Trying to Teach a Fool is Useless

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When invited to a banquet, hosted by someone who is of a higher station in life, a person  needs to exercise self-restraint and  remember  where  he is (vv. 1-3). A ruler-host may seem to be friendly and try to “butter up” with a nice meal but in reality  he may be planning to later take advantage of his guest. There are many warnings in Scripture about making the accumulation of wealth the object of a persons’ life. These verses do not speak against being industrious but against making money the primary goal of your life (vv. 4-5). Restraint is needed, especially in the present day when materialism drives many people to excessive work loads in order to accumulate more money.

A stingy host who entertains solely for the purpose of gaining a good personal relationship with others is pictured in (vv. 6-8). He will seek to take advantage of those who eat at his table by putting them under obligation to him. Ultimately, you will be sorry you ever partook of his food and will even wish that you could vomit it up.

Trying to teach a stubborn fool is useless (v. 9). It is a waste of time to try to teach someone who has no desire for wisdom. It is better to spend our time teaching those who really want to learn. To steal land from a neighbor by moving his boundary stone is bad but to take things from fatherless children is worse  yet (vv. 10-11). The Lord opposes all who mistreat and steal from fatherless children.


I need to be very careful about my motive in developing personal relationships with others. Is it for personal gain or to honestly be a help and encouragement to the other person?

Proverbs 23:1-11 (English Standard Version)

When you sit down to eat with a ruler, observe carefully what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to appetite. Do not desire his delicacies, for they are deceptive food. Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven. Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy; do not desire his delicacies, for he is like one who is inwardly calculating. "Eat and drink!" he says to you, but his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the morsels that you have eaten, and waste your pleasant words. Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the good sense of your words. Do not move an ancient landmark or enter the fields of the fatherless, for their Redeemer is strong; he will plead their cause against you.

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