Out of the Mouths of Fools

The fool loves to talk, loves to hear himself speak, loves to share his opinion. Solomon said as much in Ecclesiastes 10:14 (part of a larger paragraph on what comes out of the fool’s mouth which I preached about yesterday).

A fool multiplies words, though no man knows what is to be, and who can tell him what will be after him?

I hate to love this verse. It’s so accurate, so common, and so upsetting. The fool is verbose, meaning he’s most happy when his mouth is open. A fool multiplies words. He doesn’t just add them, he multiplies. This isn’t the first time in Ecclesiastes Solomon addressed bloviation.

Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. (5:2)

The more words, the more vanity, and what is the advantage to man? (6:11)

The fool’s mouth pours out folly. In particular he delights to declare his convictions on things he has no clue about, though no man knows what is to be, and who can tell him what will be after him? Who can predict a man’s future or what will happen on earth after his death? The obvious answer is “No one.” Wise people listen and know their limits; fools babble. They go on as know-it-alls.

Some of the most wordy people are also some of the most arrogant. They’ve so convinced themselves that they know the answers, that they have true knowledge, and no one can convince them otherwise. Yet they have no understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

Ecclesiastes 10:14 is aimed specifically at future-tellers, at those who talk big even though they have no information and no way to get that information. But the application spills over onto all sorts of issues. For example, it fires me up and tires me out reading blogs (or comments on blogs) by people with little to no understanding and little to no humility. They write or talk like the world’s been waiting for them to arrive with the answer. But multiplied words don’t prove their argument, they demonstrate their arrogance.

Out of the mouth of fools come arrogant verbosity. At times like these my mom and Solomon agree: watch your mouth.