The Plight of the Fool

Proverbs 26:1–13 (NKJV)

1 As snow in summer and rain in harvest,
So honor is not fitting for a fool.

2 Like a flitting sparrow, like a flying swallow,
So a curse without cause shall not alight.

3 A whip for the horse,
A bridle for the donkey,
And a rod for the fool’s back.
4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
Lest you also be like him.
5 Answer a fool according to his folly,
Lest he be wise in his own eyes.
6 He who sends a message by the hand of a fool
Cuts off his own feet and drinks violence.
7 Like the legs of the lame that hang limp
Is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
8 Like one who binds a stone in a sling
Is he who gives honor to a fool.
9 Like a thorn that goes into the hand of a drunkard
Is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
10 The great God who formed everything
Gives the fool his hire and the transgressor his wages.
11 As a dog returns to his own vomit,
So a fool repeats his folly.
12 Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.

13 The lazy man says, “There is a lion in the road!
A fierce lion is in the streets!”

The writer discusses the various results of the actions of a fool.  In the case of the Hebrew word nabal (neḇālâ)*, the concept behind the word translated as “fool” connotes thickheadedness with wicked intentions.  This describes some people that I know or have known about.  Stubbornness coupled with evil is a dangerous combination.  The end result of such an attitude is described in this proverb.  A fool does not deserve honor.   Instead, the fool will receive punishment and discipline.  Wise people will not converse with the fool, will not trust a fool even with simple tasks, nor listen to a fool when he or she determines to spout supposed wisdom.  A fool will return to the very things that he cast off and will starve for lack of initiative.

Don’t be a fool!  The end result of a fool’s lifestyle is ruin, ostracism, and pain.  Seek the Lord and follow His wisdom.  It is the obvious opposite of the life of a fool.  Live Well, Live Holy, Love God!

 

 

*Walker, W. L., and R. W. Vunderink. “Fool; Foolish(ly); Folly.” Ed. Geoffrey W. Bromiley. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised 1979–1988 : 331.

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