A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret
Two very different people are contrasted in this wise saying — “a gossip” and “a trustworthy person.” While the verbs “betrays” and “keeps” mention their actions, it all stems from their character — who they are on the inside.
I’ll suggest the two Hebrew words translated “a gossip” offers a much richer description — “one who walks around slandering.” This person doesn’t just tell a few things.
He or she speak in continuous action (like walking) and they don’t just “tell tales.” What they say is slanderous — injurious, hurtful information.
Their words are not just a mistake of saying too much or a one-time bad decision — what they say and the way they say it has become a way of life for them.
Their “gossip” (slander) “betrays” (reveals or uncovers) someone else’s “confidence” — information shared intimately and privately. It’s their habit to be hurtful with another’s private information.
This “gossip” is contrasted with “a trustworthy person” — one who is faithful, who can be believed and trusted. It’s the Hebrew word “amen,” which Jesus often used when He would say “truly, truly (amen, amen) I say unto you…”
This “trustworthy person” is true and honest, they can be trusted. He or she “keeps a secret.” It’s a stark contrast — the “gossip” reveals or uncovers another’s information while the “trustworthy person” doesn’t.
The lesson here is — know with whom I am speaking. Maybe also — be honest about which kind of person I really am!