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Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 26:6


Proverbs 26:6

"He cuts off his own feet and drinks violence who sends a message by the hand of a fool"

This proverb does not carry the power in English as it does in Hebrew. One could call this proverb the dangers of delegation. This proverb is about delegating – to a fool – an assignment whether this is in the home, in business, in government, or any of the matters you get involved in. One must be careful to delegate to those who are not fools at heart.

The word message does not convey in our language the whole of the idea in this proverb. It would be better to see it as assignment. The owner or authority or leader wants a particular thing done. It is crucial that one not give that assignment to the fool or they will be injuring themselves.

he cuts off his own feet

The first thought in the proverb is that one cuts off their feet. Keil and Delitsch suggest that this means the same as breaking the neck in our culture. The assignment will not be accomplished.

and drinks violence

This means that one injures himself in the process of having an assignment handed to a person who thinks selfishly. For the assignment will surely not be accomplished and worst, in the trying, there will usually be some injury to the reputation or client.

If a person is extremely self-absorbed and rebellious, then they should not be hired. They should also not be counted on to accomplish a crucial task delegated to them.

Remember the lesson of the proverb. Selfish, impulsive, and rebellious people are not reliable people to delegate assignments to. One should make sure that you don't raise a fool and don't hire a fool.

Clearly there is a strong message in this whole group of proverbs: Get away from the confirmed fool.

There is a further question that can be asked. Does an assignment given to you get accomplished to the benefit of the person who assigned? Do you move off into a self-absorbed world in which only what you want matters? Have you botched assignments because you always had a better way than what you were asked? Do you keep getting fired? If these are true of you, then it is time to repent of being a fool. You are self-absorbed and impulsive. Learn to submit to authority and move towards wisdom rather than your own way of thinking all the time. I realize that this comes as a shock, but you are acting like a fool. Stop! No longer ask the question what do I want to do? But ask, what is the best thing for those around me? What would bring God glory? These are the questions of a wise person.

Until tomorrow,

Gil Stieglitz

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