The portrait of the fool emerges as a contrast to the one who seeks the wisdom of YHWH.
- In everything the prudent acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly. 13.16
The fool is an undisciplined scoffer of God and His wisdom. The fool in his folly is reckless in his anger — worse than a Momma bear on the prowl for her cubs! Even worse, he is proud of his foolishness, wearing it as a badge of honor, unaware that the cycle of folly is destroying him each time he returns to it.
Contrast this with the 60+ references to “the wise” in Proverbs alone. Again, this is far from an exhaustive list, but the character of the wise emerges with even a quick look from Proverbs 13. When you read Proverbs 13 you will see fools and wise in the context of money, parenting, friends, the list goes on like a warning sign or a blaring horn warning you of danger. Take a look at some of the examples:
- 11 Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles,
But the one who gathers by labor increases it.
- A wise son accepts his father’s discipline,
But a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
- 20 He who walks with wise men will be wise,
But the companion of fools will suffer harm.
- 14 The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life,
To turn aside from the snares of death.
15 Good understanding produces favor,
But the way of the treacherous is hard.
The wise man exercises discernment and self-control, a distinct alternative to the reckless behavior of the fool. Wisdom is also the measured way of life, guarding against impulsiveness by counting the cost of one’s actions. He who is wise seeks counsel, is quick to listen, and is thoughful in his speech.
Which one are you?
Read Proverbs 13 and decide for yourself who you are walking with.