What could be said about the phrase:  ‘a word fitly spoken’?  Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 3:7 “…a time to keep silence and a time to speak.”  James wrote about being swift to hear and slow to speak.  Politicians usually talk a lot.  A famous saying by a presidential candidate:  “Read my lips, no new taxes” lost him his second term election because the other party had persuaded him to break his promise and raise taxes.  People tend to remember broken promises and hold people more accountable for that than they do themselves.

There’s another interesting phrase in the next verse:  a wise reprover and an obedient ear.  If a man is not ready to hear reproof, there is no use talking.  We on the ‘reproof’ side can see something is wrong, but the person in the wrong must be willing to see it and then correct it.  That is the obedient ear.    Another phrase is the talk about boasting about a false gift.  It is said that boasting about a false gift is like clouds without rain.  What kind of vegetation grows if only clouds come but give no rain?  In Oklahoma in 1956 we had no rain for three months.  The corn which started out growing well eventually dried up and died.  There were some times clouds, but never rain.  That is like someone with a false gift.  The clouds seem promising but nothing happens. 

There is the danger of a false witness. This man can ruin another and even kill someone’s spirit.  The classic story in the Old Testament is the story of Ahab the king of Northern Israel who wanted Naboth’s vineyard.  The wicked Jezebel sent letters to get him killed and took the vineyard from him (I Kings 21:1-10).  Another interesting phrase we find is: singing to a heavy heart.  Before you go to see someone in trouble, find out the need.  Then use the proper means to help.

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