“Who may live on Your holy mountain? … The one who … does not slander with his tongue.” (Ps 15:1-3 TLV)
Râgal (Strong’s H7270) is the Hebrew word that has been translated in our opening passage as ‘slander’, and it paints quite a vivid picture. The image that we get is one who is walking about, spying on everything around him/her, then running rough-shod over – or trampling – another underfoot. When we stop to think about this, it is certainly an accurate picture of one who engages in this type of activity.
Noah Webster defines ‘slander’ as “To defame; to injure by maliciously uttering a false report respecting one; to tarnish or impair the reputation of one by false tales, maliciously told or propagated.” We see so much of this going on in today’s headlines, where political opponents – and even those of Hollywood notoriety – continuously defame, slander, and sling as much mud as possible at those they believe to be in the wrong. Elohim is not pleased with such behavior, and I prayerfully hope that there are no Torah observant believers participating in such conduct. We are certainly all entitled to our opinions; however, it is very possible to voice our opinions in such a way that we do not belittle and defame any who are in opposition to us.
Years ago, I read an essay by a Christian pastor who made the comment that ‘slander was, in essence, murder with the tongue’. In reality, slander finds its root in pride, for just who do we think we are to injure and destroy one who is made in the image of our Creator? Who set us on the throne of judge, jury and executioner? Does slander truthfully fit in to the composition of “loving our neighbor as ourselves”? (Lev 19:18)
It is the person who refuses to use his/her words as instruments of mass destruction that will ultimately be a part of the Kingdom of Elohim; such a person is letting the light of Torah shine brightly through him/her. May we all – myself include – take note of this vital requirement in our application for citizenship with our Messiah King.
“He who watches over his mouth guards his being, But he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.” (Pro 13:3 ISR)
“If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the entire body … And the tongue is a fire, the world of unrighteousness. Among our members the tongue is set, the one defiling the entire body, and setting on fire the wheel of life, and it is set on fire by Gehenna.” (James 3:2, 6 ISR)