A Destructive Mouth
- This is
another proverb about speech in this chapter.
previous proverb spoke of the consequences of a foolish mouth… but in
terms of contention and arguing.
proverb also speaks about the consequences of a foolish mouth, but this
time in terms of the TROUBLE it brings to the fool himself.
A fool’s mouth is his destruction
word comes from the verb
ḥāṯaṯ meaning to be broken or
afraid. It is used most often in a figurative sense in
Proverbs to describe the ruin of the foolish.
destruction, ruin, terror, a breaking, terror, dismay;
- Dict. of
Bib. Lang: Undoing; a ruining of a person’s state from health and peace
to a life of disrepair and disrepute, and hardship.
- The term
Solomon used here speaks of the RUIN a person brings into
his own life because of his big, foolish mouth. And Solomon mentions this
truth often in Proverbs.
– the mouth of the fool is near destruction.
– the one who opens wide his lips has destruction.
– the one with a perverse tongue falls into mischief (different
term = bad, evil, calamity)
- Thus, it
is the mouth of a fool that brings calamity into his life;
a WIDE open mouth; a perverse tongue;
are certainly OTHER ways to bring destruction into our
lives, but Solomon has our big mouth in mind here.
- Jas.3:5-6 – a few words can set the
world on fire…
- A fire
brings destruction to everything in its pathway.
come in all sizes – from the small backyard fire that little boys are
tempted to light… to the raging wildfires that destroy thousands upon
thousands of acres out West each year.
- A fire
starts off very small – as a tiny spark. But it spreads rapidly and
easily rages out of control… the result of which is destruction…
tells us how destructive the tongue can be in general.
tells us how destructive a fool’s mouth can be to himself!
- II Kings
5:20 – Gehazi, Elisha’s servant lied and said that
Elisha sent him to Naaman to receive a gift.
- This was
a boldfaced lie – in order to get silver for himself.
- II Kings
5:21-27 – Gehazi was snared by the transgression of his lips.
- He lied
and at first was successful – for he did get the silver.
- BUT – he
was smitten with leprosy! He was snared… by the pit he dug for
foolish mouth was his own destruction.
And his lips are the snare
of his soul
a trap used to catch animals; bait, lure, snare,
figuratively of entrapment, i.e., what captures and controls another. It
comes to mean a moral pitfall.
uses the snare in a figurative sense, obviously.
lips… his speech become a snare… a trap.
10:12 – his own words swallow him up.
snare is figurative, for it ensnares the SOUL of a man.
here has the meaning of the whole person or his life.
- A man’s
LIFE can become lured away, ensnared and trapped…
often this is to be traced to his lips… his foolish, thoughtless,
arrogant, insensitive, careless, mean-spirited speech.
- His own
words will come back to bite him.
becomes a snare for his SOUL… his whole LIFE is affected by the
consequences of his big mouth.
it brings destruction to his person… ruin to his life… and it will catch up
to him sooner or later like a trap.
results in a snare of one sort or another. (Prov. 29:6)
- The “R”
are delivered from that snare. Avoiding transgression enables them to
avoid the consequences of transgressions. Hence, they can go on singing.
fools are not delivered. They are taken in the snare.
- This is
true of sin in general.
- All sin
comes with built in consequences. This is especially true of sinning with
- Prov.12:13 – The wicked is snared by the transgression
of his lips.
are countless ways to transgress with one’s lips.
Men lie with their lips… and are caught in their web of lies.
Men deceive with their lips…
Men brag and boast with their lips.
Men curse with their lips.
Men threaten with their lips.
Men blaspheme with their lips.
Men gossip with their lips.
like these eventually bring a snare.
- Men and
women who lie, gossip, and deceive others eventually get caught.
caught, they are trapped… no way out… caught red handed…
depending upon the severity of the verbal sin, the trap can be anything
from caught in embarrassment, to being trapped in prison!
7:9 = fools
are easily angered, and in anger say things that will become
a snare for them… destruction.
- How many
times have we trapped ourselves because in anger we said things we
says that it is a fool who acts hastily and rashly… and is easily
- That man
will inevitably say things that will BIND him in a trap. (I’m not doing
this ever… You’ll never get me to change my opinion… Over my dead body
I’ll do such and such…)
foolish language we use in anger tends to paint us in a corner… with no
way out. That’s a snare.
course, the way out is to eat humble pie, apologize, say “I was wrong.”
And change direction.
apart from a change of heart and repentance, our angry ranting and raving
leave us trapped.
- I know
people who have gotten divorces – when they really didn’t WANT to…
because they trapped themselves with words and arguments and were too proud
to admit it.
- The rest
of their lives were snared…
- Prov.21:6 – fools use their mouths to lie
and gain treasure, but it becomes a snare. (Cf. II Tim. 6: -
- The one
who loves money and LIES with his tongue to obtain it, will discover sooner
or later, that his tongue did not bring him blessing but cursing.
- It is
like seeking death… not treasures.
- I Tim.
6:9-10 – some men gain wealth through lying with their tongues. The love
of money that motivates that kind of behavior has some painful consequences:
it comes back to bit you – it pierces you through with many sorrows.
- It is a
trap… there is some attractive bait dangled before the eyes… but in the
end, it is not a blessing but a cursing.
lips ensnared his soul… affected his whole life.
6:1-2 – snared
with the words of your mouth… by making promises you are
unable to keep.
- Surety for thy friend…
i. Surety = to
pledge, exchange, mortgage, undertake for, take on pledge, give in pledge
ii. This speaks of
a man who has either promised to pay a debt or obligation for a friend, or has
pledged his own money or property as security for a friend.
iii. It is like
co-signing on a loan for someone – or putting your property up as security on a
iv. There are
consequences if that friend doesn’t pay!
- Stricken thy hand with a stranger…
i. Clapping one’s
hands was similar to a handshake today. It sealed a deal or a business
ii. Again, he is
speaking about a binding financial obligation to a stranger… a bank… a loan
shark… a business partner…
iii. Co-signing a
note for a friend might appear to be quite generous and kind
iv. There may be
times when it IS the right
thing to do. (Your son’s first car… student loans…)
v. But there are
other times when it is a FOOLISH thing to do.
A casual friend at work who fell upon hard times…
A relative you know is irresponsible…
A teenager who needs a brand new car…
A risky or questionable business deal…
c. In such cases
Solomon says that you are SNARED with the words of your own mouth…
d. Fool hardy
promises that proceeded from his lips resulted in snaring his life… he’s
Solomon speaks of several WAYS in which our foolish words ENSNARE our
with our lips…
- Words of
anger and the trap that brings…
words bring a snare…
promises from our lips can also bring a snare.
are probably 1001 other ways we can use our tongues to ensnare our souls.
- A young
man can RUIN his life because of his big mouth.
i. Because of his big mouth he might
get kicked out of school… and never graduate…
ii. Then he needs to take on a low level
job that he doesn’t like… and because of his big mouth, he looses that job too…
iii. Because people don’t want to put up
with his mouth – he goes from one job to another… until finally his resume of
short lived jobs keeps him from working at all…
iv. Because of his big mouth he has few
v. Because of his big mouth he could
find himself in trouble with the law too.
vi. Until he deals with the SOURCE of
his calamities (his big mouth) he will continue to stumble through life… from
one disaster to the next.
vii. He becomes exhibit A to demonstrate
the reality of Proverbs 18:7 – “A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his
lips are the snare of his soul.”
caution with our speech can keep us out of a LOT of trouble… it will keep
us free from many traps others fall into.
– ultimately, our words could condemn us! We will have to
give an account for every one of them before the Lord.