A Fool’s Heart
proverb speaks of a particular KIND of folly.
speaks of the kind of person who is not really interested in learning. He
is only interested in spouting off his own opinion.
- We’ve all
met folks like this. Perhaps on occasion we have even BEHAVED like this.
warns us that it is folly. If it IS part of our personal character, it
something that should be put away. It’s folly.
A fool hath no delight in understanding
- This is
the common word for fool in Proverbs.
- This term
is used 61 times in the OT. 49 times in Proverbs.
stupid fellow, dullard, simpleton, arrogant one
completely lacking understanding, implying to be a rebel against standard
are usually unable to deal with life in a successful, practical way
No Delight in Understanding
delight in, take pleasure in, desire, be pleased with
take pleasure in, be eager, i.e., have a fondness or affection for an
object or experience; desire for
i.e., capacity for discerning a right course of action; logic; reasoning;
states that this kind of fool takes no pleasure in understanding.
- He is
not fond of learning;
- He is
not eager to obtain true knowledge;
- Wisdom is
not the object of his inward affection;
- He is
not pleased with understanding.
- In this
kind of fool, there is no inner hunger for learning; no drive for wisdom;
no taste for reason;
- What a
man has no hunger for – he will not strive for.
because he does not strive for it – he will never obtain it.
17:16 – he
has no heart for it.
8:5 – they
need an understanding heart…
Lady Wisdom is pleading with such fools, “BE” of an
notices that they do NOT have an understanding heart and she wishes that
they did. She WANTS them to have an understanding heart… and she offers
them all the understanding they need to OBTAIN one.
sadly, she realizes that they do not have understanding.
REASON here is that these kind of fools do not respond to
her offers of wisdom.
gives us additional information as to WHY the fool does not have an
understanding heart: he has no DELIGHT in it.
doesn’t respond to the offers because he doesn’t LIKE it… he has no
hunger or taste for it.
- It is
somewhat like a man who visits the doctor and is told that he is in
danger of developing stomach cancer unless he eats lots of broccoli.
i. The broccoli is readily available.
It is offered to him – his wife cooks it and puts it on his plate.
ii. He desperately needs it. But he
won’t eat it because he doesn’t like the taste of it.
iii. That is folly. He will suffer
greatly from that folly too, yet his broccoli remains on his plate.
- That is
the kind of folly Solomon describes here.
i. This fool desperately NEEDS an
ii. It is available. It is constantly
put before him.
iii. People plead with him to take it in…
iv. But he has no delight in
understanding… and leaves it on his plate.
v. As a result, he will suffer greatly
throughout life because of this folly.
- If he
would just take in a little, he might be able to develop a taste for it…
he might even discover that it’s not so bad after all. But he refuses.
But that his heart may discover itself.
man, mind, will, heart, understanding
spirit, self, i.e., the source of life of the inner person
self or being; personality
- This term
here speaks of the inner thoughts, desire, and emotions; what is
going on INSIDE a man…
goes on inside a man is not seen or heard by others unless it is
people stand around in a group conversing and one person remains silent,
you don’t really know what he’s thinking… what he’s feeling… what his
17:28 – if
that person is a fool and keeps quiet, you might even assume that he is
i. He might be esteemed to be a man of
understanding – even though he isn’t.
ii. But all that is contingent upon one
thing: keeping his mouth shut!
iii. If he holds his peace, he is counted
iv. That is so because others cannot
READ his mind; you cannot tell what he is thinking or feeling simply by
v. What transpires on the inside is
hidden from outside observers… UNTIL he opens his mouth.
vi. Solomon’s point in this proverb is
that if this fool would just keep his mouth shut, he would be far better off!
vii. As soon as he opens his mouth, the
cat is out of the bag – everyone knows he is a fool.
uncover oneself; to discover or show oneself; to reveal himself.
- To open
up; reveal; make known;
expose; to lay bare;
20:18 - Used
often in the OT of “not discovering the nakedness of a person”
- But here
is not used of discovering or exposing a person’s body or outward man…
but rather, a discovering or exposing of his INNER man.
- BUT --- Solomon’s point: this kind
of fool has no DELIGHT in learning.
here’s what he DOES delight in: exposing his OWN inner thoughts and
delights in discovering – exposing – laying bare – revealing – making
known his own personal thoughts and ideas…
delights in telling others his own views & opinions, but he does not
delight in learning FROM others.
29:11 – A
fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in
i. He loves to speak his mind… and tell
others what his thoughts or views are (no matter how bizarre)…
ii. Now keep in mind, this fool does not
POSSESS understanding… so when he spouts off his own opinion – it is usually a
- But he has no taste for
learning from others who POSSESS knowledge.
1:19 - He
behaves the opposite of what James recommends: “Wherefore, my beloved
brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak…”
i. This man is slow to hear and swift
to speak… He is a fool.
ii. Slow to hear – he won’t listen to
others and learn. He has no appetite for it.
iii. But, he delights in exposing all the
foolish thoughts that rattle around in his head… whatever he feels about a
subject… whatever he thinks – regardless of how foolish his view might be.
commentator summarized the folly of this fool this way: He has a “closed
mind” and “open mouth.”
- Now if
he would just keep his mouth shut, we might think him to be wise and
- But he
CAN’T keep his mouth shut. He DELIGHTS in discovering to others – in
exposing his inner thoughts…
- And as
soon as he speaks, all such thoughts of him being wise dissipate.
is an interesting term.
- It may
have been used in order to have a double meaning… an
implied innuendo… a term pregnant in meaning… purposely ambiguous.
- On the
one hand, he “reveals” the thoughts of his inner man to others by telling
them what’s on his mind.
- On the
other hand, he “exposes the folly in his heart.”
something is DISCOVERED and opened up to public sight – it either reveals
something wonderful OR it exposes something awful!
- In other
words, he thinks that by revealing his thoughts he is revealing to others
how WISE he is… thinking that others will be dazzled by his
- When in
reality, he is actually exposing to others how FOOLISH he
- When he
speaks, instead of displaying his wisdom, he exposes his folly and
sadly points out that those who have the least amount of wisdom and
understanding are often the ones who delight in voicing their views.
- There is
an element of PRIDE in all this.
- The fool
is not only foolish, but proud.
makes his folly even more dangerous…because he THINKS his
foolish thoughts are wise… worth sharing.
- In fact,
he thinks his opinions and views are superior to others… that’s WHY he
reveals them – as if they were precious gems.
- But in
revealing them, he exposes how foolish he is.
- Pride is
at the heart of this problem.
- His own
thoughts and views are all important to this fool.
- Pride prevents
him from learning when Lady Wisdom cries out. (I don’t need that!
What can she teach me that I don’t already know?!)
- Pride causes
his to spout off his own opinions… thinking he is dazzling the
crowd with his wisdom.
- The kind
of wisdom and folly about which Solomon writes is not so much a matter of
one’s IQ – although the intellect is involved. It is really a matter of