Proverbs 16:13

Righteous lips are the delight of kings; and they love him that speaketh right.

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Your lips can promote you. Your speech can win love. Even powerful men appreciate gracious and truthful words. Good speech is a large part of wisdom. A gracious man will rise high among men (Pr 22:11), and a gracious woman will be highly prized (Pr 11:16).

Godly speech will quickly exalt you. Good answers will cause others to want to kiss you (Pr 24:26). The right word at the right time is as beautiful as gold apples in a silver bowl (Pr 25:11). A wise reproof to an appreciative hearer is like jewels of fine gold (Pr 25:12).

Your mouth can promote you in position and friends, or it can ruin you in every relationship of life (Eccl 10:12). No matter how good and virtuous your heart and mind, they are revealed best by gracious and truthful speech. Kings were great and powerful in Solomon’s time, but their approval and affection could be won with righteous words. Give God the glory for this wonderful proverb and its valuable lesson for godly speech.

As a proverb, you are to understand the kings under consideration are noble and righteous kings. Profane and wicked kings have little regard for good things, including wise and virtuous speech. Many kings were foolish enough to appoint court jesters and evil counselors! But even pagan kings could appreciate humble and wise words, as Pharaoh listening to Joseph and Nebuchadnezzar listening to Daniel (Gen 41:38-45; Dan 1:18-21).

Consider the power of this proverb. It does not use winning the favor of friends, family, neighbors, or colleagues. It teaches winning the approval and affection of glorious monarchs – a plural number of them at that! Kings had enormous glory, power, and wealth. They held the power of life and death. Their favor was a great blessing (Pr 16:14-15; 19:12; 20:2). Daniel continued through the reigns of several Babylonian kings, a Median king, and into the reign of Cyrus the Persian (Dan 1:18-21; 5:29-31; 6:1-3,28)!

Consider this proverb’s details. Godly kings delight in good speech: they love right words spoken at the right time (Pr 10:20; 15:23; 16:24; 25:11). But not only do they delight in the words, they also love the man that speaks them! The good words and discreet speech please their minds; the speaker wins their hearts (Pr 12:14; 14:35; 24:26). Solomon knew his father David in his youth had won Prince Jonathan this way (Pr 22:11; I Sam 18:1-5).

Reader, would kings love you? Are your words appropriate, cheerful, compassionate, discreet, edifying, encouraging, few, gentle, gracious, helpful, kind, merciful, modest, prudent, righteous, sober, thankful, true, and wise? Or do you argue, backbite, boast, complain, criticize, dominate conversations, flatter, talk foolishly, show disrespect, exaggerate, jest, lie, murmur, repeat yourself, slander, swear, tattle, or whisper?

Promotion is as close as your mouth. King Solomon said death and life are in the power of your tongue (Pr 10:31; 12:18; 18:21). Which will it be for you, death or life? If you want great men to delight in your speech and love your person, then teach your mouth the wisdom of the book of Proverbs (Pr 10:19; 15:28; 16:23; 17:27-28). Joseph, David, Daniel, and Mordecai were able to win the favor and love of kings of all kinds by it.

Better relationships for women are as close as your mouth. Abigail won the heart of David in just a few minutes, in spite of the fact he was filled with furious and murderous thoughts (I Sam 25:23-35). The virtuous woman, good enough to satisfy a queen mother for her son the king, has speech of wisdom and kindness (Pr 31:26). God identified Sarah as a great woman for her humility and reverence to call Abraham lord (I Pet 3:5-6).

Few women today can even come close to these three women. They think they should be loved for spouting off opinions and having saucy retorts in conversation. They complain, criticize, and defend themselves until no one wants to be near them. Then they blame others for not being fair and understanding. If you cannot see the difference between Bible graciousness and modern women, read Solomon’s proverbs about speech again!

God gave Jesus Christ the tongue of the learned (Is 50:4). His words were always gracious and always true (Ps 45:2; Luke 4:22). No man ever spoke like Him (John 7:46)! He won God’s fullest and eternal approval, and He is seated at the right hand of God’s throne ruling the universe at this very hour. He is the high King of heaven and prince of the kings of the earth. Will you win His approval and blessing by your speech today?