The words of a talebearer [are] as wounds
Or rather they are wounds; they wound the credit and reputation of the person of whom the tale is told; they wound the person to whom it is told, and destroy his love and affection to his friend; and in the issue they wound, hurt, and ruin the talebearer himself. Or, they are "as of those that are wounded" F13; they pretend to be affected with the case they tell, and to be grieved for the failings and infirmities of those they are secretly exposing, when at the same time they rejoice at them: or, they are "secret" hidden ones, as Aben Ezra interprets it; they are spoken secretly, and wound secretly, in a backbiting way: or, they are "smooth" or flattering F14, as Kimchi; they are smoother than oil, and glide easily into the minds of others: rather, "are greedily swallowed down" F15, as the word in the Arabic language signifies; as Schultens has shown, and so renders it. Hence it follows: and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly;
go down pleasantly, and sink deep into the hearts of those to whom they are told; where they have a place and remain, both to the injury of the persons that receive them, and of them of whom they are told; and, though pleasing at first, they are as wounds in the inner parts, which are mortal.
F13 (Mymhltmk) "similia sunt verbis eorum, qui saepenumero contusi sunt", Junius & Tremellius; "ut contusorum", Cocceius.
F14 "Ut lenientia", Montanus; "velut blanda", Vatablus, Mercerus, Gejerus; "quasi blandientia", Schmidt, so Ben Melech.
F15 "Tanquam avide deglutita crustula", Schultens.