“The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall.”
Instead of starting with the first part of this proverb, let us look at the last. What is a “prating fool,” anyway?
Different translations render the Hebrew word saphah, which could simply mean “lip,” as “babbling” (NLT, ESV) and “chattering” (NIV). However, the Authorized Version, along with the NKJV, RSV, and the ASV choose to use the word “prating.” To prate is to go on and on about something, even when others really don’t care to hear what you’re saying.
Have you ever known a know-it-all who thinks he knows everything about everything, yet in reality knows very little about anything? Instead of a know-it-all, he’s a know-it-not.
The wise in heart will admit he needs instruction. The wise in heart will be humble enough to receive commandments. The prating fool will fall because when instruction is given it won’t be heard – the fool won’t quit talking!
Know It’s Us
How often are we the prating fools? How often does our pride get in the way of instruction? How often do we miss key information because we go on and on and on about what we think we know?
Not long ago my wife, Valerie, an accountant, was talking to someone about taxes. As my wife was trying to explain what needed to be done to file this persons taxes properly and save money (not to mention be legal), the customer/friend kept going on and on (prating) about what they did last year. Finally, out of frustration, Valerie said, “If you would just shut your mouth and listen to me…!”
There’s probably a little fool in all of us, don’t you think? Let’s just make sure we carry around an extra sock to stuff in his mouth – we may need to learn something.