23 Those who guard their mouths and their tongues
keep themselves from calamity.
24 The proud and arrogant person—“Mocker” is his name—
behaves with insolent fury.
Contaminated food can be deadly if it enters the mouth, and a poisonous word can be equally disastrous when it is let out. One affects only the body, the other the whole person. One can be remedied with medicine, the other may take a lifetime to reconcile. With both it is potency that determines the results, regardless of intentions.
“The proud and arrogant person—’Mocker’ is his name— behaves with insolent fury.” No matter how high a man’s opinion of himself, his reputation is established by his behavior. He may demand respect, and preoccupy himself with his own superiority, but this only achieves the opposite of what he intends. In labeling others as “loser” or “worthless” or “idiot,” he earns the label of “mocker” – and the scorn that comes with it.