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  • Dr. Stieglitz

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 18:13

"He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him"


This is the Hebrew word dabar which means word, speech, account, comment, etc. Solomon is saying that a person who starts talking or commenting on a situation, before they have given adequate time to listening, is a fool. It is imperative that you give adequate time to the process of listening and hearing. This means that you do listen between the lines and that you make sure that you have a 360-degree understanding of the problem before you start giving your advice or solution.


This is the Hebrew word shama which is the typical word for hearing. There is a deeper orientation to this word for hearing than our English word hearing. We understand hearing as recognizing the sounds or words that the other person is saying. The word shama, however, involves comprehension of the words or obedience to the commands. Solomon uses this word to emphasize that one must not just let them talk to you, but you must actively comprehend what is being said before you give your answer. In order to really hear, one must put some energy into the process. It requires drawing out the other person with questions, focusing on the person you are listening to, following their train of thought, paraphrasing what you think they are trying to say, encouraging them to tell you more.


This is the Hebrew word ewileth which means folly, foolishness, fool. The person who is answering before they have really asked questions and drawn the other person out is really just being selfish. They don't want to go to that much trouble or they just like to hear the sound of their own voice or solutions.


This is the Hebrew word kelimma which means reproach, shame, dishonor. Solomon is saying that this selfish slap-dash listening that most do is a shame and dishonor to them. We think that we are being clever and superior by finding a way to spend more time talking than really putting the energy into listening, but this is really a shame. It is a lack of love that will turn around and bite you. The people in your life deserve and need to be listened to. If you continue with this practice of half-listening, it will become evident that you didn't really understand the other person; and they will pick up that you really only love yourself.

It will also be a shame to you when you propose a solution or offer a comment that really will not work. The other person will realize that you are really not listening.

Until tomorrow,

Gil Stieglitz

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