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Proverbs 18:1-2

Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire [Waltke, seeks self-gratification]

He breaks out against all sound judgment

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding

But only in expressing his opinion

Garrett includes this Proverbs in a section which runs from 17:27-18:4, which he arranges in a chiasm:

    A:      The wise person’s restrained use of words (17:27)

      B:      A silent fool appears wise (17:28)

         C:      A schismatic person is irrational (18:1)

      B´:      A fool cannot remain silent (18:2)

           C´:      A base person is shameful (18:3)

    A´:      The wise person’s words are profound (18:4)

Duane A. Garrett, vol. 14, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, electronic ed., Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001), 163.

Human beings were not created for isolation, “It is not good that the man be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Gen.2:18).  Hebrews 10:24, which begins a pair of commands respecting mutual interaction within the congregation runs immediately into the most frightening of all warning passages in the book:

24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. 26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Hebrews 10:24–27 (ESV)

Throughout the book of Proverbs, wisdom is portrayed (in part) as an act of listening and learning: it requires another person to provide that wisdom, “Hear my son, your father’s instruction …” (Prov. 1:8):

15 An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge. Proverbs 18:15 (ESV

All true wisdom is rooted in a fear of Lord (Prov. 9:10) and derives ultimately from Christ (1 Cor. 1:30).

It is the entire congregation of believers that are called upon to exhort one-another daily (Heb. 3:13).

The fool, however, rejects wisdom and thinks that his own heart is the font of all true knowledge. The fool will “follow his heart”. The fool is the one who thinks his own subjective judgment is the ultimate source of all knowledge:

See also Prov 12:16, 23; 13:16. A fool by nature simply blurts out and reveals a lack of understanding. Again, heart and understanding are word pairs, but there is irony in v 2b: revealing what is in one’s heart, i.e., nothing. As always in the wisdom tradition, speech is the index of a person. The fool is the total opposite of the wise person described in v 15.

Rowland E. Murphy, vol. 22, Word Biblical Commentary : Proverbs, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2002), 135.

None of this is a blind credulism: one does not believe merely because one has been told.  Note carefully that wisdom is found only in hearing in the context of fearing the Lord. Test all things, as the Bereans did against the Scripture (Acts 17:11).

Indeed, the only truth which we have available to us to impart wisdom, comes from the Scripture:

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16–17 (ESV)

Thus, a counselor, minister, teacher is not merely encouraged but is commanded to impart the Scripture to others:

11 Command and teach these things. 12 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. 14 Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. 1 Timothy 4:11–16 (ESV)

It is on this basis that the one who will not listen is called a fool. A man is not a fool because he will not listen to you.  A fool is one who will not listen to God. He, in effect, says, “There is no God” (Ps. 14:1). If such a one comes for counseling, he is to be rejected:

9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. Titus 3:9–11 (ESV)