In the lips of him that has understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.
I. AN INTELLECTUAL CONTRAST. — The difference existing between men in relation to the amount of knowledge is of vast variety. The disparity arises from a difference in mental constitution, and in educational opportunities. The intelligent man —
1. Communicates wisdom. When he speaks men are enlightened, their minds are set to think, and their spirits are refreshed.
2. Accumulates wisdom. It is a characteristic of knowledge in the mind that with its increase there is an increase both in the mind's desire for larger intelligence, and in its capacity for it. Of the man void of understanding Solomon says two things. There is a "rod for his back," and "his mouth is near destruction." He is the subject of coercion; he has not intelligence enough to be swayed by argument. Hence his language is so mischievous, he babbles and blabs so recklessly, meddling, perhaps, with other men's concerns, that he brings ruin on himself, his mouth is always near destruction.
II. A SOCIAL CONTRAST. Social differences among men are as great as the mental. The rich man's confidence is in his "strong city." But he cannot shut out disease, bereavement, death, or care. The tendency of wealth is to dispose its possessors to trust to safety where no safety is.
III. A MORAL CONTRAST. According to the constitution of things righteous labour tends to life, bodily, mental, and spiritual. Sin is here put in contrast with life, and it is the true antithesis. Sin is death, the death of the true, the divine, and the happy.
Parallel VersesKJV: In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.