The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about the fool. I found it helpful to determine just what Scripture means when it refers to a fool. I really don’t want to be one, and I do want to take Scripture to heart when it comes to dealing with fools.
There are three Hebrew words that are translated “fool.” There are subtle differences between them.
NABAL is the one that most of us have heard of even though it is the least used term for “fool.” You probably remember the man named Nabal. I think I would have changed my name if I were him. Although his actions showed it was an appropriate name for him. According to the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (TWOT), I paraphrase, the NABAL fool emphasized being ignoble and disgraceful, a downright boor of mean disposition. He is insensible to God and is morally insensible. He has a mind closed to reason.
The second most used term for fool is EWIL. The EWIL fool is thick-brained or stupid and morally deficient. He lacks sense and is generally corrupt. EWIL refers to moral insolence which refers to being insultingly contemptuous in speech or conduct: overbearing.
The most commonly used word for a fool is KESIL. The KESIL is the dull and obstinant one, referring not to mental deficiency, but to a propensity to make wrong choices.
Following are some instructions on how to relate to a KESIL fool.
Leave the presence of a fool,
for there you do not meet words of knowledge. – Proverbs 14:7
These people will not enhance your life experience. Instead of being friends who can build you up, they will tear you down. Do not hang out with a fool.
Let a man meet a she-bear robbed of her cubs
rather than a fool in his folly. – Proverbs 17:12
A fool who is acting foolishly is dangerous; it can do you damage to get caught up in their web of foolishness. If you were to find yourself confronted by a she-bear who had been robbed of her cubs, you would have no trouble understanding that you need to get away as fast as possible. Hanging with a fool is even more dangerous.
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
but only in expressing his opinion. – Proverbs 18:2
This is one way to identify the KESIL fool; he isn’t listening to a conversation to learn anything, he is merely waiting for the opportunity to express his own opinion. I have met many fools of this type over my many years and found them to be very off-putting.
Whoever sends a message by the hand of a fool
cuts off his own feet and drinks violence. – Proverbs 26:6
Who would purposely cut off his own feet? That would be very foolish behavior that would land one in a psych ward for observation due to harm to one’s self. Obviously, the point of the proverb is, don’t rely on a fool to accomplish a critical task. Again, stay away from a fool.
Like an archer who wounds everyone
is one who hires a passing fool or drunkard. – Proverbs 26:10
This one is comical. Can you picture a person given a bow and arrow who knows nothing about how to use them but shoots willy-nilly? The foolish archer would wound all those standing by. This reminds me of an Oliver and Hardy movie. That would be a picture of the outcome for an employer who hires a fool off the street.
The upshot of all these proverbs is to avoid interaction with a KESIL fool and definitely don’t rely on him. That sort of makes you a fool if you do since you are now making a wrong choice.
See how practical the wisdom of Proverbs is? We can see that one who practices this wisdom has an improved chance of success in their endeavors by not relying on a fool to help as an employee or associate of some kind.