Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 17:27
"He who restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding"
restrains his words
This is the Hebrew word chasak which means to withhold, refrain, lessen, hold back. Each of these ideas -- when applied to speech -- means that you say less than you know. You hold back all that you want to say. Many times we get ourselves talking and we speak beyond what we know. Or we say things that we wish we had not said.
Solomon is suggesting that, no matter how much talking we normally do, we lessen it to some degree; that we hold back on letting every thought we have drop immediately or quickly out of our mouth. Develop a new joy in not doing all the talking and/or in not saying all that you know about a subject.
When you're in a meeting or gathering today, restrain your words. Open your mouth only to ask questions.
This is the Hebrew word daat which is the standard word for information, skill, and knowledge. When you really have it, you don't have to draw attention to yourself. There is a quiet confidence in your information, skill, and knowledge.
This is the opposite of what we often think. We think that the person who talks a lot about what they supposedly know is the person who really knows a lot, but Solomon correctly points out that it is the person who is less talkative who knows more. They hold back their claims and attention and instead collect more information and realize more connections. cool spirit
This is the Hebrew word qar which means cool, cold. It is used in this case connected to one's spirit or the Hebrew word is ruach which is breath, wind, spirit, temper, heart. It clearly is the idea of a person who is not quickly reactive. Words do not easily set them off.
It is interesting that Solomon here speaks about a cool spirit from the point of view that it is controllable through understanding and through what one knows about others and the connections between things and people.
Quick-tempered people are high-expectation people with low thresholds of discipline. They expect what they want to happen and do not know how to hold back their anger, disappointment, and bitterness if it does not. The reason a person gets upset is that they have unrealistic expectations for that situation. Usually it means what they wanted to happen did not happen and they did not factor into their expectations that things will often not go exactly as you planned. One has to realize that when a hope becomes an expectation, one will often be disappointed and become angry.
Sometimes our expectation may even be the right or noble expectation, but that does not mean it will happen. You need to prepare in your spirit for various results so that you do not become needlessly worked up.
A cool spirit is one which has looked at a situation and thought through a number of the possible scenarios and is prepared for each.