Daily Wisdom

Meditations on the Book of Proverbs

1 A wise son heeds his father’s instruction,

   but a mocker does not respond to rebukes.

2 From the fruit of their lips people enjoy good things,

   but the unfaithful have an appetite for violence.


 Today’s insight begins with a contrast between the wise son and the mocker. This is especially relevant today, as mockery prevails from entertainment to politics and everywhere in between. The mocker has the ability to ignore things he doesn’t want to hear, simply by ridiculing the source. This saves him from the difficulty of thinking and from the burden of responsibility. It is much easier to burn down a house than to build one. But when the mocker’s work is complete, like the arsonist, he has little to show for his efforts.

 “From the fruit of their lips people enjoy good things, but the unfaithful have an appetite for violence.” The first verse was about listening, and this one is about speaking. Those who are faithful to the truth avoid the bondage of dishonesty. More importantly, they are able to enjoy the fruit of their truthfulness. Good things gotten dishonestly tend to be bitter.

 The unfaithful expect others to be as deceitful as they are, which twists their appetites. Would you rather something good happen to you, or something bad to someone you don’t like? The deceitful person sees these two things as one and the same. Like the mocker he seeks to benefit from the destruction of others, not realizing that he destroys himself in the process.

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