Proverbs 24:7

Wisdom is too high for a fool: he openeth not his mouth in the gate.
– Proverbs 24:7

Commentators differ on whether verse 7 is its own saying, or if it is part of the saying before it or after it. It seems best to take it on its own as a saying, though connections can be made with the saying before and after. The word for wisdom here is the general term comprehending all aspects of wisdom—knowledge, understanding, discernment, etc. Being too high means it is above, or beyond, a fool. Though a fool may seek wisdom, he cannot find it, or even recognize it when it is before him (Proverbs 14:6; 17:24). The previous saying emphasized the necessity of wise counsel in making war, but this saying shows the fool unable to even speak to high matters. The image of the gate refers to the place of judgment in the city. It is where important matters were discussed and decided, as well the place of deciding legal matters. Wisdom requires opening one’s mouth to come to the defense of the oppressed and plead for judgment for them (Proverbs 31:8-9). Though fools are known for prating foolishness (Proverbs 15:2, 28), they have nothing to say when wisdom is needed.

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Proverbs 23:35

They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.
– Proverbs 23:35

The saying concludes with the words of the drunkard. It’s a pathetic picture of the self-destruction a man is brought to who indulges and feeds his addictions and compulsions. The drunkard is senseless and painless toward all remedial efforts. He says, “I was not sick,” and, “I felt it not.” The drunkard is truly a particular type of fool, heedless of correction (Proverbs 27:22). In true proverbial fashion, he says, “I will seek it yet again.” The fool who will not learn wisdom, will only continue on hardened against correction and senseless of the consequences (Proverbs 26:11).

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Proverbs 23:9

Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.
– Proverbs 23:9

Verse 9 stands alone, though it complements the pearls-before-swine aspect of the previous group. To speak … in the ears is to make a direct address. It refers to a direct word of reproof, counsel, or instruction. The word for fool is the most common in Proverbs and refers to a stupid and obstinate person. Their problem is not ignorance, or lack of information, but rather the hate and rejection of wisdom (Proverbs 1:22). Words of wisdom are lost on fools and gain only hatred for the speaker of them (Proverbs 9:7-8; 15:12).

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Proverbs 21:20

There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.
– Proverbs 21:20

This proverb is straightforward and we shouldn’t pull its punch by trying to spiritualize it. Wisdom says the wise lay up in store and the foolish squander all they have. The word for wise means skillful and is used throughout Proverbs to refer to living prudently and righteously. Proverbs never instructs to seek wealth (Proverbs 23:4-5; 28:22), nor does it instruct to seek poverty (30:7-9). Rather, Proverbs instructs to sacrificially and persistently seek wisdom, for it is more important and valuable than earthly treasures (Proverbs 2:2-4; 3:14-15; 8:18-19; 16:16; 23:23). While Proverbs never promises wealth to those who acquire wisdom, wealth will generally come to those who acquire money wisely (Proverbs 10:4; 11:8; 16:11; 21:6; 22:22-23), and use money wisely (Proverbs 3:9-10, 27-28; 6:6-8; 11:24-26; 13:22; 22:9; 28:27; 31:16, 20-22). Proverbs also warns that wealth can be lost through folly (Proverbs 11:6; 21:5; 23:20-2124:30-31; 27:23-27; 28:22).

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Proverbs 20:3

It is an honor for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.
– Proverbs 20:3

The word for cease means to rest, or sit still. The word for strife means a dispute, or contention. The word for honor means glory and dignity. The first phrase says a noble man will avoid quarreling. Avoiding strife involves control of the tongue as well as anger (Proverbs 14:29; 18:13; 19:11; 25:8-10). The second phrase contrasts the honorable man with the fool, who is looking for strife. The word for meddling means to be obstinate, or to break out in the sense of stirring up strife. The fool delights and specializes in strife, in part due to the lack of restraint he has over his anger (Proverbs 14:17; 18:6).

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Proverbs 19:29

Judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools.
– Proverbs 19:29

The word for judgments means a sentence, or penalty. The word for stripes means blows, or strokes as with a rod. When instructions, corrections, reproofs, rebukes, and warnings fail to turn a scorner or fool, stripes will be called for (Proverbs 10:13; 18:6). It is the only means of restraining such men (Proverbs 26:3). The warning of inevitable judgment goes out to fools and scorners. They will not go unpunished (Proverbs 19:5, 9). Though punishment of a fool seldom does him good (Proverbs 27:22), it can be corrective for others who see it (Proverbs 19:25).

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Proverbs 19:10

Delight is not seemly for a fool; much less for a servant to have rule over princes.
– Proverbs 19:10

The word for delight means luxury. The first phrase refers to a fool who has obtained wealth. Such a situation is not seemly, or beautiful, fitting. The second phrase gives a worse condition—a servant who has gained power to rule over princes. It is not good for someone to come to wealth or power unless they have done so by gaining wisdom (Proverbs 17:2). This proverb is like others that point out unfitting or absurd conditions (Proverbs 17:7; 26:1; 30:22).

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Proverbs 18:7

A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.
– Proverbs 18:7

A fool’s speech betrays his lack of wisdom, but also brings him into trouble (Proverbs 12:13; 13:3). The word for snare refers to a noose for catching animals. The fool lays a trap for himself by his unrestrained and foolish speech. He is caught in the trap of his own making like the one who foolishly enters into suretyship (Proverbs 6:1-2).

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Proverbs 18:6

A fool’s lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes.
– Proverbs 18:6

The word for contention means strife, or controversy. A fool’s mouth gets him into trouble, eventually. He knows no restraint and often presses things until the dam bursts (Proverbs 29:11; 17:14). Where there is no controversy, the fool is itching to start one (Proverbs 16:27-28). The word for strokes means blows and refers to beating, whether it is civil or domestic. The fool takes a dog by the ears and shouldn’t complain of being bit (Proverbs 26:17).

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