Gossip – Hebrew: Lashon Hara

לשון הרה

Lashon hara literally means ‘evil tongue. It is defined in Judaism as derogatory speech about a person which emotionally or financially damages them or lowers them in the estimation of others. Lashon hara includes truthful words such as saying someone is beautiful or intelligent as well as lies. If the words are repeated, the person repeating is also involved in lashon hara; a very serious sin. Lashon hara is connected to ‘gossip’ and is found 15 times in the Complete Jewish Bible.

The first command against lashon hara is found in Leviticus 19:15: “Do not be unjust in judging — show neither partiality to the poor nor deference to the mighty, but with justice judge your neighbor.” In the Hebrew, the phrase Lo telech rachil b’ameicha means ‘do not be a talebearer.’

One of the Ten Commandments is to not bear false testimony against a neighbor. More specifically, do not repeat false rumors or even true ones. This, too, is considered lashon hara or ‘a wicked tongue.’

“An ungodly man digs up evil, and his lips is a scorching fire.  A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends” (Proverbs 16:27-28).

Aaron and Miryam, Moshe’s brother and sister, were afflicted with skin disease because they slandered their brother’s Ethiopian wife, and they became arrogant over Moshe as leader of Isra’el. They felt they were just as important as their brother because they also heard Elohim speak. This was lashon hara and included backbiting as well as slander. Adonai’s anger burned against them, came down in a column of cloud, and stood at the entrance to the Mishkan.

Adonai does not take lashon hara lightly because our words edify or tear down an individual or a leader. In the case of Moshe, the chosen leader of Adonai’s people, lashon hara could not be tolerated because gossip and slander spread like a disease. When lashon hara is committed within a family, slander and gossip can be passed from one generation to another destroying the integrity of the ‘House’ from the foundation up. Think McCoy’s and Hatfields!

Believers are being built together as ‘living stones into a spiritual house offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to Adonai’ (1 Peter 2:5).  When we lashon hara, we become a stone that contains ‘mold and mildew’ in that house. According to the regulations for skin infections, the infected stone must be removed and put out (Leviticus 14:41-45).

The second commandment against lashon hara is found in Leviticus 19:14: “Do not speak a curse against a deaf person or place an obstacle in the way of a blind person; rather, fear your God; I am Adonai.” The Hebrew phrase Lifnei ‘iver lo titen michshol focuses specifically on putting a stumbling block before a blind person. These can be literally or spiritually interpreted.

Literally interpreted, the command seems obvious. Who, but an evil person, trips a blind man; or who, but an evil person, curses a deaf man. Spiritually interpreted, cursing someone who doesn’t have ‘ears to hear’ spiritual truth is lashon hara. Teaching Biblical truth to a person without ‘eyes to see’ is also lashon hara.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Tongue – lashon

ל Lamed – A Shepherd’s Staff means ‘urge forward.’

ש Shin – A Tooth means ‘consume’ or ‘destroy.’

ו Vav – A Nail means ‘binding.’

ן Nun – A Fish means ‘life.’

The Hebrew Word Picture for lashon: urging forward to destroy binding of life.

Evil – harah

ה Hey – A Window means ‘reveal’ or ‘behold.’

ר Resh- A Head means ‘highest authority.’

ה Hey – A Window means ‘reveal’ or ‘behold.’

The Hebrew Word Picture for hara: behold highest authority revealed.

Gossip or Evil Tongue – lashon hara

The Hebrew Word Picture for lashon hara: revealing the highest authority urging forward to destroy binding of life.

©2022 Tentstake Ministries Publishing

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