|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
23:1-3 God's restraints of the appetite only say, Do thyself no harm. 4,5. Be not of those that will be rich. The things of this world are not happiness and a portion for a soul; those that hold them ever so fast, cannot hold them always, cannot hold them long. 6-8. Do not make thyself burdensome to any, especially those not sincere. When we are called by God to his feast, and to let our souls delight themselves, Isa 25:6; 55:2, we may safely partake of the Bread of life. 9. It is our duty to take all fit occasions to speak of Divine things; but if what a wise man says will not be heard, let him hold his peace. 10,11. The fatherless are taken under God's special protection. He is their Redeemer, who will take their part; and he is mighty, almighty.
Verse 9. - Here is another case in which "sweet words" are lost. Speak not in the ears of a fool. This does not mean, as it would in our English phrase - whisper not to a fool; but do not take the trouble to try to make him understand, impart nothing to him. The "fool" here (kesil) is the dull, stolid, stupid man. who cannot be moved from his own narrow groove (see on Proverbs 1:22). It is a mere casting of pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6) to speak to such a man of high aims, righteous motives, self-sacrifice (comp. Proverbs 9:8). He will despise the wisdom of thy words. He cannot enter into the meaning of words of wisdom; he has no appetite for them, he cannot assimilate them; and in his self-satisfied dulness he feels for them nothing but contempt (Ecclus. 22:7, etc., "Whoso teacheth a fool is as one that glueth a potsherd together, and as he that waketh one from a sound sleep. He that telleth a tale to a fool speaketh to one in a slumber: whey he hath told his tale, he will say, What is the matter?")
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Speak not in the ears of a fool,.... For it is only beating the air, and speaking to the wind; it is casting pearls before swine, and that which is holy to dogs. By the "fool" is meant a wicked man, one abandoned to sin, and hardened in it; that scoffs at all admonitions and reproofs, that derides the word, and the preachers of it, and makes a mock at all good men, and everything they say; and therefore what is serious and sacred should not be said to them, since it only becomes the object of their banter and ridicule;
for he will despise the wisdom of thy words; not only the words of doctrine, reproof, and correction, but the "wisdom" of them; or let them be ever so wisely spoken; for if the wisdom of God and his words, the truths of the Gospel, are foolishness with such, and despised by them, then much more the wisdom even of the best of men, and the wisest things they say; yea, when they deliver the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, the Gospel of Christ, which therefore should be spoken among them that are perfect, 1 Corinthians 1:24.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
9. (Compare Pr 9:8). "Cast not your pearls before swine" (Mt 7:6).
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