He that hides hatred with lying lips, and he that utters a slander, is a fool.
Sent by his master to purchase the best dish the market could supply, AEsop provided only tongues, which were served up with different sauces for every course; ordered afterwards to provide the worst things he could find, he again appeared with a supply of tongues. The moral is obvious.
I. THE LANGUAGE OF DECEIT (ver. 18). Lying is a sin committed by —
1. The false witness (Proverbs 14:5).
2. The dishonest tradesman (Proverbs 20:14).
II. THE LANGUAGE OF SLANDER (ver. 18). "The safe rule as to the government of the tongue in society," says Dean Goulburn, "is to stand at a very respectful distance from all such topics as our neighbour's conduct and character."
III. THE LANGUAGE OF PROFUSION (ver. 19). It is better to say nothing than that what we say should be nothing to the purpose. Profuse talkers often transgress the law of —
1. Reverence (Ecclesiastes 5:2).
2. Courtesy. Conversation is not merely talking to people, but talking with people (Romans 15:2).
3. Integrity. When speech runs in advance of thought, it is apt to run in advance of truth (Colossians 4:6; Titus 2:8).
4. Prudence (John 16:12). The restraint of the tongue is a Christian duty (Matthew 27:14; James 1:26).
IV. THE LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION (vers. 20, 21). Two figures are used. "Choice silver" represents worth, Good words are a choice heritage. They are valuable because they create good thoughts and often lead to good acts (Psalm 34:11). The 21st verse gives us the thought of food ("feed many"). The words of the true man of God are food for the soul. The lips of the righteous utter the words of wisdom (ver. 30), for there is a vital connection between what a man is and what he says and does (Acts 4:20; Corinthians 4:13).
Parallel VersesKJV: He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.