Written in January 2008
Sixty-three times, the Bible talks about “the fool” or “a fool.” What an eye opening topical study! Why would God concentrate so much on this teaching? We will let the Word speak for itself because the Word has all the answers to every question under the sun. (Ecc 1:9b) …and there is no new thing under the sun. I thought it would be interesting to see what defines a fool.
1. The fool is a sinner:The first time the phrase “the fool” is used in the Bible is in (1 Sam 26:21) Then said Saul, I have sinned: return, my son David: for I will no more do thee harm, because my soul was precious in thine eyes this day: behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly. The word is defined clearly here. There is no mistakening that the fool is a sinner who does harm to others and makes mistakes to a very great degree. This is not my interpretation but that of Noah Webster. Noah defines exceedingly as:
To a very great degree; in a degree beyond what is usual; greatly; very much.
2. The fool says there’s no God:
(Psa 14:1) [To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.] The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
(Psa 53:1) [To the chief Musician upon Mahalath, Maschil, A Psalm of David.] The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.
3. The fool troubles his own house:
(Pro 11:29) He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.
4. The fool loves evil:
(Pro 14:16) A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.
5. The fool will receive his due:
(Pro 26:3) A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool’s back.
(Pro 26:10) The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors.
6. The fool walks in darkness:
(Ecc 2:14) The wise man’s eyes are in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness: and I myself perceived also that one event happeneth to them all.
7. The fool is lazy and will destroy himself and his household:
(Ecc 4:5) The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh.
8. The fool does not recognize nor understand that God is in creation:
(Psa 92:6) A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand this.
9. The fool is easily captured by fleshly lusts and desires, i.e. adultery, prostitution:
(Pro 7:22) He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks;
10. The fool is a liar and a slanderer:
(Pro 10:18 ) He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.
11. The fool does mischief:
(Pro 10:23) It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.
Noah Webster definse mischief as:
Harm; hurt; injury; damage; evil, whether intended or not.
12. The fool thinks he’s O.K. and doesn’t listen to wise counsel:
(Pro 12:15) The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.
13. The fool has a hot temper:
(Pro 12:16) A fool’s wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame.
(Pro 18:6) A fool’s lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes.
(Pro 18:7) A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.
(Pro 27:3) A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool’s wrath is heavier than them both.
14. The fool spreads his foolish talk and actions to all in his path:
(Pro 13:16) Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open his folly.
(Pro 17:7) Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince.
(Pro 29:11) A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.
(Ecc 10:3) Yea also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool.
(Ecc 10:12) The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.
15. The fool hates his instruction:
(Pro 15:5) A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.
(Pro 17:10) A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.
16. The fool does not seek to find wisdom with his money because he does not desire it:
(Pro 17:16) Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it?
17. Parents have no joy in having a fool for a child:
(Pro 17:21) He that begetteth a fool doeth it to his sorrow: and the father of a fool hath no joy.
18. The fool has no wisdom and he is searching all over for fulfillment:
(Pro 17:24) Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.
(Pro 18:2) A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.
19. The fool is stubborn:
(Pro 19:1) Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool. Noah Webster definse “perverse” as:
2. Obstinate in the wrong; disposed to be contrary; stubborn; untractable
20. The fool does not take delight in spiritual matters:
(Pro 19:10) Delight is not seemly for a fool; much less for a servant to have rule over princes. John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible states:
they do not know how to make a right use of their prosperity; nor to moderate their enjoyments, pleasures, and delights. Some understand this of spiritual delight in the Lord; in his ways and ordinances, which wicked men are strangers to: and a very uncomely thing it is for such persons to talk of spiritual joy and delight, and of their communion with God, when they live in sin;
(Pro 23:9) Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.
(Pro 24:7) Wisdom is too high for a fool: he openeth not his mouth in the gate.
21. The fool repeatedly goes back to his old ways:
(Pro 26:11) As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.
22. The fool thinks he’s on the right path:
(Pro 26:12) Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.
(Pro 28:26) He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
23. The fool does not change after chastisement:
(Pro 27:22) Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him.
24. The fool speaks before he thinks:
(Pro 29:20) Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.
(Ecc 5:3) For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.
25. The fool is at a loss when making decisions of importance:
(Ecc 10:2) A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left.