Proverbs 24:9

The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men.
– Proverbs 24:9

The word for thought means plan, and usually refers to bad plans. The word for foolishness means silliness, or folly. The first phrase refers to scheming, which is decidedly not according to wisdom. Such folly refuses instruction, embraces death, and goes woefully astray (Proverbs 5:21-23). Through such folly a woman destroys her own home (Proverbs 14:1), a hot headed man is exposed (Proverbs 14:17, 29), the character of a fool is known by the foolishness poured out of his mouth (Proverbs 12:23; 15:2, 14), and a man’s whole way is corrupted (Proverbs 19:3). Therefore, his love of folly and planning foolishness is sin.

The scorner, or scoffer, then, becomes an abomination to men. He becomes disgusting, or detestable, even in the eyes of men. The scorner is fixed in his evil ways because he will not receive correction (Proverbs 9:7-8; 13:1; 15:12). He is odious to men because he is a meddler and bringer of problems (Proverbs 21:24; 22:10; 29:8). Wisdom teaches us judgment is “prepared for scorners” (Proverbs 19:19), and he shall receive tooth for tooth (Proverbs 3:32-35).

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Proverbs 23:5

Wilt thou set thin eyes upon that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.
– Proverbs 23:5

Verse 5 uncovers the folly of exhausting yourself to be rich. The flying eagle is a figure of the fleeting nature of wealth. The eagle can be seen for a little while, but soon flies away out of grasp and eventually out of sight. This proverb doesn’t highlight any specific means of losing wealth, but such instances are mentioned elsewhere in Proverbs. A greedy man is in a hurry to be rich and his haste will actually turn to poverty (Proverbs 21:5; 28:22). Lovers of pleasure and indulgence will spread their wealth thin and come to rags (Proverbs 5:7-10; 23:20-21). The slothful fool will have trouble acquiring wealth, but what he will equally have trouble keeping what he has acquired (Proverbs 24:30-31; 27:23-27). Further, foolish managers and risk takers will exhaust their stores (Proverbs 21:20; 17:18; 22:26-27). So, in one way or another, riches tend to vanish away and wisdom teaches us not to set our hearts on material wealth.

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Proverbs 22:15

Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
– Proverbs 22:15

The word for foolishness is common in Proverbs, occurring about 19 times. The word includes the ideas of silliness and stubbornness. Solomon gives the true born-that-way argument. Children come into the world ignorant and obstinate. The heart, or mind, is tied up in foolishness. Wisdom teaches instruction, correction, and chastisement are needed to grow a person in wisdom. How they are progressing in wisdom will be evident in their response to these (Proverbs 1:5, 7, 22, 29-30; 15:5). Chastisement comes through the rod of correction, emphasizing the need for more than just words to drive out folly. Parents must be diligent to instruct, correct, and chastise while their fools are young (Proverbs 13:24; 19:18). To neglect or withhold such correction is a failure to love the child and to reinforce their folly (Proverbs 23:13-14; 29:15). A fool who matures in his folly becomes practically incorrigible (Proverbs 27:22).

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Proverbs 19:3

The foolishness of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the LORD.
– Proverbs 19:3

The word for perverteth means to twist, or ruin. The sense of the first phrase is that a man given to folly comes to ruin (Proverbs 13:6). The word for fretteth means to boil, or be enraged. A man’s folly is his own undoing and it kindles his anger against God.

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Proverbs 18:13

He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.
– Proverbs 18:13

The word for answereth means to turn back, or return. Here it speaks of making a reply to some matter, which is a word or something said. The word for heareth means to hear intelligently. The word refers to listening with understanding, or comprehension. The first phrase speaks of making a hasty reply, or we would say, jumping to conclusions. The proverb speaks of speaking on a matter without knowing what you are talking about and the parallel phrase plainly labels it folly. Such folly leads to shame, or disgrace. It is a disgrace to be so foolish as to speak to something we don’t understand. This proverb pairs well with Proverbs 18:2 and Proverbs 18:17.

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Proverbs 18:1

Introduction
Chapter 18 continues the “Proverbs of Solomon.” These proverbs continue as primarily two-line parallels and touch on various topics, such as speech, pride, and friends.

Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.

– Proverbs 18:1

This proverb’s wording is a little odd and various renderings have been put forward. The key is in the word for intermeddleth, which means to be obstinate, or against. It can be used to describe a defiant outburst. The desire mentioned is the man’s own desire. In other words, he is self-seeking and self-serving. So the man intent on his own way separates from others because he does not want their advice (Proverbs 12:15).

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Proverbs 17:18

A man void of understanding striketh hands, and becometh surety in the presence of his friend.
– Proverbs 17:18

The word for surety means a security, or guaranty. The phrase striketh hands refers to entering into an obligation to pay the debt of another, hence putting up the security, or collateral. The phrase void of understanding could be put more homely as, without a brain. Solomon touched on this in one of his addresses in Proverbs 6:1-5. It is generally portrayed as foolish in Proverbs to become surety and usually comes with negative consequences (Proverbs 11:15).

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Proverbs 17:12

Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly.
– Proverbs 17:12

Meeting such a bear would be alarming and threatening, but the proverb shows it’s more dangerous to meet a fool in his folly. A bear robbed of her whelps is a figure in Scripture to express brute strength and terror (2 Samuel 17:8; Hosea 13:8). The proverb doesn’t necessarily liken the fool’s rage to the bear’s. Such a bear cannot be reasoned with, is consumed with venting, and cannot easily be stopped. So it is with a fool in his folly (Proverbs 17:10; 10:23; 18:6; 29:11).

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Proverbs 16:22

Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly.
– Proverbs 16:22

The word for understanding means prudence, or good sense. It appears several times in Proverbs and throughout the Old Testament. It was the word used to describe Abigail in 1 Samuel 25:3. We would say she had a good head on her shoulders. Practical wisdom is a life giving blessing (Proverbs 3:22; 14:30), as wellspring of life indicates (Proverbs 10:11; 13:14; 14:27; 18:4). The second phrase is a contrast to the life giving blessing of wisdom. The word for instruction means chastisement, or reproof. Such correction coming from fools is useless, worthless (Proverbs 15:2, 28). If we press the antithetical parallel further, rather than giving life, folly leads to destruction and death (Proverbs 5:23; 14:1).

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