The importance of guarding the mouth

From the ESV Study Bible:

Prov. 13:1–6 Headed by the call to be a wise son (10:1), these proverbs also utilize a play on words (cf. 10:6–32) relating to both

  • speech (hears/listen13:1mouthvv. 2–3lipsv. 3falsehood,v. 5)
  • and eating/desire (eatsv. 2desirev. 2craves and richly suppliedv. 4)

in order to assure those who seek to guard their mouth (v. 3) through righteousness (v. 6) that such a path has mutually reinforcing benefits in both heart and actions. The purpose of the section is integrated further by the repeated Hebrew nepesh, translated as “desire” (v. 2), life (v. 3), and soul (twice in v. 4): guarding the mouth protects the heart from being further confirmed in violence (v. 2; see 10:11) or sin (13:6), which overthrows (v. 6) a person and leads to ruin (v. 3).

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