Proverbs 18:8

ESV The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body.
NIV The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts.
NASB The words of a gossiper are like dainty morsels, And they go down into the innermost parts of the body.
CSB A gossip’s words are like choice food that goes down to one’s innermost being.
NLT Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one’s heart.
KJV The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
NKJV The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, And they go down into the inmost body.

What does Proverbs 18:8 mean?

Gossip is a persistent temptation, in every era, and for almost every person (Proverbs 11:13; 16:28). Even when someone's not excessively prone to gossiping, rumors and scandals still need to be approached with caution. Solomon's wisdom here gives one reason: they are entertaining and pleasing to our fallen nature, as is a tasty bite of food to our tongue. But, like food, that "morsel" goes deep inside us. The spiritual effect of taking in slander or secrets is much more serious than it might seem, at first (Romans 1:29; 2 Timothy 3:2–4).

Scripture routinely condemns the "whispering" that is associated with spreading rumors, stories, and gossip. Leviticus 19:16 commanded the people of Israel: "You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people." Proverbs 20:19 warns: "Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler." The apostle Paul warned Timothy about certain younger widows who "learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies" (1 Timothy 5:13).

It is tragic that so many people reject the good news of salvation but eagerly devour gossip. Jesus is the Truth, spoke the truth, and lived the truth, but He "was despised and rejected by men…and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not" (Isaiah 53:3).

This statement is repeated in Proverbs 26:22.
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