Wisdom is too high for a fool;
in the gate he does not open his mouth.
Whoever plans to do evil
will be called a schemer.
The devising of folly is sin,
and the scoffer is an abomination to mankind.
If you faint in the day of adversity,
your strength is small.
Rescue those who are being taken away to death;
hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
If you say, “Behold, we did not know this”,
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it,
and will he not repay man according to his work?
Kidner takes '1 as indicating that 'issues of any gravity (cf 5, 6) quickly show up the trifler' and gives the verse the title 'a fool out of his element'. 7b can mean either (i) that he has nothing to say in the sense of contributing usefully to the situation, or (ii) that he will have nothing to say when he comes up for judgment ('gate' here refers to the place of judgments where the elders sat to pronounce on cases). In 8 and 9 the idea of plotting and scheming is prominent. Thoughts as well as words and deeds shall be judged when the secrets of men are laid bare. A contrast is intended between the wise in 3-6 and the foolish in 7-9 as if the writer were holding both up to our gaze bidding us take a good look at them and make a proper choice. We should notice the statement in 9b - the scoffer is an abomination to men as well as to God - this is a reminder that public opinion will in the end redress the balance and rule his behaviour out of court. We may link the message of 10-12 to what has gone before in 3ff: it is the wise man who proves to be strong, for wisdom makes for strength. This, we may say, is the whole point and purpose of a true biblical ministry - to create the kind of character that will stand in the evil day, and having done all, stands. This has been the salvation of the weak down the ages - their willingness and determination to expose themselves to the disciplines of the divine Word even if it breaks them in the process, in order to allow it to shape and fashion them into durable and stable characters that will not faint in the day of adversity (10) that will not allow them to excuse themselves from the acceptance of difficult and arduous stewardships in the gospel (11), or plead ignorance in face of them (12). Compare Jeremiah 12:5 for a similar emphasis.
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