Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 26:22
"The words of a whisperer are like dainty morsels, and they go down into the innermost parts of the body"
The clear idea from this proverb is that there is a way of speaking that gets around the natural defenses we have against lies, gossip, deception, and even facts that we don't like.
This is the second time that Solomon has used this proverb. He says essentially the same thing in 18:8. In this instance the context is contention, argument, strife, and those things that cause it. In 18:8 the general context is sins of the mouth or foolish actions that come out of the mouth.
Solomon is warning us against the person who does this kind of speech. This type of person is a dangerous person, Solomon warns. This person has a way of accessing your soul that causes you to remember the things you say. He is pointing out that often when strife is traced to its source, there is a whisperer involved.
This is the Hebrew word ragan, which means murmur, whisper. It has also been translated criticize and grumble. Our English idea carries with it the idea of talking very softly. This is not in the Hebrew word. The idea is more of complaint or criticism. We would call this person the self-appointed critic. They can always see what is wrong with a person, company, or organization; and they feel a need to share it rather than offer to help. Solomon is telling us that these types of people should be watched because their critical comments and supposed "true tales" are remembered.
How many times have you heard someone say, "I heard that you said, 'Such and such.’" And then to have the other person say, "I would never say that." “So you have been holding this against me because someone told you that I said that and you never checked with me?” This type of interchange is the work of the whisperer. They purport to tell you what your friend, boss, mate, colleague, or enemy said when they were alone with them. You remember it as though it were gospel. That other person may never have said that or did not say it with the twist that the whisperer put on it.
It is best to ignore or hugely discount what the whisperer says. They are trying to increase their importance by telling others’ secrets, criticisms, grumblings, problems, etc. When they are the one who knows and shares this info, then they are vital to the information network.
innermost parts of the body
The Hebrew phrase actually readsthe chambers of the belly or womb. Clearly this is a reference to the emotional soul of the person. It was suggested that this was located in the belly because when a person got emotional, it was the belly or bowels that reacted. When someone tells you a bit of salacious news, it gets quickly recorded and remembered because it has an emotional edge to it. It is negative and usually is at least a little outrageous.
What is interesting is that Solomon focuses on how deep the information of the whisperer goes. The criticism and complaint of these people get a free pass right to our mental hard drive. It sticks when all kinds of other actual facts don't stick. It is this stickiness of the whisperer’s information that Solomon is warning about.
I have watched friendships be destroyed and even churches split over things that were said by whisperers. We must realize that when someone is grumbling or criticizing, what they say will seem truer or more important. One should discount their truths until there is independent confirmation of their facts by two other sources.
Remember, relationships are the most important things in life. Listening to the whisperer will destroy those relationships even if what they say really happened.
Cast a wary eye over the information of the whisperer for it comes to destroy your relationships, and you will remember what they say more easily than other positive things.
What is the warning here? Mark these kinds of people. Realize how quickly and deeply you embrace what they say. Take the criticism, grumbling, or gossip with a grain of salt – if you listen to it at all. Don't let what the whisperer says destroy your relationships.