Use of words (Prov 10:19-10:21)

“When words are many,

Transgression is not lacking.

But the prudent are restrained in speech.

The tongue of the righteous is choice silver.

The mind of the wicked is of little worth.

The lips of the righteous feed many.

But fools die for lack of sense.”     

If you talk too much, the chance of transgression increases. The prudent are more restrained in speech. The righteous have a silver tongue, while the wicked have very little worthwhile in their mind. The lips of the righteous can feed many people, but fools die for a lack of good sense.

Keep on the straight and narrow (Prov 4:20-4:27)

“My child!

Be attentive to my words!

Incline your ear to my sayings.

Do not let them escape from your sight.

Keep them within your heart!

They are life to those who find them.

They are healing to all their flesh.

Keep your heart with all vigilance!

The springs of life flow from your heart.

Put away from you crooked speech!

Put devious talk far from you!

Let your eyes look directly forward.

Your gaze should be straight before you.

Keep straight the path of your feet!

Then all your ways will be sure.

Do not swerve to the right or to the left!

Turn your foot away from evil!”

The parental fatherly advice concludes this chapter. They are to keep on the straight and narrow path. Once again, he asks his children to be attentive and listen to his words. They are not to let his words escape, but rather keep them in their hearts. If they do that, then they will have life and healing. The heart is where all life comes from, so that your heart had to be vigilant. They were not to have crooked or devious speech. Their eyes should always be looking forward with a gaze straight ahead. They had to keep their feet on the straight path, never swerving to the right or the left. They were, of course, to stay away from evil.

Wisdom will save you from evil people (Prov 2:10-2:15)

“When wisdom comes into your heart,

Then knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.

Prudence will watch over you.

Understanding will guard you.

It will save you

From the way of evil.

It will save you

From those who speak perversely.

It will save you

From those who forsake the paths of uprightness.

They walk in the ways of darkness.

They rejoice in doing evil.

They delight in the perverseness of evil.

Their paths are crooked.

They are devious in their ways.”

Things will go better for you if you have wisdom in your heart. Your soul will be pleased with its knowledge, prudence, and understanding. On the other hand, wisdom will save you from evil ways and perverse speech. It will help you keep on the straight and narrow. Wisdom will keep you away from those who walk in darkness or do perverse evil on crooked paths in their devious ways.

A deceptive friend (Ps 55:20-55:21)

“My companion laid hands on a friend.

He violated a covenant with me.

His speech was smoother than butter.

But war was in his heart.

His words were softer than oil.

But in fact they were drawn swords.”

Now David picks on one person, his friend and companion.  He had violated an agreement with David.  His speech and words were smoother than butter and softer than oil.  What a metaphor!  Butter and oil, things we like, were used to show the sweet talking friend.  However, war was in his heart.  His words were like drawn swords.

The wicked city (Ps 55:8-55:11)

“‘I would hurry to find a shelter for myself,

From the raging wind and tempest.’

Confuse them!

Yahweh!

Confound their speech!

I see violence and strife in the city.

Day and night they go around it

On its walls.

Iniquity and trouble are within it.

Ruin is in its midst.

Oppression and fraud

Do not depart from its marketplace.”

David wanted to find a shelter for himself in the wilderness that would protect him from the raging wind and stormy rain.  At the same time, he wanted Yahweh to confuse the speech of those in the city.  Like today, he said that there was so much violence and strife in the city.  Does that sound like the good old days?  Violence in the cities has been around for over 2,500 years.  So what is new?  There was iniquity and trouble within the city both day and night, around the walls of the city.  Ruin was coming to them because of the oppression and fraud of their marketplace.  Those old fashioned business men were cheating in the marketplace.  Wow!  That is strange to hear.

Bildad responded to Job (Job 18:1-18:4)

“Then Bildad the Shuhite answered.

‘How long will you hunt for words?

Consider!

Then we shall speak.

Why are we counted as cattle?

Why are we stupid in your sight?

You who tear yourself in your anger,

Shall the earth be forsaken because of you?

Shall the rock be removed out of its place?’”

Bildad responded with his second speech that Job is acting like he was the center of the world. Why was Job trying to hunt for words? Bildad and his friends wanted to speak. Why were they called cattle or stupid? Job was angry at himself. Then he was mad at everyone else. He was making too much of himself. Was the world going to stop? Would rocks jump up to move on? No, Job was being too ego-centric.

Job wants them to explain themselves (Job 6:24-6:27)

“Teach me!

I will be silent.

Make me understand how I have gone wrong.

How forceful are honest words!

But you criticize.

What does it do to blame?

Do you think that you can use accusing words?

Is the speech of the desperate like a wind?

You would even cast lots over the orphan.

You would even bargain over your friend.”

Job dared them to tell him where he made a mistake. Where had he gone wrong? He was being criticized and reprimanded without anything specific. Where they critical of his words? Did they blame him? Their speech was like the wind, as it easily moved on. They were the kind of people who would gamble over orphans and bargain over friends. Who needs friends like this?