9 If a wise person goes to court with a fool,
the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace.
10 The bloodthirsty hate a person of integrity
and seek to kill the upright.
11 Fools give full vent to their rage,
but the wise bring calm in the end.
If you must take on a fool, it is wise to prepare yourself for how he will respond. This is not such a difficult thing to do, as the fool uses only two tactics: rage and scoffing. In rage he will attack your character, play the victim, and use threats to get his way. In scoffing he will use mockery to delegitimize you, attempt to dismiss your claims, and appeal to absurdity. The one thing he will not do is argue the case on its merits. Regardless of what happens there will be no peace between you, as the fool is keen to hold grudges and fantasize his revenge.
“The bloodthirsty hate a person of integrity and seek to kill the upright.” There are two reasons the wicked hate the upright. First, the upright are a living rebuke to the ways they have chosen, and their success proves the wicked to be wrong. Second, the upright are the only restraint to the desires of the wicked. If not for them, who would maintain order? Yet if not for the wicked, what would keep the upright sharp?
“Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.” The fool is not in control of his anger, instead it controls him. He does nothing to prepare for it, so it easily overwhelms him. The wise – by contrast – regularly exercise restraint, and are able to control their anger when it comes. Anger is not a bad thing in itself, as the Lord himself demonstrates, but like a fire it can be extremely dangerous when out of control. Though the wise may be angry, they act with the end in mind. The angry fool is caught up in the moment, be careful that you don’t get burned!