Romans 3:13

13 "Their throats are opened graves; they use their tongues to deceive." "The venom of vipers is under their lips."

Romans 3:13 Meaning and Commentary

Romans 3:13

Their throat is an open sepulchre
The several vices of the instruments of speech are here, and in the following verse, exposed: "the throat" is said to "be an open sepulchre", as in ( Psalms 5:9 ) , so called, for its voracity and insatiableness; both as an instrument of speech, for the words of the wicked are devouring ones; and as an instrument of swallowing, and so may denote the sinner's eager desire after sin, the delight and pleasure he takes in it, the abundance of it he takes in, and his insatiable greediness for it; likewise for its filthy stench, the communication of evil men being corrupt; and because, as by an open grave, persons may fall unawares to their hurt, so the evil communications of wicked men, as they corrupt good manners, are dangerous and hurtful: R. Aben Ezra explains it by (dym Nwoa) , "immediate destruction", or sudden death:

with their tongues they have used deceit;
which may design the sin of flattery, for the words in ( Psalms 5:9 ) ; the place referred to, are, "they flatter with their tongue"; either God or men, themselves or others, their princes or their neighbour; for there are flatterers in things sacred and civil, there are self-flatterers, court flatterers, and flattering preachers, and all abominable and mischievous; or the phrase may design the sin of lying, either politically, officiously, perniciously, and religiously; and in this latter way, either with respect to doctrine or practice:

the poison of asps is under their lips;
or as in ( Psalms 140:3 ) , "adders' poison is under their lips". The asp is but a small creature, and so is the tongue, ( James 3:5 ) , but there is a world of mischief in it, signified by poison; which, as that, is latent and secret, is under it; and as that stupefies and kills insensibly, so an evil tongue does, and that in a deadly and incurable manner: oftentimes the Jews speak of the evil imagination, or corruption of nature entering into persons, and operating in them, (owekb orak) "as poison in an angry serpent" F23.


F23 T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 62. 2. Yoma, fol. 9. 2.

Romans 3:13 In-Context

11 there is no one who has understanding, there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned aside, together they have become worthless; there is no one who shows kindness, there is not even one."
13 "Their throats are opened graves; they use their tongues to deceive." "The venom of vipers is under their lips."
14 "Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness."
15 "Their feet are swift to shed blood;
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.