Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.
Proverbs 14:3: “In the mouth of a fool is a rod of pride, But the lips of the wise will preserve them.”
A fool’s mouth speaks with the empty authority of “pride,” but Wisdom had already declared fool’s rejection with: “Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate” (Proverbs 8:13); so it should surprise no one that when pride speaks, God replies! “And Pharaoh said, ‘Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, nor will I let Israel go’” (Exodus 5:2), to which God responded: “And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and when the morning appeared, the sea returned to its full depth, while the Egyptians were fleeing into it. So the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. Then the waters returned and covered the chariots, the horsemen, and all the army of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them. Not so much as one of them remained” (Exodus 14:27-28). It may have been because of Pharaoh’s example that David depicted what a fool would say: “May the LORD cut off all flattering lips, And the tongue that speaks proud things, Who have said, ‘With our tongue we will prevail; Our lips are our own; Who is lord over us?’” (Psalm 12:3-4). Other proverbs deal with a fool’s mouth: “A fool has no delight in understanding, But in expressing his own heart” (Proverbs 18:2); “A fool’s mouth is his destruction, And his lips are the snare of his soul” (Proverbs 18:7); “Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, For he will despise the wisdom of your words” (Proverbs 23:9). The reason a fool’s mouth “is a rod of pride” is because he/she has no understanding in the heart (and out of it the mouth speaks, Matthew 12:34), despises words of wisdom, and it becomes his/her own destruction with no one else to blame! God offers His Wisdom to make life better now, and best in the time to come, but all who reject this better way are fools! All who think they are smarter than God are fools, and should be avoided like a skunk on the highway!
The “wise” are preserved by their speech, for they are showing by their language that they have accepted God’s Wisdom into their hearts. This is repeated in Proverbs 15:7: “The lips of the wise disperse knowledge, But the heart of the fool does not do so.” The lips of the wise are also good for others to hear: “Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, And apply your heart to my knowledge; For it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you; Let them all be fixed upon your lips, So that your trust may be in the LORD; I have instructed you today, even you” (Proverbs 22:17-19).
To whom are we listening?
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.