"A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards."
“A fool uttereth all his mind:”
As we expect, the fool has no problem telling others what he thinks. He is always ready to explode his thoughts on any and all who will listen to him. And it is not just good things that he feels free to share. His problem is that he has no control over his tongue. If he thinks it, he says it!
“Mind – The Hebrew word is used sometimes for ‘mind’ or ‘reason,’ sometimes for ‘passion,’ or ‘wrath,’” (Barnes).
“mind — or, ‘spirit,’ for anger or any ill passion which the righteous restrain.”
Anything that gets caught in his craw, or any angry thing that bugs him, he blurts out, not caring who gets spattered with his seething lava.
“A fool’s wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame,” (Proverbs 12:16).
“The ‘fool’ cannot restrain his wrath; it rushes on ‘presently,’” (Barnes).
“But a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.”
The opposite of the fool, a wise man “keepeth it in” until later. The Hebrew word translated “keepeth it in” means, “to soothe, still, stroke.” The idea is that the wise man holds on to his thoughts. In Psalm 65, David used the same Hebrew word.
“Which stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people,” (Psalm 65:7).
It is the word “stilleth.” As God “stilleth the noise of the seas” the wise man puts a muzzle on his thoughts until they are needed and useful.
Rather than being a Mount Pinatubo with his wrath, the wise man “rules his spirit.”
“He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city,” (Proverbs 16:32).
The wise man is “slow to speak.”
1. Albert Barnes, Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, the electronic version in eSword.
2. Jamison, Fausset, and Brown. Jamison-Fausset-Brown’s Commentary, the electronic version in eSword.
3. Barnes, ibid.