One of the main topics of Proverbs is the foolish contrasted with the wise. While in English there is one word to describe a fool, in Proverbs, five separate Hebrew words are used, which describes a progression of foolishness from simple to depraved.
third: the complacent fool
Strong’s H3684 keciyl, a concrete noun meaning, “foolish complacency,” from Strong’s H3688 כסלkacal, a primitive root meaning, “to be fleshy, fat, or inert.” The ancient pictographs are kaph + sin + lamed.
kaph כ, ך = the open palm, thus bend, open, allow, tame
sin ס = the thorn, thus grab, hate, protect
lamed ל = the shepherd’s staff, thus teach, yoke, to, bind
The parable the pictographs are telling is of covering (kaph) which protects (sin) the staff (lamed), or male reproductive organ; i.e. loins, according to the Ancient Hebrew Lexicon, thus, fleshly, fat, or inert, as when the flesh covers a man’s loins.
The idea of complacency comes from the loins acting as the seat or root of confidence; first, as deriving self-worth and self-aggrandizement from the flesh, and second, as a metaphor for fleshly or worldly strength. The over-confidence thus generated leads to complacency, laziness, or inertness.
For the turning away of the simple will slay them, and the complacency of fools H3684 will destroy them. Pro 1:32
A wise man fears and departs from evil, but a fool H3684 rages and is self-confident. Pro 14:16
Complacent fools are so sure of their strength in their endeavors, that they become lazy and inert in their over-confidence. As a result of this over-confidence and an inassailable belief in his superiority, he can’t bear to keep his opinions to himself:
A fool H3684 has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart. Pro 18:2
A fool H3684 utters all his mind: but a wise man keeps it in till afterwards. Pro 29:11
He is deceived, but is certain he is right, and is quick to enter into arguments:
The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way, but the folly of fools H3684 is deceit. Pro 14:8
A fool’s H3684 lips enter into contention, and his mouth calls for blows. Pro 18:6
But like the proud fool, he hates to be corrected or shown to be mistaken, and lashes out at those who dare to do so:
Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, H3684 for he will despise the wisdom of your words. Pro 23:9
Be not hasty in your spirit to be angry: for anger rests in the heart of fools. H3684
He believes he is above moral absolutes, spreads slander, and squanders wealth:
A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul, but it is an abomination to fools H3684 to depart from evil. Pro 13:19
Whoever hides hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool. H3684 Pro 10:18
There is desirable treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish H3684 man squanders it. Pro 21:20
More than any other fool, Proverbs is full of sayings about the complacent fool’s parents:
A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish H3684 son is the grief of his mother. Pro 10:1
A foolish H3684 son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her who bore him. Pro 17:25
So how is this fool turned from his foolishness, so that he may live?
Rebuke is more effective for a wise man than a hundred blows on a fool. H3684 Pro 17:10
Judgments are prepared for scoffers, and beatings for the backs of fools. H3684 Pro 19:29
A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the fool’s H3684 back. Pro 26:3
Blows on the back were a common form of court-ordered punishment in the ancient world. It would be the equivalent of a jail sentence in our modern society. But truth be told, the rate of recidivism can be high:
As a dog returns to his own vomit, so a fool H3684 repeats his folly. Pro 26:11
If he does not turn, he is in danger of progressing to the next and worse level of foolishness.
To be continued …