Proverbs 29:11 says, “A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.”  As with the few preceding chapters, this chapter in Proverbs is full of one sentence bits of wisdom.  There is indeed great and needed wisdom in each one, and the contents of every proverb makes it clear that these are not just the words of Solomon but of Him who is perfect in knowledge.  These are pure words from the Lord that cannot and should not be argued or cast aside.  Each proverb in the entire book is a jewel to be meditated upon and acted upon.

The proverb before us may have a little bit of a different message than what we get from the King James Version.  The word ‘mind’ is from the Hebrew word ‘ruwach’ which can be properly translated ‘anger.’  Let’s look at this verse from the New American Standard Version.  It says, “A fool always loses his temper, But a wise man holds it back.”  Another translation says, “A fool vents all of his anger…”  This proverb is about uncontrolled anger or wrath.  It’s the foolish person that will not hold in his anger, but will lash out and vent.  There is a time to be silent, and a time to speak out, but the fool has no discernment about this.  No matter who he may hurt, no matter who he may embarrass, no matter who may be stumbled or offended by his harsh words, the fool will say what is on him mind.  The fool will disregard the wisdom of James 1:20, “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”

The second part of this proverb gives the character of one who is wise, “…but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.”  A wise man exercises discernment when angered.  Instead of lashing out, he realizes the sad consequences of that.  We read later in Proverbs 18:19, “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.”  A wise man is not so concerned about proving himself right, or making his offender look bad.  His desire is not to offend so that he might minister to his offender.

Are you wise?  Job asked the question a long time ago.  He asked in Job 28:12, “But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding?”  He then goes on to list the many places where wisdom cannot be found.  He then says in verse 23, “God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof.”  Our Lord is the source of all true wisdom.  Would you like to be wise, or have more wisdom?  It is easy to get.  Just ask the Lord for it.  James 1:5 says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”  While knowledge is gained through much study, wisdom is gained simply by realizing that the Lord is the source of all wisdom and by asking Him to give you His wisdom.  Proverbs 8:33 tells us to, “Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.”  There is no reason for us to not be wise.  Only pride will keep us from asking the Lord for it.  (210.6)