Proverbs 13:2

ESV From the fruit of his mouth a man eats what is good, but the desire of the treacherous is for violence.
NIV From the fruit of their lips people enjoy good things, but the unfaithful have an appetite for violence.
NASB From the fruit of a person’s mouth he enjoys good, But the desire of the treacherous is violence.
CSB From the fruit of his mouth, a person will enjoy good things, but treacherous people have an appetite for violence.
NLT Wise words will win you a good meal, but treacherous people have an appetite for violence.
KJV A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth: but the soul of the transgressors shall eat violence.

What does Proverbs 13:2 mean?

Solomon observes that speaking productive words to others tends to lead to good things in return. The general case principle is that if a person speaks kind words, others will speak kindly to him. If he blesses others with his words, they will bless him in return. His positive words will bring positive words back to him. The word, "good," in this context, means what is pleasant to taste and smell. This echoes the concept that a person reaps what they sow: those who "sow" goodness and godliness can expect to harvest more of the same (Galatians 6:7).

Those who strongly desire to hurt others will also receive reciprocal treatment. Solomon uses the word "violence" to indicate what treacherous people crave and get. In the food-related context of this proverb, the term used here describes what is crude and unripe. Those who crave violence want to harm their neighbor, yet will find violence backfiring on themselves.

This verse closely resembles Proverbs 12:14, which also points out how a person's words and actions have natural consequences.
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