12 If you blow on a spark, it will glow; if you spit on it, it will be put out; yet both come out of your mouth. 13Curse the gossips and the double-tongued, for they destroy the peace of many.14 Slander has shaken many, and scattered them from nation to nation; it has destroyed strong cities, and overturned the houses of the great. 15 Slander has driven virtuous women from their homes, and deprived them of the fruit of their toil. 16 Those who pay heed to slander will not find rest, nor will they settle down in peace. 17 The blow of a whip raises a welt, but a blow of the tongue crushes the bones. 18 Many have fallen by the edge of the sword, but not as many as have fallen because of the tongue. 19 Happy is the one who is protected from it, who has not been exposed to its anger, who has not borne its yoke, and has not been bound with its fetters. 20For its yoke is a yoke of iron, and its fetters are fetters of bronze;21its death is an evil death, and Hades is preferable to it.22 It has no power over the godly; they will not be burned in its flame. 23 Those who forsake the Lord will fall into its power; it will burn among them and will not be put out. It will be sent out against them like a lion; like a leopard it will mangle them. 24 As you fence in your property with thorns, 25 so make a door and a bolt for your mouth. As you lock up your silver and gold, so make balances and scales for your words. 26 Take care not to err with your tongue, and fall victim to one lying in wait.
Date: 195-175 B.C.E. (based on scholarly estimates)
1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, because you know that we will be judged more strictly. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. If someone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect individual, able to control the entire body as well. 3 And if we put bits into the mouths of horses to get them to obey us, then we guide their entire bodies. 4 Look at ships too: Though they are so large and driven by harsh winds, they are steered by a tiny rudder wherever the pilot’s inclination directs. 5 So, too, the tongue is a small part of the body, yet it has great pretensions. Think how small a flame sets a huge forest ablaze. 6And the tongue is a fire! The tongue represents the world of wrongdoing among the parts of our bodies. It pollutes the entire body and sets fire to the course of human existence—and is set on fire by hell.7 For every kind of animal, bird, reptile, and sea creature is subdued and has been subdued by humankind. 8But no human being can subdue the tongue; it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.9 With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse people made in God’s image. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. These things should not be so, my brothers and sisters. 11 A spring does not pour out fresh water and bitter water from the same opening, does it? 12 Can a fig tree produce olives, my brothers and sisters, or a vine produce figs? Neither can a salt water spring produce fresh water.