Foolish Characteristics

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” (Proverbs 12:15)

The book of Proverbs has much to say about those whom the writer calls fools. Actually, about ten different Hebrew words are used in Proverbs that translate as “fools,” “foolishness,” etc., and such words occur almost 100 times in that one book. Assuming the human writer was Solomon (the ultimate writer was, of course, the Holy Spirit), it is noteworthy that the reputedly wisest man of all time had more to say about fools than did anyone else. At the same time, he used the words “wise,” “wisdom,” etc., at least 125 times!

Our text uses both, contrasting the self-satisfied fool with the wise who listen to good advice. Such contrasts are abundant in Solomon’s proverbs, and we would do well to take them to heart. Note a few of these “pithy maxims,” as men have called them.

“The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall” (Proverbs 10:8).

“It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom” (Proverbs 10:23).

“A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident” (Proverbs 14:16).

“Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise” (Proverbs 17:28).

“A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards” (Proverbs 29:11).

“The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools” (Proverbs 3:35).

There are many more, of course, but the wise reader will profit even from these. Indeed a wise person will “hearkeneth” unto good counsel and thus some day “inherit glory.” HMM

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