To grasp the application of Solomon’s instruction to his son in Proverbs 24:7, we must put its interpretation into its historical context.
In America’s judicial system, the accused’s peers are his judge in civil matters, chosen through a jury selection process. With the jury seated and instructed by a judge who presides over the court proceedings, the prosecution presents its case against the defendant. A rebuttal by the defense follows with the burden of the verdict resting upon the jury [I could go into a litany of disappointments concerning my view of our court system that is, in my opinion, weighted for the criminal and corrupted by lawyers and judges who lack integrity; however, that would be an unnecessary diversion from our study].
In Solomon’s day, the city gate was both a place of commerce and adjudication in legal matters and disputes. City elders sat at the gate of the city and listened to disputes and passed judgment in civil matters. Admired for their wisdom and integrity, a king would appoint the elders as his representatives. They were responsible for settling the majority of disputes and only the most important matters reached the king. With that background, let’s examine today’s proverb.
Proverbs 24:7 – “Wisdom is too high for a fool: he openeth not his mouth in the gate.”
Notice that wisdom is beyond a fool’s comprehension for he places no value upon wisdom and spiritual discernment. He has no business weighing judicial matters. He is unteachable and too arrogant to consider a differing opinion from his own.
For that reason, a fool has no business speaking in judicial matters and is advised to be silent when his own fate is weighed, less his words exasperate the judge and provoke an unfavorable judgment.