Archive for the ‘Proverbs’ Category


Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 30:20 This is the way of an adulteress; She eats and wipes her mouth and says, I’ve done nothing wrong. 

An adulteress is incredible! She has the least amount of conscience and the most amount of pretension. She commits one of the most heinous betrayals possible, yet she can talk and live, as if she has done nothing. She will keep up wifely habits to keep her trusting husband and others from suspecting. Having just described four wonderful things beyond his easy perception, the prophet Agur compared an adulteress to them (Pr 30:1,18-19).

The way an eagle soars on thermal updrafts and dives after prey is marvelous. The way a snake moves without arms or legs on a smooth rock is marvelous. The way a bulky ship sails smoothly through seas without oars or trail is marvelous. And the ease and power with which a man wins a virgin is marvelous. These four things are hard to discern, and so is it hard to believe a married woman can have sex with another man (Pr 30:18-20).

The eating of this proverb does not involve food – it is the sexual acts of the adulteress. She opens her legs to a stranger and enjoys physical pleasures limited to her husband and his bed only. Eating is used here as a euphemism for sexual intercourse, as it was used earlier (Pr 5:15; 9:17; 20:17). While the Bible may use plainer speech in other places, it chooses a euphemism to enhance the proverb here (Ezek 16:17,25-26; 23:16-21).

The wiping of her mouth does not involve a napkin – it is the covering of her tracks to avoid detection. She does everything necessary to hide her liaisons from her husband and others. She waits for her husband to be away (Pr 7:19-20; Gen 39:7-12). She speedily takes care of household duties; she makes the lost time disappear; she hides any signs of her sin; she washes her body and prepares to meet her husband as if everything is fine.

She pretends by her words and actions to her husband that all is well. She dotes on her husband at home and in public. She enters his bed and is intimate with him as if all is well. She plays with her children, speaks with the neighbors, attends church on Sunday, dresses merrily, and continues to wear his wedding ring. There is no compunction, guilt, or remorse. She acts as if she has done nothing wrong at all, in spite of her heinous sin.

The present generation glamorizes adulteresses by movies and serials, performing artists and actresses, romance novels, psychotherapists, and profane marriage counselors. Think “Braveheart,”  “Doctor Zhivago,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Sex and the City,” Princess Diana, etc.! Hollywood never glamorizes marriage! Never! While adultery once brought capital punishment, public flogging, or branding, it is laughed at today and admired as an exciting event. Though a crime on the books of many states, it is not enforced in any state. The whole world eats, wipes its mouth, and says, “I have done no wickedness!”

But there is a God in heaven that hates adultery and adulteresses. It is not an affair: it is not having a lover; it is not a weak moment; it is adultery – the violation of a marriage covenant and wedding (Ex 20:14). Adulteresses received the death penalty in a nation where God wrote the laws (Lev 20:10; Ezek 16:38), and the Jews conspiratorial attempt to trap Jesus and His response do not change God’s civil opinion at all (John 8:1-11).

God designed the woman’s body to prove virginity when entering marriage, and He gave a test under Moses to expose infidelity after marriage (Deut 22:13-21; Num 5:11-31). How far did He go to enforce female chastity? He called for cutting off a wife’s hands for touching another man’s genitals, even if assisting her husband in a fight (Deut 25:11-12). He may have allowed polygamy for hard male hearts, but never polyandry (Ex 21:10-11).

For any adulteress convicted and condemned by this proverb, repentance makes all the difference in the world. The Lord Jesus Christ is as quick to forgive this sin as any other (Luke 7:36-50; John 4:4-42; 8:1-11; I Cor 6:9-11). Jesus received repenting harlots gladly, and they entered His kingdom before religious types (Matt 21:31-32). You can clear yourself altogether from this heinous sin by godly sorrow (II Cor 7:10-11). Glory!

God blessed Bathsheba to be in the lineage of Jesus Christ twice (II Sam 12:24; Matt 1:6; Luke 3:31; I Chron 3:5). Both Tamar and Rahab made the same lineage, though guilty of the sin of adultery also (Matt 1:3,5). While the sins of Mary Magdalene, once possessed by seven devils, are not known, Jesus appeared to her first after His resurrection (Mark 16:9). Rejoice, repentant reader! Your sins are forgiven! Go in peace, and sin no more!

The proverb describes adulterous women, for Proverbs is primarily a book of wisdom and warnings for young men (Pr 1:1-7). But there is an adulterer for every adulteress. Let every man remember God’s justice required the death of the adulteress and adulterer (Lev 20:10). Godly men make covenants with their eyes when they marry – they will not think about sexual intimacy with another woman (Job 31:1). Solomon condemned looking at other women, and he taught men to be content with a wife (Pr 6:24-26; 5:18-20).

There is more than one way to be an adulteress. The very thought of foolishness is sin, so any fantasies of the heart are equal in the sight of God to the actual deed (Pr 24:9; Ex 20:17; Job 31:1; Matt 5:28). A godly woman is chaste in thought and deed (Tit 2:5; I Pet 3:2). There is no more liberty for a woman to read romance novels, watch soap operas, or enjoy Hollywood romance movies than for a man to fantasize with pornography.

There is more than one way to be an adulteress. The holy God of heaven considers friendship with the world by Christians or churches to be spiritual adultery (Ezek 16:1-59; Hos 1:1-3; 9:1; II Cor 11:1-4; Jas 4:4). He is a jealous God, and He will not share His glory, affection, or worship with any others (Deut 4:23-26; Josh 24:19; Heb 12:28-29).

He rejects those who think they can love Him and the things of the world at the same time (Matt 6:24; Phil 3:18-19; I John 2:15-17). He rejects compromised worship like a man would reject his wife remembering or doting on other lovers (Ezek 23:38-39; II Cor 6:14-17). If you love the world, you are flirting or committing adultery with His enemy!

Jesus Christ showed John a vision of a great whore with harlot daughters, who was full of abominations and filthy fornication (Rev 17:1-6). This whore also eats, wipes her mouth, and professes to be innocent and pure, for she is a specific church renowned for spiritual fornication against the God of heaven. Her severe judgment is described in detail (Rev 17:15-17; 18:1-24). What church is she? The city that ruled the world in the days of John (Rev 17:18)! Who are her daughters? The churches that came out of her later!


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 27:26 The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field.

Can you do economic analysis? God and Solomon expect you to. If you cannot, or will not, you are heading for financial poverty. You will not be alone, for many in this lazy generation think no more about the future than counting the days to their next paycheck. But your Creator inspired a divine library to help you prosper financially over them.

King Solomon, God’s preacher to you for practical wisdom and success, wrote an extended lesson to warn you about the ever-changing economic landscape (Pr 27:23-27). He knew men must prudently consider their means of income, for financial or business success never stays the same and even the most secure positions are soon lost.

In an agrarian society, maximizing the yield of fields to support an estate required careful examination of all species of livestock and plants used to generate food, clothing, and revenue. In this short section, he listed flocks, herds, hay, grass, herbs, lambs, and goats – a diversified business enterprise for sure. Diversification is prudent, but it is not enough.

For each animal and plant segment of operations, a wise man analyzed its vitality and yield, market prices for its product, and compared these to maximize total revenue with the least risk. This is no small task. Farmers may be lightly esteemed by many, but they are often sharp businessmen, even using futures markets to hedge their business plan.

This proverb identified lambs and goats, two segments of the business. Lambs are only the offspring of sheep, and goats with their peculiarities may not be an exciting venture, but they are both necessary. The lambs produce wool for clothing and grow into sheep, and goats can grow and produce milk on almost nothing, giving value to inferior land.

What is the lesson for you? You must analyze each part of your economic endeavors and alter your plans to maximize profit and minimize risk in a changing world. Is your industry growing or decaying? Is your company competitive within your industry? Is your position valuable in your company? Are your skills in demand and marketable? Could you or someone else add another business? What is the prudent expected return?

Do you know the market value of your house? Are you over-exposed to real estate fluctuations? Is it insured? Have you done everything to minimize taxes? Are your investments wise in light of worldwide economic changes and your government’s fiscal policies? Are you diversified? Are you financially liquid to take advantage of exceptional opportunities that might become available? These are some financial duties from God.

If these questions intimidate or confuse you, then you should consult with some wise counselors, either professionals or your successful friends, and let them help you analyze your economic situation. Solomon taught that there is safety in a multitude of wise counselors (Pr 15:22). With their assistance, you can keep the wisdom of this proverb.

What a blessing – the Christian scriptures! From the origin of the universe to its soon renovation, from the attributes of God to the details of salvation, the Bible deals with your whole life, including economic safety and success. Those ignorant of the Bible think it an outdated and impractical doctrinal textbook, but this proverb should open your eyes.

Thank God for inspiring Solomon to write you about the necessary parts of your life – making a living and building a family estate. Read the related commentaries of the verses surrounding this one (Pr 27:23-27). Exalt God’s word by hearing it preached or explained regularly, and by all means obey the wisdom God has conveyed to you for your profit.


Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 26:23 Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross. 

Are you guilty of one or both of these terrible sins – burning lips that say negative things about others or a wicked heart that thinks such things? If you are guilty of both, you are like a broken piece of pottery covered with the scum from silver refining. What an ugly and worthless person! If you cannot say kind things about others, then say nothing at all.

Here is a simple simile – a stated comparison, by the word “like,” of a man to a clay vessel. An evil man, with a malicious heart and cruel speech, is like a broken fragment of pottery painted over with scum. A good man, with a noble heart and kind words, is like a beautiful work of pottery covered with fine silver, a delightful and valuable object.

What are burning lips? This man has a fire in his mouth, and he regularly burns others with critical and hateful speech. He cannot stay silent for long – he must say something derogatory about others. His lips are set on fire of hell (Pr 4:24; 10:18; 16:27; Jas 3:5-9).

What is a wicked heart? This phrase describes the person whose heart is filled with arrogant contempt and malicious hatred of others, as the context shows (Pr 26:18-28). He does not know God, and he has no affection for others, except to use them for his own selfish ends. He is a murderer at heart, though he may not have committed the crime yet.

Do you have either burning lips or a wicked heart, or do you have both? It is easy to find out. How easily do you argue, backbite, flatter, lie, slander, tattle, or whisper? If you sin in these ways easily, you surely have burning lips. And if you do not grieve after such sins of your lips, then you also have a wicked heart. Reader, examine yourself and repent.

While your lips and heart are not perfectly connected, they are very closely connected. A man may sin once in a while with his lips and have a pure heart, but he will be grieved for it. If a man sins often by attacking others with his words, he shows a violent and wicked heart. Jesus taught that the mouth clearly reveals the heart (Matt 12:34-37).

Many beautiful works of art and household vessels were once made from pottery. A well-formed clay object covered with fine silver could be exquisite in appearance and use. But a potsherd is a broken piece of pottery, and silver dross is the refuse scum from refining.

Wise men examine their hearts and guard their lips – they fear a critical heart and cruel lips that harm others (Pr 6:12-15; 17:20). They will instead choose a pure heart and gracious lips that can win even a king for a friend (Pr 22:11). Reader, examine yourself!


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 24:28 Do not testify against your neighbor without cause, or use your lips to deceive. 

You can hurt others by words. Or you can protect them by guarding your speech. It is easy to harm another person by gossip or slander. By hurting his reputation or testimony, you may inflict great pain or disadvantage on him. Part of godliness and wisdom is to rule your mouth, so you do not injure another person through malice or indiscretion.

Legal situations occur where you might be called as a witness for an accident, crime, or a person’s character. Your duty before God and men is to not testify against anyone without cause – there must be a righteous reason to disclose anything about another person, especially something negative. And you should never lie about him, which is bearing false witness, the ninth commandment of God’s ten to Moses (Ex 20:1-17).

Who is your neighbor? Your neighbor intends many more than just the few who live near you. It includes anyone you meet during your life, even those you might dislike and consider enemies by culture or race (Luke 10:29-37). It includes fellow employees, church members, relatives, fellow students, citizens, your doctor’s staff, and all like them.

A call to court as a witness is rare, but supervisors or managers asking you about fellow employees is not. Are you ready for such an event? You should tell only the truth needed, if confronted. But you should never use the opportunity to damage another employee to advance yourself, either with true events or lies. Solomon condemned it (Pr 30:10).

Never tell negative things about another person, unless necessary for some authority to rightly exercise their office. Even if events are true, it is wrong to spread secrets to others, for you damage their reputation, which can be like murder (Pr 18:8,21; 26:22). What some call gossip – the Bible condemns as sins of backbiting, talebearing, and whispering.

If you know private information about a person, keep it to yourself. Private things you know about others are secrets. Talebearers go around revealing secrets, but faithful men conceal them (Pr 11:13; 20:19). Are you a talebearer or faithful? Talebearers are very destructive (Pr 18:8; 26:20,22). God hates them and their sin (Pr 6:16-19; Lev 19:16).

This sin of talebearing, or tattling (I Tim 5:13), which some call gossip, is backbiting in the Bible. It is backbiting, for you bite a person in the back when you tell secrets about them in their absence (Pr 25:23; Rom 1:30; II Cor 12:20). Faithful men protect those not present by avoiding critical or negative speech about them (Ps 15:3; Pr 25:23).

Talking about others is also called whispering in the Bible, for it is the private sharing of secrets with others through hushed conversation or insinuation (Rom 1:29; II Cor 12:20). Whispering is destructive, as it turns men’s minds against even their friends (Pr 16:28; 17:9). Faithful men are protective and kind – they hate whispering and choose praise instead. They love their neighbors, which is the second greatest commandment of all.

Thus far, the lesson forbids speaking against your neighbor without a good reason. Even true events should be kept secret unless you must reveal them for a righteous cause (Matt 5:22). Telling the truth that hurts a reputation is talebearing, backbiting, and whispering. Though such sins are ignored due to the moral decline everywhere, you can despise them.

But the proverb here also condemns deceiving speech. This is slander – telling lies to get another person in trouble or to damage their character. This is bearing false witness, for you deceive and lie to injure him. Fools slander others (Pr 10:18; 25:18). God will punish false witnesses (Pr 19:5,9; 21:28). Good men will not slander (Pr 14:5; I Tim 3:11).

As the next proverb indicates (Pr 24:29), revenge should never be part of conversation about others. You must not reveal secrets about them or slander them by lies, even if they have mistreated you in the past. God will repay them, if they have wronged you, and He commands you to leave the matter to Him (Lev 19:18; Rom 12:17-21). He will repay.

Though not included here directly, flattery is also sinful speech that harms others, for it feigns and pretends either affection or praise for deceitful purposes. Whores use it to seduce young men (Pr 2:16; 5:3; 6:24; 7:5). It also is destructive (Pr 20:19; 26:28; 29:5). It is another form of lying and bearing false witness, for the praise is not sincere at all.

Consider the proverb’s wisdom! Your tongue – your words – can cut and hurt others, or they can be health and joy (Pr 12:18; 10:20-21; 16:24). God hears or reads your every word, knowing all the intents of your heart, so beware (Ps 139:4; Pr 18:21). It has been well said, if you cannot say something nice about another person, then say nothing at all!

Since men sin so many ways with their mouths, what will you do to stop talkers from injuring others? You should get angry against backbiters and cut them off from their violent game (Pr 25:23). Since men often lie to either injure or seduce, do not be affected by everything you hear, whether against you (Eccl 7:21-22) or for you (Pr 26:24-25).

Words come from the heart, so think only kindly about others, and then only kind words will pass your lips (Luke 6:45). Keep your heart diligently toward this goal (Pr 4:23). Always tell the truth (Pr 12:19,22). Only be critical when necessary for those in authority or for the profit of the hearer or the named (Pr 21:28; 29:24; 9:8; II Tim 4:14-15).

There is one witness always faithful and true and named accordingly (Rev 1:5; 3:14; 19:11). In a day very soon, Jesus Christ will be the only advocate or mediator before God the Judge of all (I Tim 2:5; Rev 20:11-15). He will tell the truth – fully and honestly. He will condemn the wicked (Matt 7:21-23). He will justify the righteous (Heb 2:10-13). Do you know Him? Or much more importantly, does He know you (Gal 4:9; II Tim 2:19)?


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 20:5 Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.

It takes skill to discover what others really think. What wise men think could help you succeed. What fools think could cost you dearly. Only a man of understanding will have the ability and patience to extract personal and secret plans and opinions out of others.

The simile here compares a deep well, where the water lies well below the surface of the ground. In order to obtain the water, significant ingenuity and labor must be put forth to reach so far down and bring the water to the surface. Only the creative and diligent will identify the means and put forth the effort. Most will look elsewhere for easier water.

There are reasons it takes similar skill to draw counsel out of others. First, they may fear letting their opinions be known. Second, they may by godliness and graciousness be modest men, and though gifted, reticent and slow to speak and discuss. Third, they may be planning sinful things, and to admit their thoughts would be to condemn themselves.

There is a positive and negative side to this proverb’s lesson. The positive application is your benefit or need to extract prudent and practical advice from wise counselors for your safety or success. The negative application is your need to discover dangerous plans lurking in the hearts or minds of those that could harm others, themselves, or you.

Good counsel from a multitude of wise advisors is necessary for your success – this is one of the most important rules of wisdom, which Solomon often repeated (Pr 11:14; 12:15; 15:22; 19:20; 20:18; 24:6). It is a very precious thing – like good cologne rejoicing the heart – to get hearty counsel from a friend (Pr 27:9; 24:26; 15:23; 25:11-12).

But obtaining such counsel may be difficult, for true wise men are also godly and sober, not willing to speak until asked properly for the right reasons (Pr 10:19; 15:2,28; 17:27; 29:11). There are also shallow wells and foaming fountains, but they are to be compared to the cackling noise of fools pouring out only folly (Pr 15:28; 29:11,20; Eccl 10:12-14).

If the wise counselor is fearful (it could be for many reasons), you should respectfully assure him that you appreciate any advice he might give, that you will use it discreetly, and that there are no strings attached and no liability or obligation on his part. You should be very cautious to criticize his advice. Let him advise you, not the other way around.

If the wise counselor is modest (it could be either appropriately or excessively), you should remind him that you need him, that he has the years, experience, or reputation for wisdom, and that you are obeying Solomon’s wisdom to ask him. You should provide sufficient background to assist his analysis and thank him well for anything he offers.

A man of understanding will know how to take the elementary advice of the previous two paragraphs and leverage it into a successful interview with either kind of wise counselor – the fearful or the modest. With both counselors, you must be open enough yourself to prove your sincerity. By practicing godly character and holding humble respect for knowledgeable men, you will learn how to draw much pure water from deep wells.

Consider Abigail’s wisdom dealing with her foolish husband and wise David. Her timing, use of gifts, great humility, gentle approach, and prudent conclusions drew water deep from David’s heart to a great victory that day (and a marriage in ten days!). Consider also how the queen of Sheba approached King Solomon to learn his wisdom (I Kgs 10:1-7).

Those in authority must discover the other kind of counsel – the plans of fools or wicked men that they keep hidden for fear of punishment (Pr 25:2; 29:19; Deut 13:12-15; I Cor 1:10-13). This is the work of fathers, masters, husbands, rulers, and pastors. They must create security, plan a wise approach, and explore with wise questions to prime the pump.

Parent, do you often communicate with your children to learn their hearts and minds about the things concerning them most? Do you have the understanding taught in this proverb to draw out their inner fears and thoughts? Can you combine love, knowledge, and authority, in that order, to open your children’s hearts and help them (Pr 23:26)?

Better yet, child, do you go to the well of counsel in your house and get the advice and help you need to succeed? While you may think you know something at 16 or 26, you are in serious need of counsel. Do you know how to draw out sincere and loving instruction from your parents? This is the lesson. Open up to them, and learn from them today.

The Christian God is like no other. His counsel is not hidden away with the ancients, nor buried in endless verbal traditions, nor disguised in obscure hieroglyphics, nor reserved for some priesthood, nor chanted nonsensically in Arabic or Latin. What is needful for you is plainly written in the Bible (Deut 29:29; Ps 19:7-11; 119:128; II Tim 3:16-17).

Jesus Christ is called Counselor for the treasures of wisdom and knowledge that are hidden in Him (Is 9:6; Col 2:3). Do you know Him? Do you love Him? He said, “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23). And, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26).


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 11:14 For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure.

Neither you nor your government know how to make good decisions in a vacuum. The protection against bad decisions is to identify a large number of wise men to help make important decisions. If a government proceeds in haste, pride, or by the whims of one man, corruption and trouble will likely follow for that principality. But when a government heeds a broad range of wise men, there is generally profit and safety for all.

God inspired Solomon to write Proverbs to teach young men to be wise (Pr 1:1-5). Here is an important rule of prudence and wisdom. Do not make large decisions without consulting a variety of wise and successful men, who are not emotionally, personally, or financially involved. They can apply their wisdom and experience to your situation without the distracting and distorting influences that may be corrupting your thoughts.

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes. Of course! Have you ever made a bad decision? Of course not! This is a fact of human behavior Solomon had often observed (Pr 14:12; 16:2,25; 21:2). But you are often wrong for many reasons, even though you may not realize it. You are inherently ignorant, emotionally affected, personally biased, educationally distorted, financially motivated, and peer influenced. You are dangerous!

Not every counselor will do! If you choose to check your ideas and decisions with just your friends, most of them will agree with you to keep your friendship and avoid debate. This very thing happened to Solomon’s son, Rehoboam. After the death of his father, he listened to his young friends rather than his father’s aged and wise counselors. Because of this foolish choice, he lost 10 of his nation’s 12 tribes to a rival (I Kgs 12:1-20).

It has been said, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” To counter this perverting effect of authority, those in positions of leadership must rely even more heavily on counselors. If they seek to go it alone, they are taking a great risk with their office and the poor people under them. How many souls, lives, and fortunes would have been saved, if all husbands, fathers, masters, pastors, and rulers had used counselors?

Consider World War II. Counselors could have saved Chamberlain from Hitler’s lies. If Hitler had trusted his military advisors, he would have defeated the Soviets. Counselors tried to save Japan from war with the U.S., but were rejected. And General Patton’s counsel to take out the Soviets should have been considered more. These are decisions that caused many to fall, and these are only a very few associated with only that one war!

Wise readers know God’s sovereign government of nations was the cause, course, and conclusion of World War II, so they need to remember that God in judgment may work above this rule of wisdom by corrupting counselors to bring about His will in nations. He is able and willing to do so, and He has certainly done so in the past (Job 5:12-14; II Sam 15:31; I Kgs 22:19-23; Ps 9:15-17; Isaiah 19:11-14; 29:9-16; I Cor 1:19-20; 3:18-20).

If you desire to grow in wisdom, you will jettison your thoughts and replace them with the opinions of wise counselors. This is a hard choice to make, because you sinfully hate being criticized or corrected. You want to be the wise one that always makes outstanding decisions. You must learn to crush your pride and subject your ideas and plans to the analysis and examination of others. By choosing godly and successful men as your counselors, you can instantly raise the quality and results of your decisions.

The ultimate counselors are those that know the word of God and can apply it to your life and choices (Pr 22:17-21; Job 32:6-22; 33:23-24; Ps 119:98-100; II Tim 3:16-17). Counsel contrary to the Bible is worse than no counsel at all; it is destructive (Is 8:20; I Tim 6:3-5). Do you have godly counselors in your life (Mal 2:7; Acts 8:30-31; Heb 13:7,17)? Are you such a counselor to those that need you (Pr 11:30; 15:4; Heb 5:12-14; I Pet 3:15)? You may find godly counselors in a true church of Jesus Christ.


Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 4:24 Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. 

Rule your speech. Guard your tongue. Mark your words. After keeping your heart with all diligence, from which come the issues of life, Solomon warned you to reject ungodly speech (Pr 4:23). Beginning with the thoughts and intents of the heart, wisdom demands you govern your speech (Pr 4:24), your eyes (Pr 4:25), and your feet (Pr 4:26-27).

It is impossible to have godly and gracious speech without a pure heart, for the content of the heart supplies the mouth (Matt 12:33-35). You can tell a good heart by kind and holy words, and you can tell a bad heart by harsh or carnal words. Jesus said it; believe it. Kings love the perfect man who speaks graciously from a pure heart (Pr 22:11).

This proverb does not warn you to stay away from those with froward mouths and perverse lips, for that advice is given elsewhere (Pr 14:7; 19:27; I Cor 15:33). It warns you to get rid of your own froward mouth and perverse lips. The context is ruling your own heart, lips, eyes, and feet (Pr 4:23-27), not avoiding others with those sins.

Solomon taught his son and told him to listen and submit to his fatherly instruction (Pr 4:20). He then exhorted him to keep his advice directly before him and firm in his resolve (Pr 4:21). And he encouraged him by saying that it would give him life and health (Pr 4:22). Then in order, he told his son to guard his heart, lips, eyes, and steps (Pr 4:23-27).

A foolish mouth will ruin your reputation (Eccl 5:3; 10:12-14). An offensive mouth will cause trouble with men (Pr 12:13; 13:3; 14:7; 18:6-7; 22:10; 24:9). And then you will give account of every idle word in the Judgment (Pr 6:16-19; Matt 12:36-37; Eph 5:3-6).

Kind and wise speech will build your reputation (Pr 15:4; 18:20; 24:26). Appropriate words will enhance your relationship with men (Pr 10:32; 15:23; 16:13; 25:11). And the blessed God is pleased with constructive and helpful words (Pr 12:22; Eph 4:29; Col 4:6).

Improve your speech by cutting your words in half, if you talk more than the average person (Pr 17:27; Jas 1:19). You then must rule your spirit, for it can kindle a fire from hell (Pr 16:32; Jas 3:3-8)! And you have to avoid arguments (Pr 26:4-5; II Tim 2:23).

If you keep your heart at peace with the Lord and man, it will be difficult for you to speak harsh or painful things. If you keep your heart pure with the Lord and man, it will be difficult for you to have foolish or carnal speech. If you fill your mind with noble things, you will have precious material for conversation (Phil 4:8). May God guide your tongue.