A wise person knows that he is responsible to God for all his words and actions (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). Because he respects God, that person is careful and sensible. That fact is clear from the wise personís words, which are full of kindness and goodness.
But the words of a foolish person have a completely different character. Ecclesiastes 10:12 uses a strange and terrible word-picture: the foolís own mouth eats him up. In other words, the words from his own mouth are like a wild animal that attacks him fiercely. The foolish things that he says ruin his own life. They are the cause of his troubles. They are the reason for his punishment.
In the Bible, a fool means someone who refuses to respect God. Such a person cares only to satisfy his own desires. When he begins to speak, his words may only express his silly thoughts. Such words are without any real meaning. But as he continues to speak, his true character becomes clear. And in the end, his words are completely wicked.
The foolish person adds more foolish words as he prepares his evil plans for the future. But he knows nothing about the future! In the future, God will be his judge. And that will be the end of all those wicked plans.
A fool does not work as other people do. His work is to say and to do evil things. But those efforts still make him tired. In Ecclesiastes 10:15, he seems even more tired than the honest workman. After all his hard work, the honest man still manages to get back to his home in the town. But this fool does not. Perhaps he has become a drunk (see Ecclesiastes 10:16-17). He will have to sleep outside the town. His foolish desires have ruined his life.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.