Do not slander 1 a servant to his master, lest he curse you, and you are found guilty. 2
De 15:9; De 23:15; 1Sa 22:9,10; 1Sa 24:9; 1Sa 26:19; 1Sa 30:15; 2Sa 16:1-4; 2Sa 19:26,27; 2Ch 24:22-24; Pr 11:26; Pr 24:23; Pr 24:24; Pr 28:27; Da 3:8-18; Da 6:13,24; Ro 14:4
|NET © Notes||
1 tn The form תַּלְשֵׁן (talshen) is the Hiphil jussive (with the negative אַל, ’al); it is a denominative verb from the noun “tongue” (Heb “wag the tongue”). It means “to defame; to slander,” if the accusation is untrue. Some have suggested that the word might have the force of “denouncing” a slave to his master, accusing him before authorities (e.g., Deut 23:15-16). This proverb would then be a warning against meddling in the affairs of someone else.
2 tn If what was said were true, then there would be no culpability. But the implication here is that it was slander. And the effect of that will be a curse – the person who is the target of the slander will “curse” the person who slandered him (קָלַל [qalal] in the Piel means “to treat lightly [or, with contempt]; to curse”), and culpability will result (the verb וֹשׁם means “to be guilty; to make a guilt offering [or, reparation offering]”). This word for guilt suggests a connection to the Levitical teaching that the guilty had to make reparation for damages done (Lev 5). Cf. NAB “you will have to pay the penalty”; NIV, NLT “you will pay for it.”