Introducing the speech issue in the second book in Proverbs

I’ve already mentioned how Proverbs 10.1-5 form an introduction to the second book in Proverbs. It lays out foolishness and wisdom as basic choices related to whether one will plunder or produce. The next seven verses are a second stage introduction which adds to the choice between plunder and productivity the issue of speech:

6 Blessings are on the head of the righteous,
but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
7 The memory of the righteous is a blessing,
but the name of the wicked will rot.

8 The wise of heart will receive commandments,
but a babbling fool will come to ruin.

9 Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.

10 Whoever winks the eye causes trouble,
and a babbling fool will come to ruin.

11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,
but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
12 Hatred stirs up strife,
but love covers all offenses.

A few comments:

The speech of the wicked is contrasted with the fact that the wise listen (v. 8).

Two kinds of speech are condemned: mindless chatter and scheming deception (v. 10)

Scheming doesn’t work because it gets discovered (v. 9).

In the end it is all about choosing love over hate (v. 12).

Wise speech is life-giving because it is selective and thus rare. This section begins with listening rather than babbling and ends with covering offenses in silence.

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