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Proverbs 26:20-22

Context

26:20 Where there is no wood, a fire goes out,

and where there is no gossip, 1  contention ceases. 2 

26:21 Like charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire,

so is a contentious person 3  to kindle strife. 4 

26:22 The words of a gossip are like delicious morsels;

they go down into a person’s innermost being. 5 

1 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).

2 tn Heb “becomes silent.”

3 sn Heb “a man of contentions”; NCV, NRSV, NLT “a quarrelsome person.” The expression focuses on the person who is contentious by nature. His quarreling is like piling fuel on a fire that would otherwise go out. This kind of person not only starts strife, but keeps it going.

4 tn The Pilpel infinitive construct לְחַרְחַר (lÿkharkhar) from חָרַר (kharar, “to be hot; to be scorched; to burn”) means “to kindle; to cause to flare up.”

5 tn The proverb is essentially the same as 18:8; it observes how appealing gossip is.



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