Here is an interesting proverb that speaks to a couple of issues. First it speaks to the issue of gossip. We are being told not to slander a slave to his master. The slander here is speaking false, damaging statements against a third party to someone. We are not to speak with our mouths that which is false and slanderous. What I love here is that God seeks to protect the weakest with this admonition. God's statement here is protecting a slave - who is slandered to his master. Too many think that just because a man is not a person of power and influence - they do not have the same rights as others. Our system of justice seeks to right this wrong - and it was based in many ways on the teaching of Scripture. God wanted to protect the weakest from even the strongest. Justice is blind - and should be the same whether when dealing with a poor man or a rich one. In the same way - we should refrain from gossiping about anyone - no matter what their status in life. What I find interesting is that God says in Psalm 101:5 that He Himself will avenge this kind of action with destruction.
The second thing to note here is that God does care about employer/employee relationships. He wants a basic fairness to be used when dealing with these situations. Thus the Lord speaks to the idea of a slave being slandered to his master. We do not want these relationships to turn bitter and divided. In the early years of this century employers took such bad advantage of their employees that they began to unionize. This was profitable in the short run - but has become a disaster in the long term. Now we have groups whose whole purpose is to stimulate bad blood between employer and employee. This will not be good for business in the long run. That is why even the slave is given recourse here. He is allowed to bring charges against the false statements made about him. Therefore all in society are reminded that there is a basic justice that will prevail in the dealings of men with other men.
In the end, though, we are reminded that God wants us to shut our mouths when it comes to slander and gossip. How much better served we are to make such matters a chance to pray hard to know what to do and how to do it. That way we do not foment the kind of anger and hatred that has been the downfall of many businesses. Let us be reminded that God does not want mob rule. But let us also be reminded that those who do not want mob rule, must embrace those in authority over them, pray for them, and talk with them in a respectable manner.