What does Proverbs 13:2 mean?
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.
NKJV: A man shall eat well by the fruit of his mouth, But the soul of the unfaithful feeds on violence.
Verse Commentary:
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.
Verse Context:
Proverbs 13:1–3 once again addresses the subject of speech. Solomon contrasts wise talk with foolish talk. He insists that it is prudent to take good advice but reckless to reject it. Also, it is desirable to be careful about what one says, and foolish to blabber.
Chapter Summary:
This chapter of Proverbs continues Solomon's wise sayings. He counsels his readers to be sensible and hardworking, as well as honest. This allows a person to be content with what they have, to enjoy life, and to bless their descendants. Laziness leads to trouble and ruin, as does a lack of discipline.
Chapter Context:
Starting in chapter 10, the book of Proverbs records a long series of wise sayings from Solomon. These continue for several chapters. Through chapter 15, a major focus is on issues such as godly living, mostly given in contrast with examples of ungodliness. This chapter emphasizes themes such as work ethic, honesty, and discipline.
Book Summary:
Proverbs is best understood in context with the books of Ecclesiastes and Job. In Proverbs, “wisdom” is given in short, simple, general terms. Ecclesiastes represents wisdom based on observation and experience. This often shows how the general principles of the book of Proverbs don’t apply in absolutely every circumstance. Job represents wisdom based on the experience of suffering and injustice. All three come to the conclusion that God does indeed know best, and the most sensible course of action is to follow His will.
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