The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth.
Here is a great proverb! Do you grasp this rule of wisdom and the lessons it teaches? A just man has a pure heart, which causes his speech to be noble and valuable. A wicked man has a perverse and worthless heart, which causes his speech to be cruel and offensive. The comparison is between both the hearts and speech of good and bad men.
In dissecting this proverb, remember the source of these proverbs. While Solomon made the observations and wrote down the sayings, they originated with the Spirit of God, Who inspired his words (Eccl 12:9-11; II Pet 1:21). Since the whole Bible has one Author, we may obtain help for this proverb from other portions of Scripture (I Cor 2:13; II Pet 1:20).
It is clear that the just, which are good men, are being contrasted to the wicked, which are bad men. The just are those chosen and justified by God to be His children. But what is it about them that is valuable like silver? Their literal tongues? No, it is their speech, which is intended by tongue as a metonym, which is the means of speaking (Pr 10:21; 25:11).
The wicked are those left in their sins and inherited corruption from Adam. And what about these bad men is worth very little? Their literal hearts? No, rather their corrupt and profane speech, which flows from their wicked hearts. The proverb is contrasting the good hearts and good speech of just men to the bad hearts and bad speech of wicked men.
Your speech reflects your heart. Jesus said, "O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things" (Matt 12:34-35).
Solomon knew the heart and speech were connected. He wrote, "He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend" (Pr 22:11). He knew gracious speech was valuable, even to kings (Pr 16:13; I Sam 18:1; Eccl 10:12). And he knew that such speech came from a pure heart, which the wicked do not have (Ps 58:3; Jer 17:9).
Fools say, "You do not know my heart." But a man's heart is known by his speech. If his speech is cruel, foolish, or perverse, his heart is black. If his speech is kind, wise, and acceptable, his heart is pure. Every man will be judged by his speech (Matt 12:36-37).
Reader, examine your heart (Ps 139:23-24; II Cor 13:5)! Confess your sins of speech and beg God for help in guiding your tongue righteously (Job 34:31-32; Is 6:1-5; Ps 19:14)!