The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
– Proverbs 18:8
The word for wounds means to gulp down. The word is only used twice in the Hebrew text, here and in Proverbs 26:22, which is a word-for-word copy of this proverb. The whole proverb is a warning to the penetration of words. A talebearer is a slanderer, or gossiper. So gossip is eagerly gobbled up, and just as food is eaten and internalized, gossip goes to the innermost parts. Wisdom recognizes the natural bent and taste we have for gossip and slander, and also the effect they have on the soul. Refusing to hear a talebearer is the obvious implication (Proverbs 26:17, 20-21; 20:3).