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Mosaic Authorship HOW RELIABLE ARE THE GOSPELS

Guard Your Tongue

Proverbs 13:2 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
From the fruit of a man’s mouth he eats good,
    but the soul[1] of the treacherous is for violence.

From the fruit of a man’s mouth he eats good: Here, the fruit (Heb. peri) of a man’s mouth (Heb. peh) means words from the mouth of the righteous (good, honest, upright) man, that is, speech, words, and thoughts, which can bring forth good. In other words, this is a figurative way of referring to what a good person says or the words that come from the mouth of a good or righteous person. Eats good (Heb. yokal tov) is figurative and means the words that come from a good or righteous man will result in his being rewarded with joy as his words bring forth good for himself and all others with whom he has an interchange. A good or righteous man will find joy in what he says.

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But the soul of the treacherous is for violence: The Hebrew word rendered soul [“soulful desire”] (wenephesh) is often used for what a person desires, craves to eat, appetite. The Hebrew verb rendered treacherous (bogedim) means to wrong another through being unfaithful. This one is quick to betray another and is dangerously deceitful. Violence (Heb. chamas) here is referring to unjust force, an act of aggression that can lead to physical contact. This is a strong, fierce, destructive force that can maim, destroy or kill a person. It also has the sense of abusive power. In line two the treacherous person is contrasted with the good man of lone one and violence is being contrasted with the fruit of a man’s mouth.

The righteous man will find joy and happiness from the good words that come from his mouth. On the other hand, the deceitful man will crave or desire violence. The king of Israel here is likening our mouth to a fruit-bearing tree, as he seeks to guide us in our speech. The words that we speak are the fruitage of our mouths. And we will reap what we sow from our words. If our words come from a pure and righteous heart and our intention is to be kind, gentle, and respectful, being used to establish friendly relations with others, we will find joy and happiness, as we go about peacefully in this fallen world. This is far different from those who want to be treacherous, who only desires, even crave to commit violence against others. As he goes about scheming how to maim, destroy, or hurt another person, he also is the recipient of violence as well. The snares of death are at his doorstep.

[1] I.e., desire

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