they go down into the person’s innermost being. 3
26:20 Where there is no wood, a fire goes out,
26:22 The words of a gossip are like delicious morsels;
they go down into a person’s innermost being. 6
1 tn Or “slanderer”; KJV, NAB “talebearer”; ASV, NRSV “whisperer.”
2 tn The word כְּמִתְלַהֲמִים (kÿmitlahamim) occurs only here. It is related to a cognate verb meaning “to swallow greedily.” Earlier English versions took it from a Hebrew root הָלַם (halam, see the word לְמַהֲלֻמוֹת [lÿmahalumot] in v. 6) meaning “wounds” (so KJV). But the translation of “choice morsels” fits the idea of gossip better.
3 tn Heb “they go down [into] the innermost parts of the belly”; NASB “of the body.”
sn When the choice morsels of gossip are received, they go down like delicious food – into the innermost being. R. N. Whybray says, “There is a flaw in human nature that assures slander will be listened to” (Proverbs [CBC], 105).
4 sn Gossip (that is, the one who goes around whispering and slandering) fuels contention just as wood fuels a fire. The point of the proverb is to prevent contention – if one takes away the cause, contention will cease (e.g., 18:8).
5 tn Heb “becomes silent.”