A Wise Proverb
“For a foolish one true wisdom is too high; in the gate he will not open his mouth,” said Solomon in Proverbs 24:7.
How perceptive an instruction this brief proverb is! For the foolish man, true wisdom is too high, as if beyond his reach. He is unwilling to put forth the effort to attain it. An alternative rendering of the original Hebrew is that “wisdom is as corals.” Among the ancients attractive, ornamental coral was costly. It could be said that for the foolish one true wisdom is too expensive. He is not willing to pay the price of the exertion or to make the sacrifices needed to acquire it.
In ancient Israel the older men of wisdom gathered at the city gate to render judgments over disputes and to offer counsel. That was no place for the foolish one to speak up. He would not even be found there seeking wise advice. Rather than opening his mouth in the gate, he would be elsewhere spouting his foolish chatter.
By graphically stating the facts about the “foolish one,” Solomon helps us to appreciate the true value of wisdom.