Proverbs 10:10, 11

Proverbs 10:10, 11

 

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

In our culture, winking can be both benign and mischievous. This verse does not forbid winking — it forbids deceptive gestures. Kidner says that a “tiny gesture can do great damage, and a talkative fool become intolerable.” Those who lust to deceive (e.g. by winking) is in the same boat as the one who talks too much. The end is the same for both of them (trouble, ruin).

Both of these actions reveal the social impact of mischievous winks and foolish speech. Winking brings discord among people (what really is going on here?) and talking too much can harm others as well as self.

 

10:11 — The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.

(This verse perhaps concludes what was introduced in v. 6) We have been speaking about the tongue of the wicked (babbling fool). Now we see the contrast in this verse. The righteous man differs in the use of his tongue. His mouth is a “fountain of life.” The indwelling Spirit of God in each believer will enable him or her to speak truth; he will bring healing and goodness to those who hear — “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Eph. 4:29)

We have seen in v. 6 that the righteous are blessed. The fool’s tongue has been mentioned a few times already and now the speeches of both are compared. Isn’t it interesting that what a person says reveals much about who they are? What the righteous has to say is steeped in God’s commandments (v. 8) and therefore it is a “fountain of life.” The fool despises instruction (cf. 1:7, 22) and all he has to say come from his empty wicked heart (his mouth “conceals violence”). He believes his many words will not only fill up silence but will also impart wisdom — the way of a fool is death and his mouth hides his violent intentions.

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