Who protects whom?

TODAY’S PROVERB: In the mouth of a fool is a rod for his back, but the lips of the wise protect them. Proverbs 14:3, TLV

For a long time I wrestled back and forth with the meaning of this verse. Especially the second part: “. , , but the lips of the wise protect them.” Who is “them?”

On the one hand, it seems to imply that fools will say things that get themselves into trouble. While the wise people will protect themselves because, well, they are wise and won’t say anything foolish.

On the other hand, the verse seems to imply that a wise person can diffuse the ignorant’s foolishness. By speaking up — or over them. The goal being to protect them from their own foolishness.

My question for many years was, “Which is right?” I finally came to the conclusion that sometimes they’re both correct. It just depends upon the circumstances.

Sometimes the foolish soul needs to deal with the repercussions of their words. Other times, their true ignorance of a matter causes them to miscommunicate. This is especially true with an immature brother and sister in Messiah.

“Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of the powerless and not just please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, for building him up. For even Messiah did not please Himself, but as it is written, ‘The insults of those who insulted You have fallen on Me.’ For whatever was written before was written for our instruction, so that through patience and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”


“. . . so that through patience and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” I like that. And that feels a lot like discipleship. Which feels a lot like what we’ll need to do for those new believers who have foolishness — behaviors and words.

Hmm. So, whether we are to prayerfully observe the foolish soul’s behavior, or we speak on their behalf, it sure sounds like our Heavenly Father doesn’t want us just turning a blind eye.

What do you think? Is there only one right interpretation to this verse?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, my friends.

Proverbs 14:3 Tree of Life Version – TLV, #tlvbible#tlvproverbs

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