You’ve probably heard the term ‘silver-tongued devil.’ It stands for some someone who, through flattery and slick speech, seeks to deceives others for their own gain.
But did you know that Scripture gives this phrase a different meaning altogether? Listen to Prov. 10:20: “The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; The heart of the wicked is worth little.”
In Ps. 12 we are introduced to the power of words and what they communicate about the state of our heart. We’re given a picture of a “silver-tongued devil.” The passage laments the state of mankind – but for the purposes of this blog – we’ll apply its meaning for women.
And are YOU one?
Ps. 12:1 says this woman is ungodly and unfaithful.
David knew about silver tongues – lies, gossip, and deceit. Silver-tongued men were responsible for spreading lies about him during his service to Saul and his own reign.
It’s why he begins Ps. 12 by asking God for help when he was surrounded by silver-tongued men. The word ‘help’ in the Hebrew is literally rendered ‘to save’ painting a picture of the malicious intent of those with silver tongues – to devour and destroy.
But there are silver-tongued women, too – women who use words out of insincere hearts (vs. 2-4)
This lady is a gossip. She shares “prayer requests” as an excuse to badmouth others. She points out “concerns” she sees in others as a way to build herself up. The word “idly” in the Hebrew means falsehood or lies, but its root word carries the sense of vanity or emptiness. This lady isn’t worth listening to.
2. A silver-tongued woman seeks to flatter others (vs. 2).
This lady is a manipulator – handing out compliments to grease a wheel. The word “flattering” literally means “smooth or slippery.” This woman’s words are dangerous despite appearing pleasant. The insincerity of her mouth reveals a self-seeking heart that desires control.
Essentially, a silver-tongued woman has a double heart. In the original language, the phrase ‘double heart’ is literally translated “a heart and a heart.” This woman has two hearts; she is deceitful.
From the depths of our hearts, rise our feelings, actions, and thoughts. If our heart is corrupt, then the outflow of our lives will be too. That’s why God places so much emphasis on the condition of the human heart, our inability to find lasting change on our own, and God’s role in renewing our hearts (James 3:5-11, 4:1-7).
What’s the danger of having a silver tongue?
- They are punishable (vs. 3). If our words come out of the recesses of a dark heart, then they are anything but benign. God says they will be punished because they are symptoms of a greater heart condition (sin).
- They are prideful (vs. 4). David says silver tongues are evidence of our heart’s rebellion against God. “We will prevail // we have no creator and no lord.”
1. He champions their victims (vs. 5). The silver-tongued are dangerous, and their victims are the poor and needy. God arises to help just as the Psalmist asked in vs. 1 to thwart the plans of those who use their words to oppress and abuse.
2. He whispers words of silver (vs. 6-7). Ironically, God uses his own words – pure, flawless words – to bring down the silver-tongued. Listen to how David frames the words of God:
- God’s Words are pure (morally/ethically clean) (vs. 6a). They are described as ‘like silver that has been purified 7 times” (vs. 6b). This metaphor means we can trust God’s words because they are without deceit.
- God’s Words are eternal, giving us another reason we can safely trust what he says (vs. 7).
God’s words of silver are the opposite of the silver-tongued. What kind of silver-tongued woman are you? Pure or impure? Are your words trustworthy?
The difference between the two is found in the One who renews our hearts to align with his. I want to speak words worth listening to – God’s words. Words that are pure and clean. Words that come from a purified heart (Mal. 3:3).[pullquote style=”right” quote=”dark”]He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, And purge them as gold and silver, That they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness. Mal. 3:3[/pullquote] Dear Lord, Help me to speak from my heart – a heart that is purified by you and aligned with your interests and desires. Let those desires spill out of my lips by helping me to use my words to build others up. Prick my heart when I begin to use my words to tear others down. Remind me that you chose to use words and languages as a tool to communicate your glory. Let my words reveal even the faintest measure of you – the God who reveals himself and communicates with sinful man. Amen.
 Willem A. VanGemeren, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 5 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1991), 134.