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 29:9

If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest.
– Proverbs 29:9

The contention here is an unreconciled complaint. The result is coming to no resolution because the contention is with a foolish man. The words of the wise are presented as calm and reasonable (Proverbs 15:23; 17:27), but a determined fool cannot be reasoned with (Proverbs 12:15). The fool’s response may range from anger to mockery, but there will be no rest, or peace. The wise discern the time to leave off speaking to a fool.

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 27:14

He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be a curse to him.
– Proverbs 27:14

Words should be few (Proverbs 10:19; 11:12-13), dispassionate (Proverbs 15:1; 17:27), true (Proverbs 16:13; 24:24-26), appropriate (Proverbs 25:11), and timely (Proverbs 15:23). A lack of discernment, such as speaking too loud and too early, can turn a blessing otherwise into a curse.

 


 

 

Proverbs 27:9

Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.

– Proverbs 27:9

Pleasing aromas can refresh, cheer, and energize. The point of the saying is likening hearty counsel from a friend to ointment and perfume in the ability to rejoice the heart. This saying speaks to the power of good words. Various proverbs speak to the restorative and refreshing power of good words (Proverbs 12:25; 15:23, 30; 16:24; 17:22; 25:25).

 


 

 

Proverbs 27:6

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

– Proverbs 27:6

Verse 6 continues from verse 5. Faithful wounds are the result of open rebuke, mentioned previously. The word for faithful means to build up or support and can express the nurturing relationship of parents to children. It may wound, or inflict some pain, but is ultimately out of love and for good. The word for deceitful means abundant and describes the profuse kisses of an enemy. The thought of deceit is present and contrasts with faithful. We infer from the saying that faithful wounds from a friend will be few because they are out of love and meant for good, while the enemies flatteries will be poured out. Wisdom warns to beware of flattery and weigh words carefully (Proverbs 2:16; 6:24; 7:5, 21; 10:18; 20:19; 26:23-26, 28; 29:5).

 


 

 

Proverbs 26:28

A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.

– Proverbs 26:28

This saying concludes this section with wisdom observations on lying and flattering. The word for hateth is sometimes translated as enemy, but most often as some form of hate. The word for afflicted means crushed, or injured. A liar is an enemy to and injurer of those he lies to. The righteous, or wise, man hates lying (Proverbs 13:5) and wisdom teaches to put it far from us (Proverbs 4:24). The word for flattering means smooth (Proverbs 5:3) and is readily grouped with lying. The word for ruin means overthrow and indicates the inevitable outcome of lying and flattering.

 


 

 

Proverbs 26:26

Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation.

– Proverbs 26:26

This saying finishes this hypocritical speech collection. Malice may be covered by deceit for a while, but will ultimately be made known. Mention of the congregation could indicate some more formal process of judication, though not necessarily with civil authorities. Wisdom here has repeated the warning to beware of fair speech (Proverbs 7:21; 26:25).

 


 

 

Proverbs 26:25

When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart.

– Proverbs 26:25

This verse continues from the previous, so it is the hating man who speaketh fair. He uses gracious speech to mask what is within. In this case, seven abominations are concealed within. This could be a reference to the seven abominations of Proverbs 6:16-19, but more likely speaks of completion in the sense his heart is thoroughly abominable. Wisdom teaches to discern character and not judge merely by outward appearance, and warns against believing the fair sounding words.

 


 

 

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