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Knowledge of the Wise Contrasted with the Words of the Fool
Proverbs 10:14 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
14 Wise men store up knowledge,
but the mouth of a fool brings ruin near.
Wise men store up knowledge: Wise men (חֲכָמִים chakamim) are ones who are skillful, clever, shrewd, and experienced, with the capacity for understanding and discernment, who are to be trusted to guide and advise.
The Hebrew (יִצְפְּנוּ־דָעַת yitsephenu-daath) rendered store up knowledge here, lay up knowledge by others has the sense of keeping or laying aside knowledge for future use, implying great value. In other words, the wise man lays up or stores up what he knows is to be said for the right time, place, and person (Cp. Matt. 7:6), as compared to the foolish. On the other hand, the foolish man always has something to say that has no importance or value to anyone and will lead to his destruction and those who listen to him. Knowledge (דַּעַת daath) is the possession of information learned by personal experience, observation, or study. The Bible strongly urges us to seek and treasure accurate knowledge, as it is far superior to all else that one could ever acquire. Throughout the book of Proverbs, we are regularly urged to store up knowledge, to gain knowledge, which shows us the importance of knowledge.
but the mouth of a fool brings ruin near: The Hebrew word rendered mouth (פֶּה peh) has the sense of one who is babbling here, namely the words of a foolish person, which is in stark contrast to the knowledge of wise men. The wise men from line one hold onto their knowledge, storing it up, saving it for when it is very much needed, while the mouth, i.e., words, of the fool is freely given to the point of nausea, which ends in ruin. Fools (כְּסִיל kesil) hate knowledge as they lack good judgment. Their character is stupidity, and rudeness, that is, one who completely lacks understanding, and who is rebellious in his ways. (Prov. 1:22) Foolishness: (אִוֶּלֶת ivveleth) of the foolish one, who has the trait of acting stupidly or rashly because he is devoid of wisdom or understanding, the Hebrew noun focusing on the evil behaviors which occur in this state. (Prov. 5:23) Ruin (מְחִתָּה mechittah) is a state of devastation and destruction to one’s health and peace that is heading toward or in and out of a life of hardship in despair and disgrace, that seems to always be present.
Proverbs 10:14 encourages us to fill our minds with the upbuilding knowledge of God. There is but one source, which the apostle Paul pointed us to when he wrote, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be fully competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) We must see the knowledge of God for the treasure that it is, and digs deeper into the Word of God.
The wise man will do what is right in the eyes of God, and his impact on others is felt wherever he is. His example of possessing much spiritual food in the way of a well-chosen Christian library is to be followed. He is a man of great integrity, and he feels secure in his walk with God, as he knows that has the approval of God. May we, too, seek knowledge as though it were a hidden treasure and seek righteousness by conforming our lives to the knowledge that we discover, helping us determine God’s standards of good and bad.