“There is that speaks like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.” - Proverbs 12:18 (13:17; 4:22).
There are quite a number of Proverbs that speak to the use of the tongue. Of course, this not talking about what we eat or licking our lips or the like. It speaks of our speech as it is used towards others. That is the case in this verse and is worth thinking of for a moment or two. As it used in the Bible “speaking” can be used in at least three ways:
- It can be used to speak of the normal, everyday thing that all of us do to communicate with others.
- Likewise, it can talk about the use of our ability to speak to either persuade or dissuade other concerning our purposes or perception of a matter or course.
- It can, thirdly, speak of a formal discourse given before others to elaborate or give information concerning some topic
The word used, “bawtaw” basically means to “pronounce” (2x), to “speak” (1x). The idea is to “speak unadvisely” (1x). It can be used as to speak rashly or angrily, even to speak thoughtlessly. In some forms it speaks of one that babbles, or speaks rashly (in its’ participle form). And even unadvisedly. Though the word is not used a great deal of times in the OT, interestingly, it seems to be very, very applicable to our daily lives. We are subject a great deal of temptation (and even habit!) to do this very thing in our daily lives, perhaps even a number of times! It was even used, in ancient Hebrew to speak of the idea of “Babbling” or speaking in an ongoing, unthinking fashion more designed to satisfy ones’ need to speak rather than to communicate something useful.
The reference here “There is that” is, of course, speaking in a general sense meant include everyone who communicates with another, and includes those who speak audible and, pretty much those who use any other kind of communication.
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