This group of proverbs warn about the danger of making quick, surface responses. There are those who are quick to sound off, to give their opinion, to let others know what they think and feel, everything is brimming up close to the surface.
Examples of this type of person include those who are unloving and unfriendly. They are unconcerned about others and lash out against good sense (v1). They don’t want to hear what others know or think, they lack interest and curiosity (v2). Instead, they get quickly into arguments and fights. They deserve everything they get (v6). The fool is quick to speak, they forget the modern warning that “loose lips cost ships.” They get themselves into trouble (v7). They enjoy gossip and rumours.
In contrast, there’s a depth to wisdom (v4). The wise are slower to speak and more concerned with listening and learning because they desire justice (v5). So, they take time to weigh up evidence because they are concerned for truth (v17). There’s satisfaction found in hearing wisdom. It’s worth waiting for because it comes out of love and it brings the help we need (v20). Wisdom is linked to loyalty, hence relationships matter. The wise son will seek a good wife (v22). Whilst a foolish friend causes hurt and harm, a true friend’s loyalty mean they are closer than blood relations (v24).
Of course, the true and loyal friend who satisfies is God. He is the one we should cling to and so Solomon compares the refuge that God offers to that of a strong tower, a fortress impenetrable to attack (v10). This strong defence is contrasted with the wealth of rich but foolish men. They think that acquiring wealth will act as security (v11). However, whilst money can buy access (v16), it cannot buy true love, loyalty and security.
Once again, we are reminded that true wisdom is about sticking close to God, clinging to Christ. In a shallow and shaky world, Christ is the sure foundation upon whom we should build our lives.