HH Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div

Proverbs 31:26

She openeth her mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

This is the only verse in this passage which speaks of the godly woman’s tongue and the words of her mouth.  Our Lord taught that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34).  What comes out of the mouth is an indication of what is in the heart.  Our speech reveals our heart.  Out of a wise heart come wise words.  Out of a kind heart come kind words.  Out of a loving heart come loving words.

Be careful when you speak because your heart is showing.

The word “kindness” is the commonly used Hebrew word hesed.  It occurs about 200 times in the Old Testament. It is found in the following familiar passages:

Exodus 20:6–“shewing mercy unto thousands”
Ruth 1:8–“the Lord deal kindly with you”
Psalm 23:6–“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me”
Psalm 100:5–“His mercy is everlasting”
Psalm 107:8,15,21,31–“Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness
Psalm 107:43–“The loving-kindness of the LORD”
Psalm 136 (every verse)–“for His mercy endureth forever”
Lamentations 3:22–“it is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed”
Jonah 4:2–“slow to anger, and of great kindness

The King James Version usually renders this word as “mercy.”  Other versions use “lovingkindness,”  “love,”  or “steadfast love.”   William Wilson in his Old Testament Word Studies gives this definition:

The general import of this word seems to be, the full flow of natural affection, corresponding to storgé in Greek. The Hebrew word for “stork,” so remarkable for affection to her young, is derived from this word. The corresponding word in Arabic is used of the flowing of the mother’s milk to the breasts, so nearly connected with affection for her offspring; hence has been derived, probably, the phrase, “full of the milk of human kindness.

The law of kindness [hesed] is on her tongue.   The term “law” [torah] refers to instruction.  The term is used in Isaiah 2:3 of the teaching ministry of the Messiah during the millennial kingdom:  “…for out of Zion shall go forth the law [instruction], and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”   “The teaching of kindness is on her tongue”.

The instruction of the virtuous woman will be characterized by kindness and steadfast love.  It will be kind, faithful, loving and gracious instruction.  We assume that the primary beneficiaries of her loving instruction are her children and perhaps her household servants.  “My son, hear the instruction of thy father and forsake not the law [instruction] of thy mother” (Proverbs 1:8; see also Proverbs 6:20,23).

The godly mother is a teacher.  In love, she wants God’s highest and best for her children.  Women have a valuable and essential teaching ministry according to Titus 2:3-5.

The words which come from the lips of the true wife are as a law giving guidance and instruction to those that hear them, but the law is not proclaimed in its sterner aspects, but as one in which “mercy tempers justice,” and love, the fulfilling of the law, is seen to be the source from which it springs.  [F. C. Cook, Barnes’ Notes–Proverbs, p. 84]

[She is] not talkative and trifling, as most women, but thoughtful and sensible in her words. As idleness is the source of talkativeness (1 Tim. 5:13), so the industry is its antidote. [Jamieson, Fausset and Brown,  Commentary–Proverbs, p. 513]

As a sandy hill is to the feet of the aged, so is a wife full of words to a quiet man; but the virtuous woman plagues neither her husband nor any other man with her talk.  She has learned that silence and subjection which the Apostle Paul recommends to wives. She does not lock up her lips in a sullen silence, but when she speaks it is a pleasure to hear her, for she opens her mouth with wisdom. Besides her other labours already mentioned, she rises in the morning, and finds time to read the Bible, and other instructive books; she meditates and reflects, and receives instruction from what she hears, and prays to the Father of lights; and so she improves daily in knowledge and prudence; and when she opens her mouth, she says nothing but what is well worthy of being heard….Kindness is painted on her countenance, and flows from her tongue; for it possesses the throne of her heart, and gives law to all her words and actions. [George Lawson, Commentary on Proverbs, pages 568-569]

But the godly matron has not only the law of love in her heart, but wisdom in her mouth, and in her tongue the law of kindness. The same love that binds her heart, governs her tongue, not with the caprice, but with the law, of kindness–a law, which she received from wisdom, and which gives the mould to her whole spirit, so that she says nothing that is foolish, nothing that is ill-natured.  [Charles Bridges, Proverbs, pages 625-626].

Author: Godfrey Gregg