Verses 20–21

We are here taught how to value men, not by their wealth and preferment in the world, but by their virtue.

I. Good men are good for something. Though they may be poor and low in the world, and may not have power and riches to do good with, yet, as long as they have a mouth to speak, that will make them valuable and useful, and upon that account we must honour those that fear the Lord, because out of the good treasure of their heart they bring forth good things. 1. This makes them valuable: The tongue of the just is as choice silver; they are sincere, freed from the dross of guile and evil design. God’s words are compared to silver purified (Ps. 12:6), for they may be relied on; and such are the words of just men. They are of weight and worth, and will enrich those that hear them with wisdom, which is better than choice silver. 2. It makes them useful: The lips of the righteous feed many; for they are full of the word of God, which is the bread of life, and that sound doctrine wherewith souls are nourished up. Pious discourse is spiritual food to the needy, to the hungry.

II. Bad men are good for nothing. 1. One can get no 4344 good by them: The heart of the wicked is little worth, and therefore that which comes out of the abundance of his heart cannot be worth much. His principles, his notions, his thoughts, his purposes, and all the things that fill him, and affect him, are worldly and carnal, and therefore of no value. He that is of the earth speaks of the earth, and neither understands nor relishes the things of God, John 3:31; 1 Cor. 2:14. The wicked man pretends that, though he does not talk of religion as the just do, yet he has it within him, and thanks God that his heart is good; but he that searches the heart here says the contrary: It is nothing worth. 2. One can do no good to them. While many are fed by the lips of the righteous, fools die for want of wisdom; and fools indeed they are to die for want of that which they might so easily come by. Fools die for want of a heart (so the word is); they perish for want of consideration and resolution; they have no heart to do any thing for their own good. While the righteous feed others fools starve themselves.