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 12:23: “A prudent man conceals knowledge, But the heart of fools proclaims foolishness.”
“Knowledge” is based upon facts, certainty, and insight. When “knowledge” involves Bible truths, we must all be as David, who said, “I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness In the great assembly; Indeed, I do not restrain my lips, O LORD, You Yourself know” (Psalm 40:9). Though Peter confessed Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16), Jesus was not ready for this to be widely known at that time, so “He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ” (Matthew 16:20). However, when this truth was fully revealed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul had “not shunned to declare…the whole counsel of God” in Ephesus (Acts 20:17, 27). In dealing with the judgments of our daily lives, the “prudent” (sensible, wise, judicious) don’t need to tell everything at once! Since “Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins” (Proverbs 10:12), this principle is applicable to Christians (1 Peter 4:8). Solomon later would say, “There is a time to keep silence, And a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:7). Those with good judgment will make timely conversation, hence, Christians must “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one” (Colossians 4:6).
When blabbing anything and everything one knows about others with the excuse that, “I’m just being honest,” one becomes a fool who is without good judgment! Other proverbs that add to this truth are: “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise” (Proverbs 10:19); “Every prudent man acts with knowledge, But a fool lays open his folly” (Proverbs 13:16); “The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness” (Proverbs 15:2); “He who has knowledge spares his words, And a man of understanding is of a calm spirit. Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive” (Proverbs 17:27-28). There is a common saying based upon this truth: “Better to be thought a fool, than open your mouth and remove all doubt.” One who is “slow to speak” (James 1:19) is either “wise” or a fool who is mistaken as wise! Meanwhile, “a fool” will use a “multitude of words” to lay “open his folly” and pour forth “foolishness.” Running off at the mouth is never good, while shutting up the mouth in good judgment can be “perceptive!” When our heart is in our mouth, truth may be lost in the moment! God gives us a mind with which to filter what we say: “The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, And adds learning to his lips” (Proverbs 16:23). Since God’s people are now the Christians, Solomon’s wisdom is timeless: “Do not be rash with your mouth, And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few” (Ecclesiastes 5:2).
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.