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Warnings Against Rejecting Wisdom

INTRODUCTION:  This chapter reproves the fool, the talebearer, and the sluggard.

  1. As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honour is not seemly for a fool.
    1. Three things are not suitable, proper, or fitting (the meaning of seemly):
      1. Snow in summer
      2. Rain in harvest
      3. That a fool be given honor
    2. Fools in the Bible who received honor:
      1. Abimelech (Judges 9:6-20)
      2. Haman (Esther 3:1-2)
  2. As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.
    1. We have nothing to fear:
      1. From a wandering bird
      2. From a flying sparrow
      3. From a causeless curse
    2. What is a causeless curse?
      1. A curse is a calling down of evil on someone or something
      2. It is causeless:
        1. If God has not made it (Numbers 23:8)
        2. If it is not backed by the word of God (Galatians 3:10)
        3. If it opposes Gods blessing (Psalm 109:28; Proverbs 3:33)
      3. Causeless curses come from fools and may be safely ignored
  3. A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool's back.
    1. A fool rejects reason and understands only force (Proverbs 10:13; Proverbs 17:10)
  4. Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.
  5. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.
    1. These two verses give opposite commands, but in different circumstances
    2. The question is whether or not it is wise to respond to the foolish statements made by a fool. It depends on the particular situation.
    3. If answering the fool will make you just like him, answer him not
      1. If the ranting is so outrageous that you must rant like him in order to answer him
      2. If the spirit is so full of wrath and anger that you cannot answer except by become like the fool
    4. If refusing to answer the fool leaves him confident that you have no answer and that he is wise, then you may need to respond
    5. These two considerations play off one another and each situation must be judged on its own merits
  6. He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool cutteth off the feet, and drinketh damage.
    1. We should never send a message by the hand of a fool
    2. It is like cutting off the feet
      1. If we had no feet, we could not carry the message
      2. If a fool carries the message, it may never arrive
    3. It is like drinking damage
      1. If we drink damage, we would be sick from the poison
      2. If a fool carries our message, he may deliver it in such a way that it causes harm to us
  7. The legs of the lame are not equal: so is a parable in the mouth of fools.
    1. A lame man may have one strong leg and one weak or useless one. The mix of strength and weakness causes a limp and impedes progress.
    2. A parable spoken by fools is a mix of strong and weak. He may say one good thing and then confuse the whole by adding something totally irrelevant. His comparisons and metaphors will not match or agree within the parable. Those listening will be left in confusion.
  8. As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honour to a fool.
    1. He that ties a stone into a sling
      1. Accomplishes nothing because the stone will not fire out of the sling
      2. May hurt himself when he tries to release the stone
    2. He that gives honor to a fool
      1. Accomplishes nothing
      2. May hurt himself
  9. As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools.
    1. The senses of a drunkard are so deadened that he will not feel a thorn going into his hand
    2. The senses of a fool are so deadened that he will not know how much he has messed up his parable
  10. The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors.
    1. We know that God got all things started
    2. We can trust that God will finish all thing in the end
      1. Rewarding the fool
      2. Rewarding the transgressors
  11. As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.
    1. A dog will return to eat his own vomit
    2. A fool may seem to throw off some of his perversion only to return to it later. This proves that he is a fool (2 Peter 2:22).
  12. Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.
    1. A conceit is a thought or a personal opinion, especially an exaggerated opinion of oneself
    2. The Bible refers to those who are wise in their own conceits six times (Proverbs 26:5, 12, 16; Proverbs 28:11; Romans 11:25; Romans 12:16). Compare those who are wise in their own eyes (Proverbs 3:7; Isaiah 5:21).
      1. A fool may become wise in his own conceits (Proverbs 26:5)
      2. A sluggard is wise in his own conceits (Proverbs 26:16)
      3. The rich man is wise in his own conceit (Proverbs 28:11)
      4. The Christian is commanded not to be wise in his conceit (Romans 12:16)
    3. A fool has a greater chance of godly reform than the man who is wise in his own conceit
  13. The slothful man saith, There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets.
    1. The lazy man imagines dangers and hindrances that do not exist. He worries that the rain will come or the wind will blow (Ecclesiastes 11:3-4) and accomplishes nothing.
  14. As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed.
    1. The slothful man stays in bed, turning back and forth as a door on its hinges.
  15. The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom; it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth.
    1. The slothful man is so lazy that he will hide his hand in his clothing.
    2. Then, he suffers grief if he has to bring it out to put food in his mouth
    3. The slothful complain over the smallest duties
  16. The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.
    1. Laziness creates its own reasoning; a reasoning that listens to nothing else. Elaborate excuses flows from the mind and mouth of the sluggard. Reasons for not doing anything come so quickly that seven men could not keep pace in answering them.
  17. He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears.
    1. If you take a dog by the ears:
      1. You make him angry
      2. You are not able to do anything else
      3. When you let him go, he will attack you
    2. When you meddle in strife not belonging to you:
      1. Both parties are likely to be angry with you
      2. You get involved in a seemingly endless process
      3. You are likely to get attacked yourself
  18. As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death,
  19. So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?
    1. The mad man is one who is crazy and out of control. David pretended to be a mad man in 1 Samuel 21:12-15. Here, the mad man is also dangerous and destructive.
    2. Solomon compares the dangerous mad man to the man who plays practical jokes on his neighbor.
      1. He deceives him
      2. Then he claims he was just making sport It was just a joke.
    3. Compare this with the command against foolish talking or jesting, which are not convenient (Ephesians 5:4).
  20. Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.
  21. As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.
    1. Strife (fighting, contention) is compared to a burning fire
    2. The wood that keeps the fire going is:
      1. The talebearer the person who spreads stories from one person to the next
      2. The contentious man the person who disputes and quarrels with others
    3. Without those who act as wood, the fire of strife would go out on its own
  22. The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
    1. Not only do words hurt; they hurt to the innermost parts of the person. They hurt where the wound cannot be seen.
  23. Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross.
    1. A potsherd is a broken piece of pottery. It has sharp edges that can be used for scraping (Job 2:8) or can cause injury.
    2. Silver dross adds a thin shiny covering to the worthless potsherd
    3. In like manner, those with burning lips that express the perversities of a wicked heart hide their true nature with a covering of shiny dross
  24. He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him;
  25. When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart.
  26. Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation.
    1. To dissemble means to pretend to be something you are not (Jeremiah 42:20).
    2. The hearts of those mentioned here are full of hatred (Jeremiah 42:24, 26), wickedness (Jeremiah 42:26), and have seven abominations (Jeremiah 42:25).
    3. But they cover up their wickedness with deceit (Jeremiah 42:24, 26)
      1. As Cain spoke to Abel in the field (Genesis 4:8)
      2. As Saul spoke to David concerning Michal (1 Samuel 18:22-25)
      3. As Joab spoke to Abner at Hebron (2 Samuel 3:26-27)
      4. As Davids betrayer spoke to him (Psalm 55:21)
    4. They speak fair words (verse 25).
      1. Good words and fair speeches (Romans 16:18)
      2. Enticing words (Colossians 2:4)
      3. Feigned words (2 Peter 2:3)
      4. Great swelling words of vanity (2 Peter 2:18; Jude 1:16)
  27. Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.
    1. The method by which you attempt to destroy others will eventually be used to destroy you (Proverbs 1:18-19, 31)
  28. A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.
    1. Lying about someone is an act of hatred toward that person
    2. Flattery leads others to absolute ruin
      1. It draws the simple into adultery and fornication (Proverbs 6:24; Proverbs 7:5, 21)
      2. It spreads a net for those who listen to it (Proverbs 29:5)