Proverbs 17:27-28 – “He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit. 28 Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.”
“Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah”, so it goes when you are in the company of a man or woman who will not be silent long enough for you to get in a thought of your own! Childhood play, classrooms, corporate and board meetings, and radio talk shows are all forums where gross ignorance speaks ad infinitum and men and women of wisdom and discernment learn to hold their tongues.
Verse 27 embodies counsel that is applicable for leaders, employers and those who would aspire to positions of authority and influence.
Proverbs 17:27 – “He that hath [know; perceive] knowledge [discernment; insight; knowledge to discern good and evil] spareth [holds; refrains; withholds] his words [speech]: and a man of understanding [wisdom] is of an excellent [precious; noble; quiet; calm] spirit [mind; heart]].”
Men and women of wisdom weigh their words and bridle their tongues when speaking and writing. A man of wisdom speaks with discretion and, when addressing a difficult person or circumstance, expresses himself in a calm, quiet demeanor.
Continuing the same theme as verse 27, Proverbs 17:28 serves as an excellent admonishment for those who “like to hear themselves talk”.
Proverbs 17:28 – “Even a fool [silly; quarrelsome; immoral; morally corrupt], when he holdeth his peace [restrains his tongue; keeps silent], is counted [thought; reckoned; imagined] wise [cunning; perceptive]: and he that shutteth [close; shut up; stops] his lips is esteemed a man of understanding [discerning; prudent].”
President Abraham Lincoln and American author Mark Twain are both credited with an amplification of verse 28 with the following quote: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.” Another adage states a similar thought with a statement of the obvious: “God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason.”
For those who always have to say something, remember biting your tongue and saying nothing is not only wise, but in effect leads others to believe you might well be the wiser!
Finally, should you need one more prod to encourage you to hold your tongue, consider this old Arab proverb, “Silence is the covering of the stupid.”
Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith