Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 10:31
"The mouth of the righteous flows with wisdom, but the perverted tongue will be cut out"
This is the second in the series of insights into the righteous person's conduct and life. Solomon chooses to contrast the righteous with the wicked in each case. These two types of people are moral opposites. The one is all about self and the other is all about God and others.
mouth of the righteous
This refers to the speech of the person who is righteous. Now what is interesting is that Solomon sees the words, conversation, and manner of speech as a major characteristic of the righteous person. “How do they speak?” He would ask. “Do they criticize, share their pessimistic view, withhold the wise solution from others?” These are the actions of a wicked person. The righteous person uses their speech to uplift, encourage, and offer wise solutions.
This is the Hebrew word hokmah which means wisdom, skill, information, applied information. In this devotional we have understood a shorthand version of all that wisdom stands for as the triple-win choice or action. That choice or action brings about a win for God, a win for others, and a win for yourself. If you leave out any of these wins, then it is not wisdom. The only group that it is permissible to fashion a loss for is the wicked – those who have crossed the line of moral behavior and refuse to repent and return to basic ethical boundaries.
Ethical boundaries are defined by two questions: Who does your action benefit? Does your action harm anyone? If the only person who benefits is yourself and it harms others, then it is an unethical behavior no matter how strongly you like it or desire doing it.
This particular proverb deals with the righteous desire to benefit those around them with triple-win wisdom. They want to help people get life right. They continually talk of God's solutions to life's problems. They talk about how to live life God's way.
This is the Hebrew word tahpukah which means perversity. In older translations of the Scriptures it was translated by the word forward rather than perversity. Froward has a different meaning than perverse. It means habitually disposed to disobedience and opposition. This is the rebel orientation.
Are we to understand that the person who is rebellious, obstinate, and disobedient will have their tongues literally cut out? No. But rather the person who has this frowardness or obstinate, disobedient, rebellious speech and attitude will find that people will tune them out. Their influence will be over. When they speak, no one will listen. So, effectively their tongues have been cut off.
Have you run into this type of person before? When you make a suggestion or even a direct order, they resist it or change it or completely disregard what you said. It does not take very long in these kinds of situations where this kind of person is just shut out of decisions. The obstinate and disobedient person will cross the wrong person and have their speech cut off. They will no longer be heard. Their ability to be heard and give influence will be at an end.
Be a righteous person whose mouth flows with good things and positive solutions.