Week 99: Proverbs Part 8
So for the purpose of analysis we will rearrange the proverbs and consider particular themes.
The wise man
In Proverbs a number of synonyms are used to describe wisdom: ‘prudence’, ‘sensible’, ‘judicious’, ‘appropriate’, ‘careful to avoid undesirable consequences’. A wise man is contrasted with the fool, who is reckless, rash, careless and wasteful.
A wise man is able to discern between good and evil, and he knows how to respond to and deal with a situation. He is discreet and realistic, with power to make plans. He makes the most out of life.
The wise are open to correction and reproof, keen to turn away from their own independence and self-reliance towards the light of God’s truth. Instead of fearing men, they fear God. The wise man values truth at any price, whether about himself, others or God.
There are over 70 proverbs about what a fool is like. A fool (always male) is described as ignorant, obstinate, arrogant, perverted, boring, aimless, inexperienced, irresponsible, gullible, careless, complacent, insolent, flippant, sullen, boorish, argumentative. He wants everything on a plate; he doesn’t think for himself; he prefers fantasy to fact, illusions to truth. At best he is disturbing; at worst he is dangerous. He is a sorrow to his parents, yet he despises them as old-fashioned.
There are two particular fools in this fools’ gallery. One is the scoffer, the debunker who is cynical and critical of everybody but himself. The other is the sluggard, the lazy man who is hinged to his bed. He is described as throwing his life down the drain.