A wise son heareth his father's instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.
2 A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth: but the soul of the transgressors shall eat violence.
3 He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.
4 The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.
5 A righteous man hateth lying: but a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame.
6 Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way: but wickedness overthroweth the sinner.
7 There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.
8 The ransom of a man's life are his riches: but the poor heareth not rebuke.
9 The light of the righteous rejoiceth: but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.
10 Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.
11 Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.
12 Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.
13 Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.
14 The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.
15 Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.
16 Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open his folly.
17 A wicked messenger falleth into mischief: but a faithful ambassador is health.
18 Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.
19 The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil.
20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
21 Evil pursueth sinners: but to the righteous good shall be repayed.
22 A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.
23 Much food is in the tillage of the poor: but there is that is destroyed for want of judgment.
24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
25 The righteous eateth to the satisfying of his soul: but the belly of the wicked shall want.
Words hurt or heal. Words build or destroy. And yes, loose lips still sink “ships” of all kinds: partnerships, courtships, friendships, apprenticeships, and ownerships to name just a few. Loose undisciplined lips sink marriages, families, governments, reputations, and careers.
The concept of Divinely controlled speech expressed by Solomon in Proverbs 13 was not new with him. He probably learned it from his father David for he recorded the concept in Psalm 141:3 “Set a guard over my mouth, LORD, keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 39:1 speaks of a muzzle or a bridle to control the tongue. Job refers to the power of the tongue and the need to control it (Job 5:21, 15:3 & 5, 20:12, 27:4). Guarding what we say is so important that it is mentioned numerous times in the New Testament too. James 3 speaks about the power of the tongue and the requirement to control it and use it for good.
Today, I dedicate my tongue to You, Lord. May it be under the control of the Holy Spirit. Use it as You will to build Your kingdom of kindness, love, grace, and mercy to all those around me. Amen.
David A. Steen