Proverbs 11:9

ESV With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbor, but by knowledge the righteous are delivered.
NIV With their mouths the godless destroy their neighbors, but through knowledge the righteous escape.
NASB With his mouth the godless person destroys his neighbor, But through knowledge the righteous will be rescued.
CSB With his mouth the ungodly destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous are rescued.
NLT With their words, the godless destroy their friends, but knowledge will rescue the righteous.
KJV A hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbor: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.
NKJV The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor, But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered.

What does Proverbs 11:9 mean?

According to this verse, those who reject God and His wisdom (Proverbs 1:7) launch verbal attacks on their fellow men. The Hebrew word translated "godless" is hā'nēp, which also means something profane or deliberately set against God. It's common to see those who express open hatred for God also indulge in hatred for other people. In doing so, such a person violates the command to love others (Leviticus 19:18).

When a lawyer asked Jesus to identify the great commandment in the law, Jesus replied: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (Matthew 22:37), and He added, "And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:39). The godless man sins not only against his neighbor by profaning him, he also sins against God by breaking the second greatest commandment.

By contrast, the righteous person's knowledge delivers him from sinning against his neighbor. He knows God commands to love his neighbor (John 13:34). He should be inclined to treat others fairly (John 7:24), rather than jump to conclusions based on the accusations of a godless man (Proverbs 18:13, 17).
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