GoshenAid to Bible Understanding
2. A city in the mountainous region of Judah. (Josh. 15:20, 48, 51) Some geographers tentatively place it at modern Zahariyeh, about eleven and a half miles (18.5 kilometers) SW of Hebron. “The land of Goshen” referred to at Joshua 10:41 and 11:16 was apparently a district in its vicinity. This district would take in the mountainous region between Hebron and the Negeb.
Gossip, SlanderAid to Bible Understanding
Gossip is idle personal talk; groundless rumor. Slander is defamation, generally malicious, whether oral or written.
Not all gossip is bad or damaging, though it can be. At times it may be commendatory about a person or persons; or it may be the mere relating of something trifling or unobjectionable about others, out of human interest. But it is easy to slip into hurtful or troublemaking talk, for gossip is idle talk. The Scriptures counsel against idle speech, pointing out that the tongue is difficult to tame and that it “is constituted a world of unrighteousness among our members, for it spots up all the body and sets the wheel of natural life aflame.” Its destructiveness is further emphasized in that the Bible writer continues, “and it is set aflame by Gehenna.” (Jas. 3:6) The danger of loose, idle talk is emphasized many times, its user being connected with stupidity or foolishness (Prov. 15:2), and such speech constituting a snare and bringing ruin to him. (Prov. 13:3; 18:7) “In the abundance of words there does not fail to be transgression,” says the proverb, counseling that keeping one’s lips in check is discreet action. (Prov. 10:19) “He that is keeping his mouth and his tongue is keeping his soul from distresses,” is a warning against thoughtless, loose or idle talk.—Prov. 21:23.
“Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,” said Jesus Christ. (Matt. 12:34) Consequently, what one usually talks about is an index of that on which his heart is set. The Scriptures urge one to safeguard his heart and to think on and speak of the things that are true, serious, righteous, chaste, lovable, well spoken of, virtuous and praiseworthy. (Prov. 4:23; Phil. 4:8) Jesus Christ said, “It is what proceeds out of his mouth that defiles a man,” and went on to name “wicked reasonings” and “false testimonies” among the things that proceed from the mouth but actually are out of the heart.—Matt. 15:11, 19.
Gossip can lead to slander, becoming disastrous to the slanderer. The wisdom of the words at Ecclesiastes 10:12-14 is very evident: “The lips of me stupid one swallow him up. The start of the words of his mouth is foolishness, and the end afterward of his mouth is calamitous madness. And the foolish one speaks many words.”
Gossip is talk that reveals something about the doings and the affairs of other persons. It may be unfounded rumor, even a lie, and although the gossiper may not know the untruthfulness of the rumor, he spreads it nevertheless, thereby making himself responsible for propagating a lie. It may be someone’s faults and mistakes that the gossiper is talking about. But even if the things said are true, the gossiper is in the wrong and reveals lack of love. The proverb says: “The one covering over transgression is seeking love, and he that keeps talking about a matter is separating those familiar with one another.”—Prov. 17:9.
The apostle Paul gave strong advice to the overseer Timothy about the conduct of young widows who had no households to care for and who did not busy themselves in me ministry. He said: “They also learn to be unoccupied, gadding about to the houses; yes, not only unoccupied, but also gossipers and meddlers in other people’s affairs, talking of things they ought not.” (1 Tim. 5:13) Such action is disorderly conduct. The same apostle spoke of some in the congregation at Thessalonica who were “walking disorderly among you, not working at all but meddling with what does not concern them.” (2 Thess. 3:11) Peter puts “a busybody in other people’s matters” in very bad company—alongside a murderer, a thief and an evildoer.—1 Pet. 4:15.
On the other hand, it is not gossip or slander and is not wrong to report conditions affecting a congregation to those having authority and responsibility to oversee and correct matters. This fact is demonstrated in the Scriptural record about the Christian congregation in ancient Corinth. There dissensions and the paying of undue honor to men were creating sectarian attitudes, destroying the congregation’s unity. Some members of the house of a certain Chloe who were aware of these things and were concerned about the congregation’s spiritual welfare disclosed the fact to the absent apostle Paul, who acted quickly, writing corrective counsel to the congregation from Ephesus.—1 Cor. 1:11.
While gossip can in some cases be more or less harmless (though it can become slander or lead into it), slander is always damaging and always causes hurt and contention. It may be with or without malicious motive. In either case, the slanderer is putting himself in a bad position before God, for “anyone sending forth contentions among brothers” is among the things mat God hates. (Prov. 6:16-19) The Greek word for “slanderer” is di·aʹbo·los, “accuser.” The word is also used in the Bible as a title of Satan “the Devil,” the great slanderer of God. (John 8:44; Rev. 12:9, 10; Gen. 3:2-5) This indicates the source of such defamatory accusation.
Slander constitutes a stumbling block to others, particularly to the one slandered. The law given by God to Israel commanded: “You must not go around among your people for the sake of slandering. You must not stand up against your fellow’s blood.” (Lev. 19:16) The deadly effect of slander—that it is likened to shedding the blood or taking the life of another, actually, murder—is here shown. The slanderer stupidly foments hate, and “everyone who hates his brother is a manslayer.” (1 John 3:15; Prov. 10:18) False witnesses have many times been instrumental in causing the death of innocent persons.—1 Ki. 21:8-13; Matt. 26:59, 60.
Sometimes matters are confidential, but the slanderer delights in revealing them to others who have no right to know. (Prov. 11:13) The slanderer gets pleasure in revealing things that cause sensation, “juicy tidbits,” as he might say, and the one listening to slander is also wrong and is damaging himself. (Prov. 20:19; 26:22) One may be turned away from his friends because of some defamatory remark about them by the slanderer, with enmities and divisions resulting.—Prov. 16:28.
The Scriptures foretell that the notable presence of slanderers would be one of the marks of the “last days.” (2 Tim. 3:1-3) Such persons, men or women, if present among God’s people, are to be reproved and corrected by responsible ones in the Christian congregation. (1 Tim. 3:11; Titus 2:1-5; 3 John 9, 10) Slander, in causing contention (Prov. 16:28), thus produces certain “works of the flesh” (such as hatreds, contentions and divisions) that will prevent the slanderer and others he leads into wrongdoing from inheriting God’s kingdom. (Gal. 5:19-21) Though the slanderer may be sly and deceitful, his badness will be uncovered in the congregation. (Prov. 26:20-26) Jesus exposed the slanderous Judas (John 6:70) to his apostles and then dismissed Judas from his company, turning him over to Satan for his destruction.—Matt. 26:20-25; John 13:21-27; 17:12.
A form of slander is reviling, the practice of which merits cutting off from the Christian congregation, for revilers are condemned by the Scriptures as unworthy of life. (1 Cor. 5:11; 6:9, 10) Slander and reviling are often associated with rebellion against God or against those he has duly constituted and appointed to govern