Again “words” take center stage in a proverb. And this is one of those wise sayings that’s stated twice in the book — 26:22 is identical to 18:8 in English and Hebrew.
The verses are in different sections of Proverbs — each attributed to Solomon (11:1-24:34 and 25:1-29:27) — this one in the section collected during the reign of King Hezekiah (25:1).
We don’t know if Hezekiah’s boys knew about the first collection — but I know God did! So, if a verse is repeated — He meant it…and we need it!
“The words” in this wise saying are specifically “words of a gossip.” The Hebrew term means what we’d assume — whispering or murmuring or secretly criticizing, slandering, complaining or grumbling…or any combination, thereof!
And what this proverb says about such words is they “are like choice morsels” and “go down to the innermost parts.” The imagery of eating food — “gossip” can be a delicious delicacy that we just gobble down!
This wise saying just states the facts — this is how we tend to think and act. What it doesn’t say is what’s wrong with such choices.
But the second line does offer some insights — “they go down to the inmost parts.” Once we hear this stuff, it can go deep in our souls…stay there…and really affect our thoughts and feelings.
Like that large piece of a three-layer chocolate cake with lots of chocolate icing and a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. I love that stuff!
But afterwards I don’t feel so good physically and I don’t feel good about myself emotionally — because I know better.
So I suppose the message of this verse is pretty simple: be careful about what I eat…and what I listen to!