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Dispensing Knowledge Is Like Scattering Seed
Proverbs 15:7 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
7 The lips of the wise spread knowledge;
but not so the hearts of fools.
The lips of the wise spread knowledge. This is a repeat of what was conveyed in Proverbs 15:2, “The tongue of the wise commends knowledge.” The lips of the wise is a figurative expression that means the instruction, training, or teaching of the wise or the words of the wise. Spread renders a verb (זָרָה zarah) that generally means to “scatter” in a negative sense. Sharing knowledge is like scattering seeds. Only here in the Old Testament is it used figuratively. However, the sense of spread is to speak, spread, that is, use word of mouth to proclaim a truth, figuratively speaking, the spreading of knowledge like the scattering of seed.
But not so the hearts of fools. Here, fools are contrasted with the wise from line 1. The Hebrew (לֹא־כֵן lo-ken) rendered not so refers back to the spreading of knowledge from line 1. Fools: (כְּסִיל kesil) hate knowledge as they lack good judgment. Their character is stupidity and rudeness, that is, one who completely lacks understanding and is rebellious in his ways. – Prov. 1:7, 22.
In Old Testament times, the farmer did not sow his seed in just one place. Instead, he would scatter his seeds throughout the entire field. This is the figurative idea of dispensing, scattering or spreading knowledge. For example, if a Christian is commenting on a post on social media, it would not be wise to dump all of his knowledge on the Bible subject or question in one response. The same holds true if we meet someone in our community and start discussing the Bible. We want to avoid unloading all that we know at one time. He needs to be disciplined in what he says. He needs to scatter his knowledge proportionally as he focuses on the most important points that can be built on later. He also must consider how the listener is responding. The spreading of knowledge involves being instructive, and the information has to be beneficial.
It takes thinking to use the right words that enlighten and encourage. Thus, “the heart of the righteous ponders how to answer.” (Proverbs 15:28) One’s words need to be like a soothing rain that soaks (inspires) the ground and feeds the minds of others, not like an unwanted, undesirable storm that explodes a flood and wipes away all in its path!