Wise Saying #9:
“Don’t waste your breath on fools, for they will despise the wisest advice.” (23:9 NLT)
Every person has some foolishness in them, but a fool is overcome by it. He has his own ideas and he is confident of them. He would rather talk than listen because he is past the point of learning; in fact he despises learning. So, he does what he wants regardless of instruction or warning. Therefore, the Wiseman warns us to not waste our time lecturing fools on wise living. Furthermore, if you do correct him, he will only hatefully twist your words against you (cf. 9:7-8). So today, save yourself some heartache by heeding these wise words and leave the fool to wallow in the mire of his own foolishness[i]. Remembering the words of our Lord, “Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you” (Matthew 7:6 NLT)
This week’s theme: The Thirty Sayings of the Wiseman
[i] No doubt this verse should be compared to Proverbs 26:5, “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes” (ESV). Therefore, today’s proverb then is calling for a reasoned response to the fool. While he may be rebuked, one should not waste their time teaching the stubbornly unresponsive. Perhaps Titus 3:10-11 can provide a helpful guideline, “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned” (ESV).