The lips of a fool

The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious,

but the lips of a fool shall swallow him up.

Ecclesiastes 10:12

Medieval royal courts employed a jester, or fool, to entertain the monarch

These courtiers used tricks, jokes, and songs or recitations making fun of those in high position.

Because no one took the fool seriously, his words and actions were allowed

to slip past the court censors.

In the book of Proverbs, the fool had a moral, not a comic, dimension.

The fool is used more than thirty times in Proverbs as the opposite of the wise man or woman.

But the wise man fears God,

the fool did not.

the fool was the epitome of a person who was “right in his own eyes”

Proverbs 12:15

he was a person who failed to learn from experience.

Eventually, most people learn that barbs, sarcasm, arguments, put-downs,

and distasteful humor are not acceptable.

They get the message and change their speech.

But a fool doesn’t learn.

The fool continues sowing seeds of speech that produce a harvest of destruction:

“The lips of a fool shall swallow him up.”

Lord help us be wise and gracious in our speech.

Keep us from being consumed by the errors of a foolish tongue.

Show us how The heart is the metal of the bell, the tongue but is the clapper.

Adapted from George Swinnock

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