The Man of Wisdom Will Not Dispute a Fool

The opposite of wisdom is folly, foolishness or being a fool. A young man came to me recently wanting my blessing for what he was doing, that at best didn’t look good. He was spending long hours every day with a young lady in her apartment without a third party. They both&n … More


 The fool“ is mentioned several times in these verses. Fools are those who mock and make fun of sin and refuse to heed the voice of  wisdom. Just as snow in summer and rain at harvest are destructive so will putting a fool in a position of honor be injurious to those who follow him (v. 1). A curse you don’t deserve will take wings and fly away like a sparrow or a swallow (v. 2). Since the fool will not be ruled by persuasion or by reason, a rod is required to bring his rebellious ambitions into line. He is just like a horse or a mule that needs a bridle and a whip to control him (v. 3). The reason that many young people rebel today is because they have not had the rod when they needed it.

We should never answer a fool in the same scoffing and egotistical spirit that he manifests and thus be drawn down to his level (v. 4). On the other hand to allow a foolish statement to go unchallenged without rebuttal will only strengthen him in his self-assurance and conceit (v. 5). The man of wisdom will not dispute with a fool, but will simply answer him with decisive statements that will challenge his statements and expose his shallowness.

A fool cannot be trusted with a message. To send a message with him is like cutting off the feet (v.6). It is as if the sender tried to take it himself by walking the distance without his feet (v. 7). Also it is as senseless to honor a fool as it would be to tie a stone to a sling and then try to throw it (v. 8). A thornbush waved in the hand of a drunkard is no worse than a proverb in the mouth of a fool (v. 9).


Because a person has a lot of education does not mean that he is not a fool. Wisdom is what I should be seeking.

Proverbs 26:1-9 (English Standard Version)

Like snow in summer or rain in harvest, so honor is not fitting for a fool. Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying, a curse that is causeless does not alight. A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the back of fools. Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes. Whoever sends a message by the hand of a fool cuts off his own feet and drinks violence. Like a lame man's legs, which hang useless, is a proverb in the mouth of fools. Like one who binds the stone in the sling is one who gives honor to a fool. Like a thorn that goes up into the hand of a drunkard is a proverb in the mouth of fools.

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