Proverbs 26:8-9 – To promote, entrust and praise a fool is reckless

How to handle a foolWe continue a study of seven parables about the fool that we began in Proverbs 26:6-7. Proverbs 26:6 underscored the folly of entrusting a fool with the responsibility of serving as your messenger and failing to account the damage and heartache he will cause. Proverbs 26:7 reminded us that a lame man cannot hide his limp any more than a fool his moral stupidity.

Two parables concerning the fool is the focus of our devotional today. Proverbs 26:8 states an absurdity meant to parallel another absurdity regarding the fool.

Proverbs 26:8“As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honour to a fool.”

The “sling” mentioned in verse 8 is an ancient sling used by shepherds to protect their sheep from predators. As a shepherd, David perfected his use of the sling and when he heard Goliath defying God and the armies of Israel, he used that same sling to slay the Philistine giant.Boy-with-sling

Slings hurl a stone to its intended mark; the idea of someone binding a stone in a sling is not only folly, it renders the sling and stone useless.  Solomon draws a contrast with the absurdity of binding a stone in a sling  with giving “honour to a fool” (26:8b).  To promote, entrust and praise a fool is not only reckless; it is injurious to the institution that promoted him.

Proverbs 26:9“As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools.”

The effect of alcohol is that it numbs a man’s soul, desensitizes his flesh and clouds his understanding. A drunkard lacks the wit and discernment to know he has been injured…a thorn pierces his hand, but he is insensitive to the pain and damage he has done to himself. So is a parable of truth “in the mouth of fools”—he cannot understand or explain its meaning. A wise man treasures a proverb, but a fool cares little for it.

Two summary thoughts:

1)   Give a fool a position of honor and trust and he will invariably bring shame upon his family, friends and the institution he represents.

2)   Like a drunk insensitive to an injury, a fool places no value on a parable of truth.