Proverbs 25:23

23 Like a north wind that brings unexpected rain is a sly tongue—which provokes a horrified look.

Read Proverbs 25:23 Using Other Translations

The north wind driveth away rain: so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.
The north wind brings forth rain, and a backbiting tongue, angry looks.
As surely as a north wind brings rain, so a gossiping tongue causes anger!

What does Proverbs 25:23 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Proverbs 25:23

The north wind driveth away rain
So the geographer F23 says, the swift north wind drives away the moist clouds; which usually come from the opposite quarter, the south. The word used has the signification of conceiving, and begetting, and bringing forth; hence some F24 render it to a different sense, and so the Targum,

``the north wind bringeth forth rain;''
and in this sense Gersom interprets it, and says,
``the north wind produces rain in Jerusalem, because it brings there the vapours that ascend from the sea, which lies north unto it;''
and the philosopher F25 says, that in the northern parts of the world the south wind produces rain; and in the southern parts the north wind produces it, as in Judea. But in ( Job 37:22 ) , fair, fine, golden, serene, "weather", is said to "come out of the north"; agreeably to which, the north wind is by Homer F26 called (aiyrhgenethv) , the producer of serene weather; and by Virgil F1 "clarus aquilo", i.e. what makes serene. The Arabic version reads it, "the south wind"; and that does bring rain, and, as that version has it, excites the clouds. But the first reading and sense of the words seem best F2, and agree with what follows: so [doth] an angry countenance a backbiting tongue;
drives it away, discourages and silences it. When a man puts on a stern countenance, a frowning and angry look, on such who bring him slanderous reports and idle tales of their neighbours, and reproach and backbite them, it checks them, and puts a stop to their practices; whereas listening to them, and especially with an air of pleasure, encourages them in them; were there not so many that take pleasure in hearing those talebearers and backbiters, were they more roughly dealt with, as the blustering north wind does with the rain, there would not be so much of this evil practised.

F23 Dionysii Perieg. v. 532.
F24 (llwxt) "parturiet", Montanus; "gignit", Junius & Tremellius; "parturit", Schultens.
F25 Aristot. Metaphysic. l. 2.
F26 Iliad. 19. v. 358. Odyss. 5. v. 295.
F1 Georgic. l. 1. prope finem.
F2 "Ventorum frigidissimi quos a septentrione diximus spirare, et reliquos compescunt, et nubes abigunt", Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 2. c. 47.
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