1 sn The contrast is between the “tongue of the wise” and the “mouth of the fool.” Both expressions are metonymies of cause; the subject matter is what they say. How wise people are can be determined from what they say.
2 tn Or “makes knowledge acceptable” (so NASB). The verb תֵּיטִיב (tetiv, Hiphil imperfect of יָטַב [yatav, “to be good”]) can be translated “to make good” or “to treat in a good [or, excellent] way” (C. H. Toy, Proverbs [ICC], 303). M. Dahood, however, suggests emending the text to תֵּיטִיף (tetif) which is a cognate of נָטַף (nataf, “drip”), and translates “tongues of the sages drip with knowledge” (Proverbs and Northwest Semitic Philology, 32-33). But this change is gratuitous and unnecessary.
3 sn The Hiphil verb יַבִּיעַ (yabia’) means “to pour out; to emit; to cause to bubble; to belch forth.” The fool bursts out with reckless utterances (cf. TEV “spout nonsense”).
4 tc The verb of the first colon is difficult because it does not fit the second very well – a heart does not “scatter” or “spread” knowledge. On the basis of the LXX, C. H. Toy (Proverbs [ICC], 305) suggests a change to יִצְּרוּ (yitsÿru, “they preserve”). The Greek evidence, however, is not strong. For the second line the LXX has “hearts of fools are not safe,” apparently taking לֹא־כֵן (lo’-khen) as “unstable” instead of “not so.” So it seems futile to use the Greek version to modify the first colon to make a better parallel, when the Greek has such a different reading in the second colon anyway.
5 sn The phrase “the heart of fools” emphasizes that fools do not comprehend knowledge. Cf. NCV “there is no knowledge in the thoughts of fools.”