“A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating.  A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul.”

Proverbs 18:6-7

These two verses parallel each other, which is seen in the chiasm “lips, mouth, mouth, lips”.  The general principle is clear.  One of the primary ways a fool is brought down is through his speech.  Bruce Waltke says, “In starting his quarrel he intends to damage others, but in doing so it boomerangs against him.” The fool is a person who runs his mouth for a variety of reasons, but in the end the always come back to haunt him, sometimes right in the kisser!  Another commentator writes, “The effect of his speech is always to alienate himself from public sympathy and to attract feelings of hostility.”  This proverb helps us to understand that usually the fool’s speech not only causes strife in his relationships, putting distance between him and everyone else, but that this distance simultaneously closes due to inflaming animosity toward himself.  These “unexamined words, hasty counsel, uninvited information, unwise promises and other drivel bring about his own ruin.”

But verse 7 escalates the warning beyond the scope of this world.  The fool not only brings harm upon himself because of his mouth, but his speech finally brings him to eternal ruin.  His words entrap his soul, even unto death.  The unguarded tongue can bring down an entire life… even the soul.  Proverbs 18:20-21 says, “From the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”

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