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Fools and Sluggards

There are five kinds of Fools and Sluggards to avoid. It is wise to know our own weaknesses; so it can be especially helpful to beware that we don't become, or behave like any of these fools or sluggards! At the same time, be on guard when you recognize them in others.

King Solomon, in the book of Proverbs, gives us a primer on fools and sluggards. The original five words in their language were all translated into "fool" in English, which gives us the extra work to study their separate meanings. But that's where we will gain insights;

1. Pethiy (petth-EE) - just a simple fool, open and gullible. - doesn't know better.

2. eviyl (ev-EEL) - silly fool, thick or stupid, insolent and twisted - doesn't want to learn a better way.

3. Keciyl (kess-EEL) - a sensual fool, obstinate, lustful, glories in what he should be ashamed of - or wallows in muddy ignorance.

4. Luwts (Loots) - a scorning fool, has disdain and contempt for authorities, embraces what is abhorant to God - is a fool with "attitude."

5. Nabal (Naw-BAWL) - a steadfast fool, stupid/wicked, despises holiness, self-confident, and closed-minded - beyond all hope of change.

Proverbs 26 has a dozen illustrations and examples of these. Can you tell which type each fool is?

1. Like snow in summer or rain in harvest, honor is not fitting for a fool.

2. Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest.

3. A whip for the horse, a halter for the donkey, and a rod for the backs of fools.

4. Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.

5. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.

6. Like cutting off one's feet or drinking violence is the sending of a message by the hand of a fool.

7. Like a lame man's legs that hang limp is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.

8. Like tying a stone in a sling is the giving of honour to a fool.

9. Like a thorn-bush in a drunkard's hand is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.

10. Like an archer who wounds at random is he who hires a fool or any passer-by.

11. As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.

12. Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

There are more descriptions of fools and sluggards in other parts of Proverbs, and even other books of the Bible. This should show though, that a fool, no matter which of the five types - is unreliable, embarrassing, and a great disappointment to those who expect some common sense and right actions.

It seems that the first type, (pethiy) which may appear mostly in children, is the only one that can be remedied by teaching the right away and disciplining the wrong actions and choices. This kind of fool is merely ignorant, or simple, uneducated.

The second type (eviyl) may be the teenager or young adult. Some of their wrong actions may be credited to ignorance, but often they are deliberately choosing to do stupid things, because peers are leading them into their foolish deeds and attitudes.

If they should reach the third type (kesiyl), they become proud of their wicked deeds and ways, and brag on them. These fools convince themselves that they are clever and do no wrong. Everyone else is off-track. You cannot reason with this type of fool, or only in rare moments when their conscience surfaces.

You have even less hope of persuading the fourth type (Luwts, pronounced LOOTS) to turn to wisdom. This fool has become a scorning fool, with disdain and contempt for all authorities, and embracing the things that are an abomination to God.

You have hit a brick wall when you meet up with the fifth type of fool - (Nabal). This is a steadfast fool, with a stupid, wicked mind and spirit. This one despises holiness. This fool is self-confident and closed-minded.

I like to think that as long as there is life there is hope that God can transform a life and turn them around from any and all evil, but I fear that this last kind of fool is one that has sold out his soul to Satan, and has fully committed to wicked ways. I think we'll all have trouble waiting for a miracle here.

The progression of sinful ways and how one leads to another gives us concern that we must reach the children before they go too far down the path to foolishness and rebellion.

Obviously, we do well to learn to discern what type of fools we are dealing with, so we know when we can still influence them, and when we may as well give up; let them go.

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Ruth Marlene Friesen

Ruth Marlene Friesen
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