Proverbs 29:11

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

The first phrase literally says a fool vents all his breath. The picture is such a sheer quantity of words coming from a fool he is out of breath. Fools are characterized in Proverbs for much foolish speaking. They pour out words like water from a bucket (Proverbs 15:2, 28). It is such a common indicator that a fool might be thought wise by simply being quiet and offering no opinion (Proverbs 17:28).

A fool’s speech is not marked only by quantity, but also by content, all his mind. A fool is compelled to make his foolishness known (Proverbs 12:32; 13:16; 14:33). Such characteristic speaking is a product of the lack of self-control, particularly in terms of anger (Proverbs 12:16).

Most of the verses referenced have the contrasting characteristic of the wise that he has control over his tongue. The wise will understand many reasons for restraining speech: provide less to be used against him (Proverbs 10:14; 13:3), maintain relationships (Proverbs 11:12-13), calm heated tempers (Proverbs 17:27; 15:1), and even to lessen sin (Proverbs 10:19).

That a wise man keeps his words in till afterwards, can provide a cooling off period until minds are more reasonable, but also speaks to the characteristic wisdom of taking time to investigate, understand, and formulate a reasonable response (Proverbs 15:28; 18:13, 17).

Proverbs 29:8

Scornful men bring a city into a snare: but wise men turn away wrath.
– Proverbs 29:8

Verses 8-11 have sayings with anger as a common theme. A scorner is a determined fool among the wisdom sayings whose persistent resistance to correction (Proverbs 9:7-8; 13:1; 15:12) keeps him from acquiring wisdom (Proverbs 14:6). Kidner called the scorner a deliberate trouble-maker (Proverbs 21:24; 22:10), and here he inflames the city, as the word for snare indicates. By contrast, the wise man is calming and turns wrath away. Wisdom understands and values the power of calm words (Proverbs 17:27; 15:1; 25:15).

Proverbs 22:25

Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.
– Proverbs 22:25

Verse 25 completes the proverb started in verse 24. The warning against associating with the angry man is to avoid the snare of becoming like him. Wisdom teaches that we become like those we companion with and those we allow to influence our lives (Proverbs 13:20). Wisdom teaches us to discern the character of others and to avoid all forms of folly and wickedness (Proverbs 1:11-19; 2:12-20; 7:22-27). This is more than a question of taste or preference. Wisdom commands to “forsake the foolish and live” (Proverbs 9:6). The hot tempered, angry man is one type of fool to avoid (Proverbs 21:14; 29:22).

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Proverbs 22:24

Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go:
– Proverbs 22:24

The word for friendship literally means to tend a flock and is put for associating with. Wisdom has warned against the folly of anger (Proverbs 15:18; 19:19), but the warning here is along a different line, as seen in the next verse. The word for angry means nostrils and the word for furious means heat. The words describe the marks of a hot tempered man. The saying instructs not to associate with, or be the companion of such a man.

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Proverbs 21:14

A gift in secret pacifieth anger: and a reward in the bosom strong wrath.
– Proverbs 21:14

The word for gift means present and the word for reward means bribe. The first is neutral of itself and the second is usually negative. Commentators differ whether the proverb itself is positive or negative. The word for pacifieth means smooth, or sooth. It refers to reducing, or calming, anger and strong wrath. The word for secret means covered, or hidden, and this word gives a tinge of something untoward. The word for bosom means to enclose in the more figurative sense. The figure could also speak of concealment, or it could refer to being at the ready. The second sense would highlight the timing of the gift given more than the hiddenness of it.

Perhaps the difficulty demonstrates the fine line between a good and bad gift. Gifts are always wicked when used to pervert justice (Proverbs 17:23). They are disgusting when used out of vanity to gain favor or place (Proverbs 18:16; 19:6). However, Proverbs praises the wisdom that calms anger and appeases wrath. Gentle words can sooth (Proverbs 15:1). Controlling one’s own anger can calm others (Proverbs 15:18). A well timed word can do good (Proverbs 15:23). So, if we have wisdom and discretion, we can also calm anger with a discreet and timely gift.

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Proverbs 20:2

The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: whoso provoketh him to anger sinneth against his own soul.
– Proverbs 20:2

This proverb highlights another folly with deadly consequences. The roaring of a lion is a fitting image for the wrath of a king because the lion’s roar is backed up with the ability to kill (Proverbs 16:14-15; 19:12). A king has great power and it is foolish to provoke him. Sinning against your own soul is a figure of speech that refers to death, as in the warning of wisdom (Proverbs 8:36). To carelessly provoke the anger of a king is to put your life at risk.

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Proverbs 19:19

A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment: for if thou deliver him, yet thou must do it again.
– Proverbs 19:19

The word for wrath literally means heat, so it stands for anger, or rage. The word for punishment means a penalty, or a fine. It has a legal connotation. The first phrase pictures a hot and quick tempered man who creates trouble for himself (Proverbs 29:22). Proverbs elsewhere warns against association with angry men (Proverbs 22:24-25). The point of this proverb is similar to such warnings. The second phrase has a condition and consequence. The word for deliver means to save and refers to somehow rescuing him from the penalty he has incurred. If you bail such a one out of trouble, you will have to do so repeatedly. In other words, the angry man will not learn the folly of his way and leave it. Wisdom discerns how to handle the situation and when to let someone suffer the consequences of his own actions.

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Proverbs 15:18

A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.
– Proverbs 15:18

Hatred, pride, and anger in a man is the root of stirring up strife (Proverbs 10:12; 28:25; 29:22). The word for wrathful means heat, and we would say hot-headed, a quick temper, or a short fuse. He escalates strife and contentions like adding fuel onto a low burning fire (Proverbs 26:21). The contrast is with one who is slow to anger. He has the patience and wisdom to defuse situations and persuade for good (Proverbs 15:1; 25:15).

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Proverbs 15:1

Introduction
Chapters 10 to 22 are the second major section of the Proverbs, known as “The proverbs of Solomon.” This section divides into two parts. Chapters 10 to 15 are the first division with 185 proverbs that are primarily two-line, antithetical parallel phrases. Chapter 15 is the last chapter of the first division and has proverbs on various subjects, such as speech, correction, laziness, bribes, God’s omniscience, and teachability.

A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
– Proverbs 15:1

The word for soft means tender, and when used of words, refers to gentleness. An answer is a reply and the word for turneth away means to turn back, or in this case, to prevent wrath. A wise man is a calm, clear thinking man who controls his speech (Proverbs 17:27) and chooses his words carefully (Proverbs 15:23, 28). The soft answer here is wise speech that calms anger and restores reasonableness. The contrast is grievous, or painful words. These are words that provoke. The word for stir up means to go up and refers to increasing anger. The stirring up of anger comes from pride (Proverbs 28:25), hatred (Proverbs 10:12), and an angry temperament (Proverbs 29:22). It is the mark of a fool (Proverbs 14:17).

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