22 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
they go down to the inmost parts.
23 Like a coating of silver dross on earthenware
are fervent lips with an evil heart.
The gossip’s words appeal to our desires to feel superior, to be in the know, and to confirm our biases. They are “like choice morsels,” promising to satisfy our cravings but leaving us weak and tired. A steady diet of junk food has obvious consequences, as does a preoccupation with rumor and hearsay. One impairs a person’s appetite for real food, the other harms the a person’s ability to discern the truth.
“Like a coating of silver dross on earthenware are fervent lips with an evil heart.” While the fool is absorbed with appearances and superficialities, the wise person considers the heart. A cheap clay dish may be coated with silver to appear valuable, but a little use will reveal what lies beneath. So also with the excesses of enthusiasm, religiosity and outrage shown by the hypocrite – which fail to conceal the evil heart from a discerning eye.