Then there is no advantage to a master of the tongue.
Ecclesiastes 10:11 Parallel
CommentaryClarke's Commentary on the Bible
The serpent will bite without enchantment - בלא לחש belo lachash, without hissing. As a snake may bite before it hiss, so also will the babbler, talkative person, or calumniator. Without directly speaking evil, he insinuates, by innuendoes, things injurious to the reputation of his neighbor. Gif the eddir bite in silence, noyhing lasse than he hath that privily backbiteth - Old MS. Bible. "A babbler of his tongue is no better than a serpent that styngeth without hyssynge." - Coverdale. The moral of this saying is simply this: A calumniator is as dangerous as a poisonous serpent; and from the envenomed tongue of slander and detraction no man is safe. The comparing the serpent, נחש nachash, to a babbler, has something singular in it. I have already supposed that the creature mentioned, Genesis 3:1, was of the genus simia. This has been ridiculed, but not disproved.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
LibraryThe Way to the City
'The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city.'--ECCLES. x. 15. On the surface this seems to be merely a piece of homely, practical sagacity, conjoined with one of the bitter things which Ecclesiastes is fond of saying about those whom he calls 'fools.' It seems to repeat, under another metaphor, the same idea which has been presented in a previous verse, where we read: 'If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners Or, a Brief Relation of the Exceeding Mercy of God in Christ, to his Poor Servant, John Bunyan
but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
Their venom is like the venom of a snake, like that of a cobra that has stopped its ears,
that will not heed the tune of the charmer, however skillful the enchanter may be.
If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.
"See, I will send venomous snakes among you, vipers that cannot be charmed, and they will bite you," declares the LORD.
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