10:13-14 — On the lips of him who has understanding, wisdom is found, but a rod is for the back of him who lacks sense. The wise lay up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool brings ruin near.
One’s lips convey one’s wit or the lack thereof. As Lawson says, “Wisdom seals not up, but governs the mouth, and dictates to it useful words.” (Lawson) The wise also “lays up knowledge” — that is, he accumulates wisdom for future use. He has a storehouse of knowledge out of which he speaks. “By reading the Bible, by meditating, by hearing sermons, by conversation, by observation and experience, by prayer, by faith in Christ, who is made of God unto us wisdom. And when they have found it, they take care not to lose it, but lay it up in their memories and hearts, where it is kept to be used by themselves, and communicated to others.” (Lawson)
On the other hand, the one who lacks “heart” (ble(-rs;x]) or “character “ (since the “heart” is the center of what a man is), that is, the “fool” will suffer the fruit of his words and ways. “While wisdom helps those who have it avoid some of life’s pitfalls, the folly of those who lack heart will lead to pain.” (Longman) In ancient culture, rods were used to punish — “A bridle was necessary to govern asses when men rode on them; a rod is equally necessary for fools.” (Lawson). The one who lacks sense will bring trouble on himself. His mouth is a time bomb and it will bring personal ruin. “The mouth of the fools, like that of an adulteress, is always at hand, just around the corner, ready to explode…” (Waltke) Longman says that “there is also a contrast here between the storing up of wisdom and the spewing out of folly. The wise person tends to use words sparingly, while the fool babbles on and on.” (Longman)
Most of us have not reaped the fruits of our folly; God has been longsuffering with us. James says, “For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.” (3:2) Our words reveal our hearts, whether spoken carefully or carelessly. All of us have something to be ashamed in this matter. Let us be slow to speak and lay up knowledge!