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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Proverbs 18:2

A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.
– Proverbs 18:2

This proverb amplifies the point of Proverbs 17:28. Fools are described as having little to no control over their tongues throughout Proverbs, and this lack of control easily marks them a fool before others. The word for delight means to take pleasure, or we could say, inclination. The word for understanding means intelligence, but not innate mental capacity. It refers more to the skill of discernment, to distinguish between. Solomon instructs his son to seek it diligently as searching for hidden treasure (Proverbs 2:1-5). To acquire understanding, one has to humble himself to be instructed (Proverbs 5:1). Acquiring understanding is also a spiritual issue, since you must begin with the fear of the Lord and comprehend that understanding comes “out of his mouth” (Proverbs 2:5-6), i.e., God’s word (Matthew 4:4). Acquiring understanding is impossible independent of, or contrary to, God (Proverbs 21:30).

The fool has no delight in the instruction and correction of wisdom. Rather his joy rests in speaking his own thoughts and feelings. The word for heart often means mind, but the context is appropriate to say thoughts and feelings. The word for discover itself means to expose, or uncover. The fool doesn’t want to be taught, but is rather always waiting for opportunities to empty his emotional bucket (Proverbs 15:2). Fools have no joy in life until they’ve exposed themselves in some manner (Proverbs 13:16), and Solomon elsewhere described them as always advertising their folly (Ecclesiastes 10:3).

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Proverbs 17:28

Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.
– Proverbs 17:28

This proverb is a companion to the previous one about the restraint of the tongue. Solomon noted elsewhere, “a time to keep silence, and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:7), but fools are “full of words” (Ecclesiastes 10:14) and ready to pour out their speech (Proverbs 15:2). Solomon’s point is made with irony that a fool can appear wise if he holds his tongue. He gives a different angle on the value of silence and restraint. He doesn’t intend to teach fools how to put on a good show.

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Proverbs 17:25

A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him.
– Proverbs 17:25

All children start out the same way, with foolishness “bound in the heart” (Proverbs 22:15). Parents are to bring up their children in the way of wisdom (Proverbs 22:6). The way of wisdom is the way of correction and instruction (Proverbs 13:24; 19:18; 29:17). A foolish son can be the result of neglect (Proverbs 29:15), the active folly of the parents (Proverbs 14:1), or the incorrigible pride of the son or daughter (Proverbs 17:10; 27:22). The last case is most likely to bring “heaviness,” “sorrow,” and “calamity” (Proverbs 10:1; 17:21; 19:13).

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Proverbs 17:24

Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.
– Proverbs 17:24

Solomon repeatedly told his son to hear instruction of wisdom, in order to gain wisdom, in the opening fatherly addresses of Proverbs. A man of understanding pursues wisdom and keeps it before him in the sense of concentrating on instruction (Proverbs 15:14; 18:15). The fool is not fixed on the instruction of wisdom. He has no sense of the value of it, nor the patient and diligent search required to obtain it (Proverbs 17:16; 2:3-5).

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Proverbs 17:21

He that begetteth a fool doeth it to his sorrow: and the father of a fool hath no joy.
– Proverbs 17:21

Two words are used for fool here. The first denotes a dullard or simpleton, and the second denotes wickedness. This proverb is opposite Proverbs 23:24, which acknowledges the joy of having a wise child (Proverbs 10:1; 15:20; 23:15-16). Life experience and the first nine chapters of Proverbs should convince us we cannot make our children wise. We can instruct, correct, train, discipline, exhort, and even plead like Solomon, but we cannot make a son or daughter have wisdom if they refuse instruction (Proverbs 1:7; 8:33; 13:1; 15:5). A child who refuses correction and instruction is a continual grief to father and mother (Proverbs 17:25; 19:13).

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Proverbs 17:16

Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it?
– Proverbs 17:16

Proverbs repeatedly emphasizes the value of wisdom surpassing silver and gold (Proverbs 2:4; 3:14; 8:10, 19; 16:16; et al). Wisdom’s value surpasses that of fine gold and, therefore, cannot be obtained by silver and gold. The fool doesn’t understand wisdom and thinks it can be bought and had quickly. The fool is far too distracted to patiently pursue wisdom (Proverbs 17:24). The word for heart usually means mind, but it can refer to will and emotions. Sometimes all these are included. This is probably one of those instances where all the meaning is comprehended and so states the fool has no mind, will, or desire for wisdom.

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