Proverbs 10:19 Commentary [+ Memorization Tutorial Video]

Verse of the Day 4.25.18: Proverbs 10:19

The dress Whitney Houston donned when she won her first Grammy, the ball Derek Jeter hit his last at bat in Yankee pinstripes, the jersey Michael Jordan wore during his last game a Chicago Bull: what makes these items so valuable? There are plenty of dresses, baseballs, and jerseys in the world; what makes these so special? I believe it has something to do with their rarity. These items from these celebrities from these moments are truly one of a kind.

Whether it’s extravagant fashion, exquisite jewelry, or exotic cars, the more rare something is, the higher the price-tag. If everyone was rolling around in a Rolls-Royce, they would not be as valuable. When supply < demand, price ↑!

Throughout the Book of Proverbs (click here for more context), (godly) wisdom is contrasted with (worldly) foolishness (Prov 1:7, cf. 9:10, etc.). Proverbs 10:19-21 offers godly wisdom concerning word economy. In a nutshell, when it comes to words: “the fewer the better.”1 Like a rare treasure, the words of the wise are often few but valuable.

  1. Text
  2. C4C Translation
  3. Commentary
  4. Memorization

Text

19 בְּרֹ֣ב דְּ֭בָרִים לֹ֣א יֶחְדַּל־פָּ֑שַׁע וְחֹשֵׂ֖ךְ שְׂפָתָ֣יו מַשְׂכִּֽיל׃2

19 Sin is not ended by multiplying words,
but the prudent hold their tongues.3

Translation

Transgression does not cease in an abundance of words

But prudent is the one who holds their tongue





Word Order

I usually try to preserve the Hebrew word order as much as possible in to make the parallelism as apparent as possible. In this case, like the NIV, I placed transgression at the beginning of the first line (cola). Though, in the Hebrew, it is at the end of the first cola, I think it reads better in English this way. In either case, transgression is paralleled (and therefore contrasted) with the one who is prudent, and the same for abundance of words and holds their tongue.

Transgression

Transgression is can be more literally translated “rebellion”. Essentially, it signifies “a breach of relationships, civil or religious, between two parties.”4 Any transgression — walking outside of the bounds of a relationship (e.g., between God and God’s people) — is ultimately an act of rebellion.

Have we not, at times, foolishly delighted in rebelling against our earthly parents? How much more so our Heavenly Father?

Commentary

In Proverbs, loose lips is a sign of foolishness; verbal restraint and listening are signs of wisdom (Prov 10:8, 105 cf. Prov. 10:14; 13:3; 17:27–28; 21:23; Eccl. 5:1–66

Basically, Proverbs tells us that those who rashly run their mouths often do not say anything of value. On the contrary, those who exercise self-control on their tongues are prudent. For the prudent know that their wise answers ultimately come from the Wise LORD (Prov 16:1).7

Although words ought to be used relatively sparingly (cf. Jas 1:19),8 when a wise person does speak, the words are nourishing (Prov 10:21) — as valuable as silver (Prov 10:20).9

Let us not devalue our words by rashly multiplying them. Let us strive to be wise with our words. Often times, less is more.

Memorization

Memorize Proverbs 10:19 after watching a brief video tutorial demonstrating the How to Memorize Any Bible Verse in Less Than Five Minutes method below:

Sources

  1. John E. Goldingay, “Proverbs,” in New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, ed. D. A. Carson et al., 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), 594.
  2. Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: With Werkgroep Informatica, Vrije Universiteit Morphology; Bible. O.T. Hebrew. Werkgroep Informatica, Vrije Universiteit. (Logos Bible Software, 2006), Pr 10:19.
  3. The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Pr 10:19.
  4. G. Herbert Livingston, “1846 פָּשַׁע,” ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 741.
  5. John E. Goldingay, “Proverbs,” in New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, ed. D. A. Carson et al., 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), 594.
  6. Bruce K. Waltke, The Book of Proverbs, Chapters 1–15, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004), 470.
  7. Bruce K. Waltke, The Book of Proverbs, Chapters 1–15, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004), 471.
  8. Derek Kidner, Proverbs: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 17, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1964), 84.
  9. “Although the wise person gives sound advice, wisdom is found more in those who are silent than in those who are verbose!” Duane A. Garrett, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, vol. 14, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1993), 121.
About @DannyScottonJr 168 Articles
Imperfect servant striving to be an unapologetically apologetic ambassador for Jesus the Christ. Princeton University Alum | Palmer Theological Seminary Student