What do we know about fools from Proverbs?
I want wisdom. It is important to my daily walk with Jesus.
Sometimes it helps, in understanding something, is to look and see what it is not.
The following is a partial list of some characteristics of a fool from the book of Proverbs:
- A fool hates knowledge (1:22)
- Takes no pleasure in understanding (18:2)
- Enjoys wicked schemes (Proverbs 10:23)
- Proclaims folly (Proverbs 12:23)
- Spurns a parent’s discipline (15:5)
- Speaks perversity (19:1)
- Is quick-tempered (12:16)
- Gets himself in trouble with his proud speech (14:3)
- Mocks at sin (14:9)
- Is deceitful (14:8)
- Despises his mother (15:20)
- A foolish child brings grief to his or her parents (17:25; 19:13)
- A foolish man commits sexual immorality (6:32; 7:7–12)
- A foolish woman tears down her own house (14:1)
- The ultimate description of a fool is one who “says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’
- They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good” (Psalm 14:1; 53:1).
Although fools can choose to become wise by heeding wise counsel and applying it (Proverbs 8:5; 21:11), the Bible warns against associating with fools (Proverbs 14:7). Proverbs 13:20 says, “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.”
Didn’t Paul warn us?
Yes, indeed he did. There is a lengthy warning about it all. Here is the nub of it.
Claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles. Romans 1:22-23
What is the good news?
I don’t have to be a fool. Jesus wants me to be wise. Jesus shows me the way. I can be wise. Ignorance is no excuse for not being wise. I have the scripture and can study it. I can apply it to my life. I can pray for more and more.
Even more important, I have friends, brothers and sisters, who are very wise! That is the beauty of the internet. I can read and learn. I can dialogue and share. It is a beauty to behold.
What is the deal with the Hebrew?
Proverbs uses three different Hebrew words for fool: khesil, ewil, and nabal. The most common of these—khesil and ewil (nabal only occurs three times in Proverbs)—are essentially synonymous. Both describe someone who hates wisdom and knowledge (Prov 1:7; 1:22). In Proverbs 12:23 and Proverbs 13:16, fools (khesil) produce folly (iwweleth, from the Hebrew word ewil), linking the two terms.
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