Sirach 5:11

Ben Sira, Ecclesiasticus

9 Do not winnow in every wind, or follow every path. 10 Stand firm for what you know, and let your speech be consistent. 11 Be quick to hear, but deliberate in answering. 12 If you know what to say, answer your neighbor; but if not, put your hand over your mouth. 13 Honor and dishonor come from speaking, and the tongue of mortals may be their downfall. 14 Do not be called double-tongued and do not lay traps with your tongue; for shame comes to the thief, and severe condemnation to the double-tongued. 15 In great and small matters cause no harm,

James 1:19

New Testament

19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters! Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. 20 For human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. 21 So put away all filth and evil excess and humbly welcome the message implanted within you, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be sure you live out the message and do not merely listen to it and so deceive yourselves. 23 For if someone merely listens to the message and does not live it out, he is like someone who gazes at his own face in a mirror. 24 For he gazes at himself and then goes out and immediately forgets what sort of person he was. 25 But the one who peers into the perfect law of liberty and fixes his attention there, and does not become a forgetful listener but one who lives it out—he will be blessed in what he does. 26 If someone thinks he is religious yet does not bridle his tongue, and so deceives his heart, his religion is futile.

 Notes and References

"... Although an inner texture analysis has been performed on James 3:1-12, there still remains unanswered questions. It is evident that the controlling of one’s tongue was important enough for James to address, therefore leading to the question of why James gave advice for controlling the tongue. According to Neyrey, control of the tongue was a standard topic in traditional moral exhortations and much traditional material such as proverbs, stock phases, and typical illustrations are seen in the text as emphasis was placed on careful speech. DeSilva states that James “treats many of the same topics in much the same way as the earlier Jewish wisdom tradition, adding to the collective wisdom of that tradition.” Rieser also agrees that the book of James is considered wisdom theology; a letter that grows out of the Old Testament and intertestamental wisdom literature. James can be considered a book that employs Jewish wisdom tradition. As described by DeSilva, regarding the topic for control of the tongue, James can be compared with other wisdom literature such as James 1:19 and Sirach 5:11-6:1 (also Sirach 22:27-23:1; 23:7-8)—slow to speak; James 3:6, Proverbs 16:27—on speech being like a fire; James 3:9-12, Sirach 28:12—the anomaly of the mouth as the source of opposite substances and effects; James 5:12; Sirach 23:9-11—against swearing oaths ..."

Banks, Tonya Controlling One’s Tongue in Leadership: A Socio-Rhetorical Inner-Textual Analysis of James 3:1-12 and Quantitative Analysis Pilot Study (pp. 87-133) Regent University, 2012

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