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PROVERBS 26:1-12

TWELVE VERSES ABOUT THE "FOOL"

HOW TO RESPOND TO THIS KIND OF PERSON!

 

 A Preacher in his Study

 

LESSON 1, INTRODUCTION:

Let's enjoy a few Bible Study Lessons from the first paragraph of Proverbs chapter 26. The whole context, twelve verses full, focuses on the "fool!" He's the opposite of the "wise" man whom Proverbs extols so highly.

Here's the Text. "As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honour is not seemly for a fool. As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come. A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool's back. Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit. He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool cutteth off the feet, and drinketh damage. The legs of the lame are not equal: so is a parable in the mouth of fools. As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honour to a fool. As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools. The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors. As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly. Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him." Proverbs 26:1-12

There's a lot to learn here. Ways of life that society today spurns and violates regularly.

First of all today we must analyze the word "fool." In Hebrew it's spelled "kesiyl." It means, according to one lexicon, "dullard, stupid fellow, arrogant one." I counted 49 times this word is used in Proverbs!

Scholars who have studied the word through the years believe it also carries the idea of "one with morally deficient character."

In my words he's a person who "knows it all," thereby being resistant to the truth of God's Word.

He, to quote one source, "disregards moral truth and vents his folly." His way is right, no matter what. And he is so sure of that, so blatantly proud of his intuitive knowledge, that he recklessly pushes his own views on others. Nobody will put any "thou shalt nots" on him!

One more thing, "kesiyl" means at its very base "fat, dull, clumsy." So it's also "trusting in oneself, certainly not the Lord, trust that becomes overconfidence," nearly a form of self-veneration or self-adoration or maybe even worship of self. Too "heavy" a view of one's own person and intellect!

The constellation Orion in Hebrew is called "kesiyl" also, denoting the hero's foolish and violent tendencies.

The Book of Proverbs in general and our Text in particular regularly contrast the "fool" and the "wise" man.

What a delight it should be to learn the traits of each.

More tomorrow, Lord willing.

                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2, VERSE 1:

Our verse today is short, yet the beginning of a twelve verse paragraph about the "fool" as he is defined in Scripture.

"As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honour is not seemly for a fool." Proverbs 26:1

This verse constitutes a word picture in English, a "simile" the Language Teacher would say. A comparison using "like" or "as" for a springboard.

The word for "snow" is "sheleg" in Hebrew and means just what it says. It is found 20 times in the Bible, every time being translated "snow" except once when it's "snowy."

But snow in summer is unwelcome! Snow when the crops are in the ground and growing is, in fact, catastrophic!

It's the same with "rain" at harvest time. Too much rain will cause the ripened grain to decay! Such weather is out of place.

Two untimely and inappropriate conditions, snow and rain, at two of the worst possible times for their arrival!

So is giving honor to a fool!

"Honor" translates "kabod," a Hebrew noun meaning "heavy." Heavy as in considering a person's opinion as "weighty" and very "important!" Adoring that individual is the idea! And it's a bad idea too.

And "seemly" just means in a "beautiful" manner. Proper and in good taste. The "right" thing to do.

"As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honour is not seemly for a fool."

The Lesson?

Do not heap recognition and glory and appreciation on a person who is a "fool." Who is so vain and proud that his way alone is right ... and who entertains no room for the opinions of God Almighty!

Do not approve the ungodly!

That's a message for the whole wide world today.

Fools are not deserving of attention and popularity and praise. They should, instead, be shamed.

Wow!

               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3, VERSE 2:

The verse we're noticing today is quite interesting. I've thought of it many times through the years. Solomon promises, in the context of his "fool" paragraph, "As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come." Proverbs 26:2

The nouns used for "bird" and "swallow" both hint at those little flying creatures that "soar" around the neighborhood. They are translated as "bird" or "swallow" or "sparrow" in the first instance. And translated only "swallow," and only twice in Scripture, in the second instance.

But this fact must be added. The activity of these birds seems to be that of endless flight, hovering and flitting all around ... never landing! Helicopter style! Unable to find a resting place!

And that's why these little animals are used as illustrations in the verse. Flying in circles ... unable to land!

And that's the same way a "causeless curse" is here depicted, so true to life. Remember, we're in a twelve-verse stretch that describes the "fool." A careless, proud, ultra-assertive person! A know-it-all who has no room for the advice of others, especially God!

And this fool apparently, as they often do, has uttered a "curse" against a good man or woman. He wants to doom and imprecate and condemn any individual who does not agree with his senseless worldview.

And just like those little birds who fly endlessly, never caring to land ... here not even able to land, so is the curse the fool utters.

Don't worry, godly man or lady ... curses hurled at us by workers of iniquity, by fools, will never land on our heads or shoulders or bodies!

"As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come."

Let them wish you harm. God will protect you. Their hopes for your demise are harmless!

Besides all this, the noun "curse" is "qelalah" in Hebrew and means something like "light, slight," as well as "despised!" Like a little one-ounce curse can hurt anybody, that light! Words of hurt from a fool just carry no weight in the eyes of God! A God Who watches over His Own children!

"Come" is a little verb simply spelled "bo," a common term used 2,577 times in the Old Testament. It means "to enter" or even "to bring against."

No fool-sent curse can land upon or enter against a righteous man!

In fact, God will bless the "target" instead!

By the way, verse 1 taught us not to honor ("kabod" meaning "to give heavy weight" to a person, counting him a heavyweight in our eyes) the fool ... now verse 2 has told us that the fool's curses are "light," not heavy at all. They can do no damage against the wise person.

God just won't allow it!

Therein today we can take comfort. I'll close with a verse from Psalm 75. I love it. "For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another."

Amen!

                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4, VERSE 3:

The Verse is short, but true. And Solomon wrote it in reference to the proverbial "fool." The selfish human he's been describing throughout the whole Book of Proverbs.

"A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool's back." Proverbs 26:3

The "fool" here specifically described, "kesiyd" in Hebrew, is a person who is so wise in his own eyes, his or her ways are so right, that no one can teach them anything. They already know it all!

"Words" just do not influence them. They learn nothing when lectured. They are not teachable at all. In fact, they go beyond that line. Not only will they not listen to instruction, they well might encourage others to rebel against traditional knowledge too.

What do you do for a person like that?

Enter today's Verse! "A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool's back."

That's what must be done to even gain the attention of a fool!

He's no easier to guide than a horse!

He's no less stubborn than an ass!

And just like those animals must be physically constrained ... so must the fool! He does not learn any other way!

The noun "whip" means "scourge." It can change the direction a horse is taking!

The "bridle" in a donkey's mouth can do the same thing! A fools "mouth" also is dangerous place that needs counsel. That needs correction!

So, in classic Hebrew parallelism, a "rod" is to be ministered to the back of a fool! The noun "shebet" used here can mean anything from a tree limb to a stick to a staff.

It takes heavy punishment to ever "wake" a fool to the realities of spiritual life! He must often be treated harshly.

And throughout Scripture, if you will notice, God often does so. He rebukes and chastens many a fool in the Word of God!

Don't placate those unwise folks!

Give them the Truth!

Lay it on them heavily!

Bluntly!

Maybe, and that is just a "maybe," it will help them.

                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5, VERSES 4 AND 5:

The verses for today, two of them, have troubled commentators for a long time. You will immediately see why.

"Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit." Proverbs 26:4-5

The two sentences appear to contradict each other. Do we "answer" the fool, or not?

Much here depends on the meaning, meanings really, of the little Hebrew preposition that's translated "according to" in our King James Text. It is simply spelled "ke" and possesses several duties. It, in addition to meaning "according to," means "like" or "as." The Septuagint Bible, the Greek translation of the Old Testament that was in use in Paul's day, translates the "ke" in verse four as "pros," meaning "to or toward." And translates the "ke" in verse five as "kata," meaning, among other things, "with reference to." Those ancient scholars saw that the Bible was NOT contradicting itself here. It never does!

The verb "answer" is "anah" and means "to answer, respond, testify, speak, shout" and and four times "sing!"

The noun "fool" is again "kesiyl," meaning that "know-it-all" who has his own answers for everything, always perfectly right answers, and will not heed the counsel of God. Or anyone else but his buddies!

"Folly" is traced to a root word that means "perverseness," twisted out of the shape God originally intended for a person, spiritually and morally and psychologically and ultimately physically too!

"Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him." The admonition here is, really a command since the imperative mood is used, do not get down into the gulley with the fool. Do not discourse and warn him "pros" in a face to face encounter where you adopt his attitudes and fighting methods and ways! "Pros," according to ... don't act like him and think like him! Do not let him pull you down into the spiritual mud in which he lives! If so, you will end up being like him, at least in this one encounter. "Be like" in verse four means, spelled "shavah," really "to be even, to be smooth," to be on the same low level he is! To resemble a person! To be that much like him or her!

Be careful!

But then again, we just cannot let the fools of this world continue spewing their filth and poison and violence everywhere! Somebody must oppose them, expose them, shame them, rebuke them! Of course.

Then verse five must be written. "Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit."

"According to" is "kata" in Greek ... occasionally meaning "down on!" Get on top of this silly person, condemn him, low-rate him, humble him with the Word of God! Reveal his lies and tell what God says about this silly man's bold pride! God hates it!

If we do not "lower the boom" on fools and their ranting and raving, our children may end up following them! They will grow ever more popular. They will rule the land!

So what do we do?

Do not be "like" him in your rebuttal. Rather, be "against" him, "down" on him as you expose his many errors! "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit."

"Answer" him, which if you remember "anah" can mean "shout" (!!!) ... so that he will not be "wise" in his own eyes! And "conceit" here is precisely that, "ayin," one's own "eyes."

The adjective for "wise" implies "God's true Wisdom," being skilled at righteous living! This poor fool has taken his own "ways and thoughts" and falsely named them God's "ways and thoughts!"

We can't let him continue living that lie! Rebuke him, try to humble him and prove him wrong. Wow, here's a new motive for preaching! A new facet of pulpit ministry!

Let's summarize now. Both verses are correct. Both must be obeyed simultaneously! Neither disproves the other. They in fact support one another. "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit."

We may have learned two valuable lessons today!

For which we should sincerely thank the Lord Jesus, the One Who died for us and saved us and is coming again to get us! The One Who is praying for us right now!

The One Who is Wisdom Personified!

Praise the Lord.

                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6, VERSE 6:

The verse upon which we focus today is a word picture. It highlights how undependable a "fool" can be. He is not a faithful man!

"He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool cutteth off the feet, and drinketh damage." Proverbs 26:6

There's something here about sending a message. Using a currier, a herald, an errand-runner to do so. So we'll just use the common word "messenger."

These folks possessed no mail service or phones or computers or even telegraph systems for that matter. Messages had to be sent via another human being.

"He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool cutteth off the feet, and drinketh damage."

What might have been the goal of such a message? Many exist, no doubt. But the results of a message delivered are delineated in Scripture. In Proverbs 13:17 a faithful messenger brings "health." A healthy situation, an ambassadors' job really! In Proverbs 25:13 a good messenger brings "refreshment." Like rain after a long dry spell, this person is exhilarating to his master as well, a job well done!

In Proverbs 10:26 a "fool," but one who has further digressed into being a "slothful" man too, is entrusted with a message. And he is so incapable that he's likened to "vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes."

Message carrying obviously was a critically important thing to the ancients!

By the way, it is to our great God too! The Message of the Gospel! The Message of all the Word of God! The whole counsel of God, Paul called it.

Today's verse again, "He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool cutteth off the feet, and drinketh damage." 

"Send" here connotes dispatching a person on official business. But it would be shortsighted to send a "fool" on such an important mission. Yet apparently some did so.

But doing such a thing would be tantamount to "cutting off" one's own feet! Just as well not send him. He will do more harm than good.

And to "drink," to gulp it down heartily, damage means to ingest "violence," cruelty, injustice and wrong." Like drinking poison! "Violence" in Hebrew is "hamas," what a word!

So, employing a fool to do important business is not wise. And the Holy Spirit has just offered us two startling examples of the harm that can be done.

Regardless of the fool's personality! His appearance, or anything else! It's the Message that counts. Fools, even popular ones, made deadly messengers! Do not believe them, even then they are "spokesmen" for some so-called outstanding company!

                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7, VERSE 7:

This paragraph about the fool, the first twelve verses of Proverbs 26, comments twice on faithfulness in delivering messages. Here is the couplet that I have in mind, one of which is today's text. "He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool cutteth off the feet, and drinketh damage. The legs of the lame are not equal: so is a parable in the mouth of fools." Proverbs 26:6-7

This advice, doubly emphasized as it is, might indicate that "fools" are often placed in positions that involve communication. Sharing information!

Fools as television personalities?

Fools writing editorials?

Fools in classrooms, professors in secular departments of history or math or psychology?

Fools in politics, speechwriters or candidates?

Or even worse, fools in pulpits?

All the foregoing are known for their words.

Communication skills.

Today's verse has led me into this line of thought. Note the word "parable" please. "The legs of the lame are not equal: so is a parable in the mouth of fools." Proverbs 26:7 again.

Like one who limps, uneven in his gait, so is the "fool" who is asked to handle, to express or interpret or understand, a parable.

The noun here is "mashal," literally translated "proverb" 19 times in the King James Bible. Its root means "to rule, have dominion, govern." So parables in this sense are maxims, guidelines, standards of right and wrong by which to conduct ourselves.

Fools are not able to express such concrete truths!

They themselves do not even believe in absolute truth!

They "limp" when charged with handling such heavy and august and grave truth.

Then maybe it's being suggested that educating a fool, entrusting to him or her vast stores of spiritual data, is inappropriate!

Jesus in Matthew 7:6, the Sermon on the Mount, may have "fools" in mind when He taught: "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you."

Wow!

Glorious God-approved Truth might even be painful for a fool to handle, to carry, to disseminate. Walking when lame surely would be!

If you Pastor can teach and preach God's Parables, those beautiful little Bible stories, and do so skillfully with insight and wisdom ... thank God for Him! He is not a fool! In fact, that's one more indication that he's a real man of God.

Church people too, those who listen and respond and apply the proverbs and parables and word pictures of Scripture, three quarters of an hour's worth as the Preacher delivers his weekly messages ... those folks are not fools either! They are vested with the Wisdom of God.

Yes, "The legs of the lame are not equal: so is a parable in the mouth of fools."

Let's remember and learn.

                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8, VERSE 8:

This twelve verse description of a fool continues. It's Old Testament, Hebrew and Jewish to the core, poetry at its best.

Today we arrive at Proverbs 26:8. "As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honour to a fool."

A good marksman with a sling-shot can be relatively accurate up to 500 feet, so says one of my commentaries. That's better than even an archer can do, at least with the same degree of specificity.

But here none of that counts.

Because any person who "honors" or "gives weight" to a fool, counting his opinions and ideas as superior, is not going to be very successful anyway!

Just as well tie your stone, your "bullet," in that leather strip on your sling ... and forget about hitting any intended target.

Fools do not accomplish any lasting beneficial purpose in life!

Wow! "As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honour to a fool."

Maybe too we are being taught that the best thing to do to a fool is "shoot" him away from you! And your family!

Dismiss him from your presence.

Disregard his counsel.

Deny him your fellowship.

Put him in your social "sling" and launch him into infinity!

But guess what?

He often will not leave.

He hangs around, even when not wanted.

You can try to sling him out of your neighborhood, but you had just as well tie a rock in your sling-shot and get ready for it to backfire on you!

Yes, it's true. The Bible is always right. "As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honour to a fool."

Foolishness brought too close, loved and honored, may end up being a lethal weight encircling your head.

Do not honor the fool.

                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

This Verse is one of my favorites so far, in a paragraph that's been delightful to study. I hope to preach this Text somewhere soon in a Revival Meeting. In today's society men and women who meet God's definition of the "fool" as described here ... are everywhere! We must learn how to treat them, how to respond to them. We must become familiar with the dangers they present. And the damage they can do. Lord, help us.

 

 

LESSON 9, VERSE 9:

Today's Verse, still teaching us the traits of a "fool," a proud and God-denying individual who knows "all" the answers reads: "As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools." Proverbs 26:9

The word "thorn" is brier, a common "thistle." And in the Bible a "drunkard" is not usually not a skid-row beggar or undesirable bum. Of the 9 times it's used mostly the perpetrator is a man of high social standing! A wealthy land-owner, a king, or some such profession!

I think here the "fool" might also be a false prophet, a liar who fills the pulpits of some spiritually hungry congregation!

Whoever he is, he handles information. He is a teacher! He tries to explain and expound "parables." The noun is "mashal" and in Hebrew means a "proverb, aphorism, a wise story with moral undertones."

But when such spiritually bankrupt people are entrusted with God's Word, disseminating the real messages behind the Bible's parables, the heart of Jesus' Teachings, they are incapable!

In fact, when they try to handle parables, spiritual nuggets of silver and gold, they cause more harm than good! More pain than relief!

Again: "As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools."

The "thorn" here mentioned is literal. Yet emotionally it also causes much discomfort. Perhaps we are here being taught that "parables" in the mouths of fools create tension and stress and rifts in the various congregations where they are presented, discussed.

A truly Spirit-filled Man of God can take a parable,  like the "Sower and the Seed" Jesus taught, and make it "sing!" Make it "glitter!" Make it "precious" and "instructive!"

But when a hypocritical, no-need-for-the-Holy-Spirit, conceited so-called preacher takes a parable and tries to explain and apply it ... certainly "thorns in my hand" results will occur!

Lacerations and bruises and sores and black-and-blue places!

Ouch!

The sense of this verse? "As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools." Surely it's at least this. Love and appreciate any Pastor, evangelist, Bible teacher, commentator, or layman who can illuminate the parables and proverbs and "dark sayings" of Scripture!

They are anything but fools!

In fact, they are "wise" in the Lord's Eyes.

                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

The "dark sayings" quote is from Psalm 78:2 where "chiydah" means "riddles or hard questions." Unraveling those little paragraphs of Scripture is really delightful! "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter." Proverbs 25:2, just think about it! Fools would not enjoy such study, too painful for them!

 

 

LESSON 10, VERSE 10:

Proverbs 26:10 says: "The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors." And this is our verse for today, one of twelve that describes the person God calls a "fool."

Incidentally, this sentence from God's Word attributes creation to the Almighty! "The great God that formed all things." Yes, He did.

The Hebrew verb "formed" translates "chul," meaning "to give birth to" something! It depicts labor pangs, literally suggesting some "twisting, writhing, trembling" action! Yet again the King James translators twice have the word meaning "to dance." The word picture here might have our awesome God "rejoicing and shouting gleefully" as He creates the universe!

"The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors."

Now let's notice the word "rewardeth," simply spelled "sakar" in the Hebrew. It basically means "to pay wages."

But whom does this God reward?

Since all this paragraph, Proverbs 26:1-12, talks about the "fool," he is of course included. The noun is "kesiyl," one who is spiritually simple, a dullard regarding the things of God. A "know-it-all" who cannot be taught any further truth, especially about the key issues of life.

This man will get his just reward.

Again: "The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors."

Now let's look at the other people mentioned here, the "transgressors." This noun is "abar," that is "a crossing over the line." Violating God's standards, over-running His prohibitions ... and proud of it! Flaunting one's loud, brassy rebellion!

But maybe the key point of all this centers around the "linkage" between the two types of sinners.

The "fool" may well be on his way down the road of life ... himself becoming more and more a "transgressor."

A spiritual "ignoramus" on the verge of becoming a "reprobate" from the Truth of our loving God in Heaven!

Be careful!

This happens every day.

Paul warned us: "Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived." Second Timothy 3:13, where "wax" means "to become."

So fools become transgressors ... and no telling what else!

Turn to God today!

Throw yourself on His Mercy!

Ask Him, trust Him to save you!

And, as a result, foolishness will dissipate.

                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 11, VERSE 11:

Proverbs 26:11 is a distasteful verse, yet necessary to provide us a complete picture of the "fool" God has been describing.

"As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly." Short, but graphic, a powerful word picture.

"Folly," the pastime of this fool, is compared to "vomit." Both words need to be studied.

The first is spelled "ivveleth" in Hebrew and means "silliness or lightheartedness" in this sense, something that has been "twisted or perverted" from the original form in which God designed it. It's really related to one of the key Old Testament words for sin, "avon," which means "moral perversion."

"Vomit" is derived from a basic verb meaning "to spue" something. "To disgorge" a meal, for example.

The noun "dog" is "keleb," from a verb meaning "to yelp, to attack." These animals are considered unclean, filthy even, and are not held in high regard by the Jewish people. What they thought of "dogs" ... God apparently thinks of "fools!" They're in the same category!

The verb "returneth" as applied to the dogs here is "shub," to do a 180 degree turn! "About face!" To go back where one has been before! It's a participle here too, this "returning" happens again and again.

It's habitual. They cannot stop! They are addicted to their own ways, to their folly! This has become their way of life.

The verb "returneth" as it applies to the "fool" is a different word altogether. It's "shanah," only used 23 times in all the Bible. It means "to repeat" something. Actually "a second time." It's occasionally translated "again" and "doubled" in our King James Bibles.

So it appears that one of the main dangers of foolishness is that it's a lifestyle from which one does not easily escape! "As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly."

It gets a "hold" on a person's heart, his mind, his emotions, his actions and ways of life.

And only God can break such a vicious chain of behavior!

Beware!

                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

And the antidote to all this? The solution to these cycles of folly? The Wisdom of Almighty God! As it is revealed ultimately in the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour!

 

 

LESSON 12, VERSE 12:

Several times in this series of lessons the fact has surfaced that sin, if unconfessed and forsaken, becomes worse and worse.

Today's conclusion to Proverbs 26:1-12 continues that thought. It proves the truth once again.

"Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him." Again, this is Proverbs 26:12.

The verb "seest" uses "raah" in Hebrew. It means "to look at, to carefully inspect, to consider" as well. Notice the "fools" of this world, if you can do so in a demeaning way. Do not make them heroes!

The noun "man" is "iysh," a person in his "frailty, weakness," just as an ordinary human being.

The word "wise" is "chakam," related to the word that depicts God's very Wisdom! The Real thing! This foolish individual actually can come to the place he thinks he's as smart as God, as prudent as the Lord, as wise as the Almighty!

And the noun "conceit" is simply the noun Solomon knew for a one's "eyes." His, the fool's, own estimation of his abilities!

But then the last clause nearly confuses us. "There is more hope of a fool than of him."

But we've been talking about a "fool" all along, the whole time, twelve whole verses' worth.

Yet we're here taught that there are levels of "conceit" among fools. To begin with the fool is pretty much of a spiritual "smart-aleck." But the longer he or she persists in their "know-it-all" attitudes, the worse they become. Until finally they arrive at the ultimate, being super exceedingly "wise" in their own eyes! Wisdom, but really spiritual silliness, personified! Paul accurately described them in Romans 1:22. "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools."

Then they may be unreachable! Hopelessly reprobate! Nearly to the point of being "without hope."

But until then, obviously there is "hope" for the nascent fool, for the neophyte, for the younger "beginning" fool!

If you have a loved one or friend who exhibits many of the unwise traits described in our paragraph ... don't give up! Obey these Bible admonitions, heed these Proverbs 26:1-12 warnings ... and God just might thereby give your "target" enough wisdom to escape the world of folly!

At least that's what it looks like to me.

Thank God, there is hope! "Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him."

Amen.

               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

CONCLUSION:

For nearly two weeks we have been studying a paragraph in the Old Testament Book of Proverbs. Our Text has been Proverbs 26:1-12. All these Lessons have been saved here on the Website for your future enjoyment and learning.

Basically, this entire block of Scripture concerns a man whom God often calls the "fool." He's one of the main characters in Proverbs, juxtaposed against the "wise" man.

Yesterday while Deb and I were driving home from a Revival Meeting in a distant State, ten hours on the road, I learned something about the number of short, ancient, God-inspired "sayings" in Proverbs. There are 930 of them, according to one textbook anyway.

And today I'd like to suggest that we Christians are dreadfully ignorant of most of them, most of the Proverbs.

Oh yes, we know Proverbs 1:7. "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction."

And we also are familiar with Proverbs 3:5-6. "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."

And then without the reference: "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." By the way, it's Proverbs 22:6.

But most of us know few more!

Yet that leaves 927 other worthy nuggets of truth to learn! Remember that one single verse can contain two or more little sayings.

Today, as we end our Series about the fool, let's determine to study the Book of Proverbs more than ever!

It will pay handsome spiritual dividends!

                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

Lord grant us Thy precious Wisdom!

 

 

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