Proverbs 24:7
Wisdom is too high for a fool: he openeth not his mouth in the gate.
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(7) Wisdom is too high for a fool.—For “wisdom” (literally, wisdoms), comp. note on Proverbs 1:20. He has been too self-willed to learn; so while others express their opinions when the business or justice of his city is being transacted (see above on Proverbs 22:22) he has to remain sheepishly silent.

Proverbs 24:7. Wisdom is too high for a fool — For a wicked man, whose sins enfeeble his mind, and make it incapable of wisdom. Or, he judges it too difficult for him to understand: he despairs of attaining it, because he will not put away his sins, and be at the trouble of using the means necessary in order to that end: as, on the contrary, wisdom is said to be easy to him that understandeth, Proverbs 14:6, because he seriously gives his mind to it, and therefore easily and certainly attains it. He openeth not his mouth in the gate — He knows not how to speak acceptably in the public assembly.

24:1,2 Envy not sinners. And let not a desire ever come into thy mind, Oh that I could shake off restraints! 3-6. Piety and prudence in outward affairs, both go together to complete a wise man. By knowledge the soul is filled with the graces and comforts of the spirit, those precious and pleasant riches. The spirit is strengthened for the spiritual work and the spiritual warfare, by true wisdom. 7-9. A weak man thinks wisdom is too high for him, therefore he will take no pains for it. It is bad to do evil, but worse to devise it. Even the first risings of sin in the heart are sin, and must be repented of. Those that strive to make others hateful, make themselves so. 10. Under troubles we are apt to despair of relief. But be of good courage, and God shall strengthen thy heart. 11,12. If a man know that his neighbour is in danger by any unjust proceeding, he is bound to do all in his power to deliver him. And what is it to suffer immortal souls to perish, when our persuasions and example may be the means of preventing it? 13,14. We are quickened to the study of wisdom by considering both the pleasure and the profit of it. All men relish things that are sweet to the palate; but many have no relish for the things that are sweet to the purified soul, and that make us wise unto salvation. 15,16. The sincere soul falls as a traveller may do, by stumbling at some stone in his path; but gets up, and goes on his way with more care and speed. This is rather to be understood of falls into affliction, than falls into actual sin.In the gate - Compare the Proverbs 22:22 note. 7. (Compare Pr 14:16).

in the gate—(Compare Pr 22:22).

Wisdom is too high for a fool; either,

1. Really, it is above his reach or capacity. Or,

2. In his opinion; he judgeth it too hard for him, he despairs of attaining it, he pretends the impossibility of it, because he will not put himself to the charge or trouble of getting it; as, on the contrary, wisdom is said to be easy to him that understandeth, Proverbs 14:6, because he seriously giveth his mind to it, and therefore easily and certainly attains to it.

For a fool; for a wilful fool, or a wicked man, whose lusts enfeeble and darken his mind, and make it incapable of wisdom.

He openeth not his mouth in the gate; either,

1. He can say nothing for himself when he is accused before the magistrate, for which he gives frequent occasion. Or,

2. He knows not how to speak acceptably and profitably in the public assembly among wise men.

Wisdom is too high for a fool,.... It is out of his reach, he cannot attain it; natural wisdom, or the knowledge of many things in nature; at least it seems so to himself, and therefore will not take any pains, or make use of any means, to obtain it; as the knowledge of human laws; of medicine, of philosophy, of languages, or of any of the liberal arts and sciences; or he has not really a capacity for it. This is more especially true of spiritual wisdom, or of the knowledge of divine things in a spiritual way; or of the things Of the Spirit of God, which a natural man cannot know, because they are spiritually discerned; it is God only makes men to know this kind of wisdom in the hidden part, 1 Corinthians 2:14; for as a "fool" here denotes a wicked man, let his natural parts be what they will; so wisdom spiritual knowledge, and experience of divine things, which is too high for an unregenerate man to reach; see a like phrase in Psalm 139:6;

he openeth not his mouth in the gate; he is not qualified far it; and if he has any knowledge of himself, he will not venture to speak in a public assembly, in the house of parliament, in a court of judicature, or in the company of men of knowledge and sense; and indeed it is his highest wisdom to keep silence, and not betray his ignorance: and so with regard to spiritual things; a man that wisdom is too high for, and he has no share of it, shall not or ought not to open his mouth where Wisdom cries; even in the gates of the cities, or in the public assemblies of the saints, Proverbs 1:21.

Wisdom is too high for a fool: he openeth not his mouth in the {a} gate.

(a) In the place where wisdom should be shown.

7. too high] Lit. (unattainable) heights. The same Heb. word is rendered coral, Job 28:18; Ezekiel 27:16; so that we might render here an unattainable treasure, or a gem beyond his reach.

openeth not his mouth, &c.] Contrast Job 29:7-10; Job 29:21-25.

Verses 7-10. - Some distichs now follow, concerned with wisdom and its opposite. Verse 7. - Wisdom is too high for a fool. It is beyond his reach, he cannot follow its lead, and has nothing to say when his counsel is asked, and no ability to judge of any question presented to him. "Wisdom" (chochmoth) is in the plural number, intimating the various attributes connoted by it, or the different aspects in which it may be regarded (see note on Proverbs 1:20). "Too high" (ראמות, ramoth) is also plural; and Delitzsch and Nowack take it to mean, not so much "high things" as "precious things," such as pearls or precious stones, in accordance with Job 28:18, "No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal; yea,. the price of wisdom is above rubies." In this sense Delitzsch translates, "Wisdom seems to the fool to be an ornamental commodity," a costly and unnecessary appendage, which is not worth the sacrifices entailed by its pursuit. Whichever way we take it, the point is the rarity and inaccessibility of wisdom, and the repugnance of fools to make any exertion in order to obtain it. St. Augustine thus sums up the steps by which wisdom is reached: fear of God, piety, knowledge, fortitude, mercifulness, sincerity ('De Doctr. Christ.,' 2:7). He openeth not him month in the gate. When men gather in the usual place of assembly (Proverbs 8:3; Proverbs 22:2), to take counsel on public matters, he has nothing to say; he listens fatuously, and is silent. Septuagint, "Wisdom and good thought are in the gates of the wise; the wise turn not aside from the mouth of the Lord, but reason in assemblies." Proverbs 24:7Till now in this appendix we have found only two distichs (vid., vol. i. p. 17); now several of them follow. From this, that wisdom is a power which accomplishes great things, it follows that it is of high value, though to the fool it appears all too costly.

7 Wisdom seems to the fool to be an ornamental commodity;

   He openeth not his mouth in the gate.

Most interpreters take ראמות for רמות (written as at 1 Chronicles 6:58; cf. Zechariah 14:10; ראשׁ, Proverbs 10:4; קאם, Hosea 10:14), and translate, as Jerome and Luther: "Wisdom is to the fool too high;" the way to wisdom is to him too long and too steep, the price too costly, and not to be afforded. Certainly this thought does not lie far distant from what the poet would say; but why does he say חכמות, and not חכמה? This חכמות is not a numerical plur., so as to be translated with the Venet.: μετέωροι τῷ ἄφρονι αἱ ἐπιστῆμαι; it is a plur., as Psalm 49:4 shows; but, as is evident from the personification and the construction, Proverbs 1:20, one inwardly multiplying and heightening, which is related to חכמה as science or the contents of knowledge is to knowledge. That this plur. comes here into view as in chap. 1-9 (vid., vol. i. p. 34), is definitely accounted for in these chapters by the circumstance that wisdom was to be designated, which is the mediatrix of all wisdom; here, to be designated in intentional symphony with ראמות, whose plur. ending th shall be for that very reason, however, inalienable. Thus ראמות will be the name of a costly foreign bijouterie, which is mentioned in the Book of Job, where the unfathomableness and inestimableness of wisdom is celebrated; vid., Job 27:18, where we have recorded what we had to say at the time regarding this word. But what is now the meaning of the saying that wisdom is to the fool a pearl or precious coral? Jol Bril explains: "The fool uses the sciences like a precious stone, only for ornament, but he knows not how to utter a word publicly," This is to be rejected, because ראמות is not so usual a trinket or ornament as to serve as an expression of this thought. The third of the comparison lies in the rarity, costliness, unattainableness; the fool despises wisdom, because the expenditure of strength and the sacrifices of all kinds which are necessary to put one into the possession of wisdom deter him from it (Rashi). This is also the sense which the expression has when ראמות equals רמות; and probably for the sake of this double meaning the poet chose just this word, and not פנינים, גבישׁ, or any other name, for articles of ornament (Hitzig). The Syr. has incorrectly interpreted this play upon words: sapientia abjecta stulto; and the Targumist: the fool grumbles (מתרעם) against wisdom.

(Note: This explanation is more correct than Levy's: he lifts himself up (boasts) with wisdom.)

He may also find the grapes to be sour because they hang too high for him; here it is only said that wisdom remains at a distance from him because he cannot soar up to its attainment; for that very reason he does not open his mouth in the gate, where the council and the representatives of the people have their seats: he has not the knowledge necessary for being associated in counselling, and thus must keep silent; and this is indeed the most prudent thing he can do.

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