Evil Tongue

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 22:6-24; 25:1; Psalm 52, 54, 57; 63

Ever heard of “Lashon Ha-ra”? It’s Hebrew for “evil tongue.” The laws regarding slander, deceit, and lying, are lumped together into this “evil tongue” category in the Rabbinical writings. The rabbis established a rule that one should not even say what is good and true about someone else who is not present (even if that person would affirm the statement as true!). They illustrate the rule with the story of Doeg from today’s reading, saying that although what is said as slander can at times be true, it can have serious consequences. That’s “lashon ha-ra.”

This rule may be a tad extreme, but the principle is nevertheless good. Psalm 52 (one of my favourites) clearly states that God hates deceitful, lying, proud, slanderous, and hurtful words. He takes them seriously! Notice the passionate emotion with which David wrote, the personal pronouns he uses, and the striking contrast between Doeg and David.

In a day in which our society encourages us to always have an opinion (whether based on truth or not), and speak our minds (however blunt), guarding our tongue is ever more important as we seek to please God in all we do.

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