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Marks of Godly Living

Proverbs 10:1-14

Verse 1 says that a wise son will bring a disposition of joy and rejoicing to a father but a fool will cause the mother to go through the stress of the emotional sadness of grief. The comparison does not mean that the father never grieves or that the mother never rejoices. The meaning of the Hebrew terms along with the context teach that the behavior of the children strongly effect the mental, emotional, and spiritual life of the parents. What kind of child is it that can bring such heartache to those who love it the most? Lets look a little closer to find the answer.

In the Old Testament there are three Hebrew terms that are translated by the English word “fool.” Kesil, Ewil (moral insolence) and Nabal (the boorish man of mean disposition). Kesil is the most common of the three. Except for three occurrences in Psalms it is found only in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. It means one who is dull and obstinate. Kesil is the opposite of wisdom. It speaks of a way of life that is enticing to the immature but can lead to destruction and ruin.

The context in which this is used in Proverbs 10:1 indicates that the person is a “kesil” by choice from than by genetic defect. Kesil speaks of one who has a propensity to make wrong choices. He has no interest in the patient search for godliness. He seems to think that he can purchase what he needs when he desires (“Why does a fool offer the sage a fee, when he has no mind to learn?” 17:16). He will never accept the fact that he is mistaken in his choice of priorities or his focus for life. No one can seem to convince him that he is his own enemy. (“A rebuke enters deeper into a discerning man than a hundred stripes into a fool.”).

As I mentioned earlier the problem is not because of genetic mental defect. He may be the most intelligent person on the face of the earth while at the same time being the greatest fool. The problem is more basic. The problem is spiritual in nature. The fools most problem is that he has founded his life on the wrong premise. As a result this has led him to the wrong conclusion. In the beginning he has rejected the fear of the Lord (Prov 1:29) and now is far from experiencing the love of God. The word kesil suggests both stupidity and stubbornness. In turn, both of these terms describe the “folly” of rejecting God. (Tyndale OT Commentaries, Proverbs) (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament)

Dr. Gayle Woods

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