Like an archer who wounds everyone
is one who hires a passing fool or drunkard.
Biblically, a fool is not a stupid person or even a person of modest intelligence. Even a very smart person can be a fool! A fool is the one who says in his heart that there is no God. To be a fool is not an intellectual defect but a moral defect. So, the writer of Proverbs uses a number of comparisons to paint a picture of those with this particular moral flaw. The fool, when he speaks a proverb, is like a lame man’s leg or a thorn in the hand of a drunkard. The message is: Do not be a fool.
The writer of Proverbs, however, is not only concerned with warning a person not to be a fool. The writer of Proverbs is also concerned to warn people who might have dealings with fools. This passage looks at the person who hires a fool or a drunkard to work for him. He is like an archer with terrible aim, who wounds everyone around him rather than hitting his target. Perhaps this bowman is missing his target because he is reckless–one who entrusts his business to a fool is acting recklessly. Perhaps this archer is missing his target and hitting other people because he simply lacks skill – one who entrusts his business to a fool is one who lacks skill. Skill and wisdom are conjoined in the Bible. Wisdom is the skill of living. Therefore, one who entrusts his business to a fool is a fool himself.
How are the people of God to protect themselves from the fool and his arrows? Consider this:
Put on the full armor of God including the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one and his foolish minions. Our protection against folly and the fool is faith in the One who is not only wise, but Wisdom himself. The One whose aim is true, the One who never misses the mark – He is the One who will protect us from the fool and from being fools.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Dan Kunkle. © 2023 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org