Something’s Wrong with This Picture
1. This proverb does not make a contrast or a comparison as many other proverbs do.
2. It is not really a contrast between wisdom and folly or between diligence and laziness. Nor is it a warning against bad behavior.
3. Here Solomon simply mentions an occurrence that he has evidently seen often enough for him to include it as a proverb: something that doesn’t seem quite right.
4. We have a saying that pretty well sums up the approach Solomon takes in this proverb: “something is wrong with this picture.”
5. Well Solomon also saw similar “pictures” in his day… and something was wrong with that picture.
1. Delight defined
a. Strong’s: daintiness; luxury; exquisite delight; comfort, pleasantness.
b. Dictionary of Biblical Languages: Living in luxury, i.e., a state of relative comfort and enjoyment.
c. Zodhiates: Delight, a pleasure. It refers to pleasure surrounding a carefree life of luxury.
d. Putting all the various connotations together, it speaks of a delightful life of luxury and pleasure.
2. Fool defined:
a. Strong’s: Fool, stupid fellow, dullard, simpleton.
b. Theological Workbook of the Old Testament: The dull or obstinate one, referring not to mental deficiency, but to a propensity to make wrong choices.
c. This is the opposite of a wise man.
3. Solomon observed men and women who were FOOLS delighting themselves in the lap of luxury.
a. Solomon observed stupid men with great wealth living in luxurious homes… living the good life.
b. He observed simpletons who had a propensity to make poor choices in life… yet they had more money than they knew what to do with.
c. Remember that Solomon was a king. He traveled in royal circles and rubbed elbows with the nobles of the land.
d. For the most part, kings do not become kings because of their brains… or because of their great achievements in life… nor because of demonstrated wisdom.
• They become kings because their daddy was the king.
• They became king because they were firstborn son. However, being firstborn does not guarantee wisdom… or even common sense.
• Very often princes—the sons of kings—were spoiled brats who never had to lift a finger their whole lives.
• Not always, but often, they were foolish young men.
• They had the greatest advantages on earth to grow, mature, and learn.
• But some of them figured, “Why should I study history, economics, or business. I’m going to be king! Why should I bother?”
e. This was not true of kings only. It was also often true of the sons born into noble families.
• The wealth, power, and prominence of noble families is passed on to their children…
• It is not passed on to the wisest, best educated, or most talented people in the land.
• It was passed on to whoever happens to be born in that noble family.
• And those sons were not always wise people. Some of them were foolish… arrogant… proud… self centered… lazy…
f. Too often for his liking, Solomon observed FOOLS living in wealth and in the lap of luxury.
• Obviously, they did not obtain the wealth or power through their own achievements, hard work, or wisdom.
• They usually obtained it all through inheritance.
• They just happened to be born into a prominent family… the nobility or royals.
4. That was unseemly to Solomon.
a. Seemly defined:
• Fitting, suited, i.e., pertaining to what is proper and appropriate to a situation.
b. Solomon’s point here is that it is not fitting that such a man should be in possession of such wealth… especially if he doesn’t have the wisdom to use it wisely.
c. Prov. 20:21 – An inheritance is obtained all at once… suddenly…
• The wealth of an inheritance was not earned by the one inheriting it.
• No blood, sweat, and tears went into accumulating it.
• In fact, no wisdom was involved either.
• Very often, because it was obtained so easily, its value is not appreciated.
• Therefore, inheritances are often wasted in riotous or foolish living.
• Solomon observed foolish sons wasting the inheritance of their fathers.
• He saw fools living it up in the lap of luxury… and blowing away that accumulated wealth foolishly.
• That is what Solomon here refers to as “unseemly.”
d. It seems that it would be so much more appropriate for a wise man to inherit that wealth and prominence. He would use it so much better.
e. It seems appropriate for a wise man to have wealth… a man who wisely earned it… and wisely uses it.
f. It is inappropriate for a fool… but it happens all the time.
g. Prov. 1:26 – “The prosperity of fools shall destroy them!”
• Prosperity is not even good for a fool.
• It will be his ruin… because he does not know how to handle it.
• Wealth can be deadly and dangerous for those not accustomed to handling it.
• Consider the lives of 18-year-old athletes from the ghetto who become millionaire superstars overnight!
• Consider the miserable lives of lottery winners!
5. There are thousands of extravagantly wealthy families in America.
a. That money is passed on from generation to generation.
b. And those who inherit it are often quite foolish.
c. Solomon saw the way they lived, and noted that “there is something wrong with this picture.”
d. Wealth has never been distributed in a fair, sensible, or wise manner.
e. It is distributed randomly and inappropriately in many cases.
f. That was true in Solomon’s day and in ours.
6. Many Hollywood celebrities qualify for Solomon’s definition of a fool.
a. Folly in Proverbs speaks of a lack of fear of the Lord… a lack of spiritual understanding… a lack of good morals.
b. Hollywood and the rest of the entertainment world are full of foolish people living in the lap of luxury…
c. Sometimes they are there only because of good looks… not because of wisdom… or education… or hard labor.
d. It seems so inappropriate that they possess such power, prominence, and wealth… yet they do.
e. People look up to them as heroes.
f. Prov. 26:1 – “Honor is not seemly for a fool.” It is inappropriate. It shouldn’t be that way… but it happens all too often.
g. It seems even more inappropriate to me when foolish, immoral people begin pontificating to the rest of the country on how we should live… who we should vote for… or what constitutes a moral lifestyle… or what a family is… foreign policy…
h. Look at all the wealth, power, prominence, and prestige athletes, rock stars, and movie stars have in America.
i. And they have such great influence in the media… and in the minds of many people…
j. There’s something wrong with this picture.
1. There is something else that Solomon noted that fits into the same category of “unseemly”—when servants rule over princes.
a. In this proverb, it is likely that Solomon meant a foolish servant.
b. Ecc. 10:7 – Solomon observed this. This is based on reality… on real life situations Solomon saw first hand. It happens!
c. Prov. 30:31-32 – it is unsettling because it is so inappropriate.
2. It is unseemly for servants to be in positions of leadership.
a. This implies a servant with a servant’s training.
b. Solomon is not addressing this situation from a class warfare angle. (Trying to keep the lowly servants in their lowly place.)
c. Rather, he is speaking about a servant with a servant’s background… with no training or experience in leadership.
d. It is inappropriate to take a servant… (who was usually uneducated, untrained, unskilled, lacking knowledge of history, politics, economics)… and to put him in charge of a country.
e. Foolish servants put in position of power become tyrants.
3. You want someone in charge who has some training and experience… someone who KNOWS what he’s doing.
a. This situation is unseemly in all kinds of situations…
b. In a country, a business, a church, a mission board, a school, any organization…
c. Solomon recognizes that that is not always how it is. Something’s wrong with this picture.