The Words of a
verse, which appears again in Proverbs 26:22, is problematic in the
translation one key word in the verse: wounds. (Hebrew:
- Two out
of 21 translations I consulted translated it “wound” (KJV &
Young’s) and the rest translate according to its other definition –
something like a “dainty or tasty morsel”…
- Of the
six different Hebrew dictionaries I consulted, all of them defined
the Hebrew term as “to gulp… to greedily swallow.” None defined it as
- It does
not appear to be a textual issue. The disagreement is not over a
different Hebrew word underlying the English.
appears to be a disagreement on the definition of a Hebrew term (laham)
that appears only twice in the Bible.
- And the
other occurrence of the term sheds no light on the definition because the
other verse is exactly the same as this one…
Solomon only meant ONE thing by the term he chose.
some ancient words go out of use… some change meaning… and it is hard to
know for SURE which definition is the correct one here.
things being equal, I normally give more weight to the KJV – because it
has stood the test of time.
- But here
I have NO dictionary that supports defining the term as “wound.”
comparing 21 translations, 6 Hebrew dictionaries, and about 20
commentaries, none gave any conclusive answers.
- With a
little more light on the subject, I might change my mind, but right now,
I have to go on what I have… and all the Hebrew dictionaries defined the
word as “dainty or delicate morsels.”
meaning you give this term, truth is presented… that is elsewhere
validated by other Scripture.
which definition we use will NOT affect truth or doctrine one bit.
- So, in
the spirit of honesty, I have to admit, I just don’t know for sure which
dictionary definition best suits Solomon’s meaning.
- BUT –
since this verse appears again in chapter 26… that gives me about 5 more
years to get to the bottom of this!
The words of a talebearer are
of a Talebearer
- Talebearer defined: a whispering gossip!
murmur, whisper, murmurers, backbite, slander
- Dict. of
Bib. Lang: express discontent in low tones – whispering under your breath
It indicates a person who whispers things that will harm others.
- It is
crystal clear what this term means.
is speaking about a blabber mouth… a gossip… one who runs from person to
person spreading dirt about someone else.
- Wounds Defined:
to gulp, swallow greedily.
- Dict. of
Bib. Lang: tidbit of food that is easy to consume
Aramaic Dict: dainty morsels swallowed greedily
Wordbook of the OT: bits greedily swallowed
gossip is like a delicious delicacy…
is the sort of thing that is extremely tempting… appealing… delicious!
- It is
the sort of thing that people LOVE to gobble up…
each of us is an insatiable appetite to consume gossip. It’s our
news about someone is almost too good to pass up.
doesn’t like to hear the latest dirt?
- Why do
think the gossip tabloids are so popular? Because it is human nature to
love to hear gossip… every society loves to consume this sort of thing…
- And to
look at the titles of some of the tabloids in line at grocery store,
people like to hear about it, even if they KNOW it isn’t true. (Martian
discovered in mountains of Montana…)
love to hear the gossip about celebrities… who’s getting divorced… and
who’s on drugs… how much money they make…
words of a gossiper are as juicy tid bits that people love to gobble up.
- But if we
take the reading in the KJV, that too makes perfect sense here AND it is
backed up by Scripture elsewhere.
- If we
understand laham to mean “wound” as in the KJV – or “self
inflicted wound” as in the Young’s Literal Translation, then
Solomon’s point is different.
- Thus, he
would be speaking about the pain and suffering that follow
is like a wound…
52:2-4 – here
again words are spoken of as a razor… that can cut, maim,
i. His words are sharp like a razor…
painful and damaging…
ii. Obviously, this is figurative
language, but we all know that words CAN cause wounds.
iii. This man uses his tongue for
mischief: calamity, evil, or destruction.
iv. He is deceitful… he loves evil and
lying… he LOVES this kind of hurtful talk… as long as he is not the one being
v. He loves devouring words… words that
devour others… do them harm…
vi. It is human nature to LOVE this sort
vii. And it is harmful and hurtful.
they go down into the
innermost parts of the belly
have an overly hearty appetite for the dainty morsels of gossip. (first
part of the verse). They are appetizing.
second part of the verse states that that are not only appetizing, they
are gobbled up!
- Gossip IS
swallowed by most people.
consider gossip to be a delicacy for the ears.
is rare… something not everyone gets every day… something special… just
for the “in” crowd, and therefore craved.
love it… and therefore they eat it up.
they take it in… they swallow it and it goes down into their
could be a figurative way of saying that people often BELIEVE it…
i. They take it in an absorb it.
ii. They swallow the gossip – hook,
line, and sinker.
iii. As food is assimilated into the
body, gossip is assimilated into their thinking – as truth.
could also be a way of saying that they remember it.
i. They swallow it up… and retain it…
ii. Why is it that it is so much easier
to remember the juicy gossip you heard last year, than the information you
studied for the test last week!
iii. There is a warning here. Before you
start spreading dirt about someone – remember, that once you give it out… it is
retained for a LONG time. People will remember what you said about so
- If that
is the meaning, the second part of the proverb speaks about the DEPTH
of the wound.
wounds are superficial and easily healed. Some wounds are deep and are
not easily healed.
wounds that go down into the innermost part of the belly are obviously
very deep wounds.
then results in wounds that deep… long lasting hurt… damaging… painful…
truth is also validated elsewhere in Scripture.
- Prov.12:18 – Words can be like the piercing
of a sword
i. Here the meaning is that words can
PIERCE like a sword.
ii. Being stabbed by a sword leaves deep
wounds… so too being stabbed by gossip. It can equally painful.
iii. And deep wounds don’t heal as easily
or as quickly as superficial ones.
BOTH definitions for laham make perfect sense in both
parts of this proverb.
is either describing human nature with respect to gossip –
how tantalizing and appealing it is to hear; how much people love to
gobble it up. There is in each of us an appetite for it.
- OR Solomon is warning us about
the pain that results from gossip.
- BOTH of
those statements are true. Our fallen nature craves gossip… AND it is
- So in
light of that, we are warned NOT to tolerate gossip.
- When we
hear gossip, we should consider that in a sense, we ARE our brother’s
i. If someone is gossiping about a
brother and slandering his name… we have a responsibility to NOT participate by
ii. We are to “look not every one on his
own, but every man also in the things of others.”
iii. We should be concerned about the
reputation of the one being slandered.
Sam. 24:9 - We
should not listen to it.
25:23 - Sometimes
all it takes is an angry look… to drive away the gossiper.
disapproval facially… and many gossipers will get the message and stop.
They will sense
whether you have an appetite for their juicy story or not.
If not, they
will offer their dainty morsels to another customer…
It’s not hard to
find ears eager to hear gossip…