A wrongdoer gives attention to evil lips, and a man of deceit gives ear to a damaging tongue.
Evil people relish malicious conversation; the ears of liars itch for dirty gossip.
An evildoer gives heed to false lips; A liar listens eagerly to a spiteful tongue.
A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; [and] a liar giveth ear to a mischievous tongue.
An evildoer pays attention to wicked lips. A liar opens his ears to a slanderous tongue.
One who acts wickedly* pays attention to evil counsel;* a liar listens* to a malicious tongue.*
17:4 One who acts wickedly1455
tn The Hiphil participle מֵרַע (mera’) indicates one who is a doer of evil. The line affirms that a person of this nature will eagerly listen to evil talk – it is part of his nature.
pays attention to evil counsel;1456
tnHeb “to the lip of evil”; ASV, NAB, NASB, NRSV “wicked lips.” The term “lip” is a metonymy of cause for speech (what is said); the term “evil” is an attributive genitive. The same will be true in the parallel line where the expression “to the tongue of destruction” (NASB “a destructive tongue”) means things that are said that destroy others.
a liar listens1457
tc The verb מֵזִין (mezin) is from זִין (zir, “to feed”); therefore, the suggested emendation is to take it from אֹזֶן (’ozen, “ear”) as a denominative verb, “to give ear; to listen to.” Two Hebrew mss> have this variant.
to a malicious tongue.1458
sn Wicked, self-serving people find destructive speech appealing. They should be rebuked and not tolerated (Lev 19:17).