The Meanest Word in the Bible
Roy Blizzard III © 2014
Text: Proverbs 16:28
“…a whisperer separateth chief friends.” KJV
What is a mean thing? Well, a mean thing could be described as the following: something which is injurious to another person where the injury is wrought without any hurt or harm, or chance of it, to the person who has inflicted the injury.”
Therefore, the meanest thing would be obviously cowardly and cruel since you are hurting another person without any fear of an injury to yourself. This would be likened to the thugs and criminals who pick on very elderly people who are totally incapable of defending themselves.
So then, what it the meanest word since it is the most cowardly, used the most carelessly?
Let’s see, it is conceived in malignity-hatefulness.
It is used to destroy friendships.
It is used to disrupt churches.
It can devastate a home.
It has been used to start wars and strife.
It has caused sadness to both men and women.
It was first used by HaSatan in the Garden against God.
It has probably caused more broken hearts than any other act.
It has the lowest and softest sound and accent among men but yet it has the loudest and greatest echo in history.
So what is this mean thing that so devastates our world today? What does our text say, “…a whisper separates chief friends.” Proverbs 16:28
The whisper speaks all the languages known to man. The whisper wears all the clothing of every ethnic group. The whisper is a citizen of every nation in the world. The whisper takes sides in all political parties. The whisper knows how to move in social circles from the highest to the lowest and enjoys membership in every church and synagogue.
When we look back to the Garden of Eden, HaSatan or the devil sowed the seeds of doubt and disobedience in the minds of Adam and Eve by misrepresenting God. Didn’t HaSatan ask, “…Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? Genesis 3:1
Was this statement correct? No. God never said this. What God said in Genesis 2:16-17 was this, “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
There was only ONE tree that they were not permitted to eat of and that was from the Tree of the knowledge of the Difference between a life of good and a life of evil. The whole plan of HaSatan was to slander and misrepresent God. Today, we can look back throughout history and see that untold thousands have suffered because of the whisper of misrepresentation.
Let’s take a quick look at the Bible and see evil that the whisper has inflicted upon man.
1st, let’s take a look at Nehemiah, the heroic builder of the walls around Jerusalem. He was the victim of the whisper.
Did you ever notice that the one who gets his head above the crowd of mediocrity is suddenly the target of abuse and slander? It is said that the man who climbs the highest mountain peaks of human achievement must look down on the scorn and hatred of the men below. Nehemiah was like that during his rebuilding of Jerusalem’s wall.
He encountered malignant opposition from the chieftains of the tribes; Samballat the Moronite, Tobiah the Ammonite, Geshem or Gashmu the Arabian.
Their first weapon used against Nehemiah was ridicule or derision. They made fun of Nehemiah’s wall. They claimed that the wall was a big joke; a fox could break it down.
Their second weapon was the threat, the threat of an armed attack which forced Nehemiah to arm his workers with swords while they worked with mason’s tools.
Their third weapon was entrapment. They conspired to call a so called friendly conference with Nehemiah so they could trap him and kill him.
Their last resort was that they tried to frighten him with Slander by bringing an open, unsealed letter to the public and inferred that everyone was aware of its contents in Nehemiah 6:6-7. In the letter was this statement, “…It is reported among the heathen, and Gashmu saith it, that thou and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause thou buildest the wall, that thou mayest be their king, according to these words.7) And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem, saying, There is a king in Judah: and now shall it be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together.”
Nehemiah denied their slanderous whispers and answered that, “There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest-invented- them out of thine own heart.” Thus Nehemiah went on to build the walls of Jerusalem.
Samballat, Tobiah, Gashmu, Ezra, Nehemiah, all dead long ago, but the original author of “they say” is still alive and kicking. You can find him in Jerusalem still to this day, New York – where you’d rather stay, he’s still there, and even here in Joppa, Texas it wouldn’t take a long time to find “hath not God said”. But you know he has many allies, “They told me…” “Have you heard it?” “Do you think it could be true?” “Don’t tell anyone else!” “This is off the record.”
But you know what is funny about this person; his name never appears in any phone book. You can’t find any current address or past residence as he has always moved from place to place.
So in our story, Gashmu the Arabian, is the sign and symbol of the talebearer, the defamer, the slanderer, the whisperer. But there are more people in the Bible just like him; take Doeg the Edomite for example.
The story concerns King David who has fled from the court of Saul to Nob, where the Tabernacle and priests were. The priest asks David why he is alone. David told him an untruth, that he was on business for Saul, so the priest gave David some showbread to eat and the mighty sword of Goliath, the very sword that David had wielded to cut off Goliath’s head in the vale of Elah.
As David was leaving, he saw Doeg, the chief herdsman of Saul, and Doeg purposed evil in his heart. You see, Saul couldn’t catch David and so in his rage Saul summoned all his advisors and said to them in I Samuel 22:8, “For all of you have conspired against me so that there is no one who discloses to me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you who is sorry for me or discloses to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me to lie in ambush, as it is this day.” Doeg saw his chance and replied in verse 9 & 10, “I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub.10) He inquired of the LORD for him, gave him provisions, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.” Was this the truth? Well yes and no; certainly not the whole truth.
So Saul ordered the aged priest into his presence who protested his loyalty to Saul. He tried to explain but Saul wouldn’t listen and in his rage he ordered the execution of this righteous man of God. When none of Saul’s guard would carry out the Kings order, Saul then called upon old Doeg the talebearer, to carry out the King’s cruel order. So Doeg slew not just Ahimelech, but eighty five other priest of God as well. These men of God fell victim to the sword of slander and weltered in their own blood. Therefore, they nevermore were able to inquire of God on man’s behalf. Nevermore could they offer atoning sacrifices for man. Nevermore were thy able to proclaim God’s word among His people. Knowledge of God had diminished!
These men died, not for crimes they had committed, but because of a whisper, a lying tongue. It was not what Doeg said, but what he intimated and insinuated. Doeg did tell the truth, but not the whole truth. Doeg’s slander was born out of pure depravity and malignity.
Paul speaks of men being backbiters, haters of God and whisperers. People such as this can’t inhabit Jesus’ Kingdom. You may sit in a church, but Jesus can’t use you in His Kingdom.
David said of people like this in Psalms 11:2, “For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart.” The Bible also says in Matthew 12:36, “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” But you know, the original whisperer and slanderer could make little headway or do little injury were it not for the assistance and enjoyment of those enlisted who repeat the whisper.
There seems to be a sad trait in human nature which delights in hearing evils to others repeated with mock concern or sorrow, but I’m here to tell you that whoever listens with interest and delight to a slandering tale is just as guilty as the one who whispers the tale in the first place. In Judaism it is said that gossip is worse than murder because in murder only two people are effected, whereas in gossip there are three people killed, the whisperer, the hearer, and the one who is gossiped about.
Slander and Gossip has a swift foot, and once started it is almost impossible to overtake it.
The Bible’s description in Psalms 15:1-3 of a Godly man still stands today. “ 1) (A Psalm of David.) LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?
2) He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. 3) He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.
In I Corinthians 13:5&6 we read, “… (LOVE) thinketh no evil. 6) Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.”
In the Royal Gallery in London there is a portrait by the Italian, baroque painter Salvatora Rosa. It is a picture of himself in which he is holding a card with the Latin words which mean, “Either keep silence or speak things better than silence.”
Let me read you a short poem from – from the Arabian entitled;
If you are tempted to reveal
A tale to you someone has told
About another, make it pass,
Before you speak, three gates of gold.
These narrow gates: First, “Is it true?”
Then, “Is it needful?” In your mind
Give truthful answer. And the next
Is last and narrowest, “Is it kind?”
And if to reach your lips at last
It passes through these gateways three,
Then you may tell the tale, nor fear
What the result of speech may be.
We can all see the, and have known, the devastation of a whisper, but did you know there is a good and profitable whisper? Do you know of the great author John Bunyan.? He happened to overhear the words of several older women sitting about a doorway in the sun. But instead of speaking evil about others, they were speaking of the greatness of God.
If they had been talking about some poor soul or speaking evil of their neighbors who knows how John Bunyan would have turned out, but he heard them speaking of the New Birth, Prayer, The Holy Spirit and the Work of God in their Own Lives! As he went about his work as a tinker-someone who mends metal things, their testimony and talk went with him! Their words changed his life and countless men and women’s lives through his book, The Pligrim’s Progress.
Let us whisper the great things that God has done for us not the evil that is done around us. Let our whispers be such that they will encourage and uplift others and guide them into the Kingdom of Jesus.