In the mouth of the foolish is a rod for his back, but the lips of the wise will protect them
in the mouth of the foolish is a rod for his back
There are three possible directions that God could be going in this proverb. One, that the selfish and impulsive person says things that eventually act like a rod and punish him. As the foolish woman in 14:1 who has to live in the midst of the relationships that she destroyed, she has torn down her own home or dwelling place. If this is the idea, then the contrasting proverb would mean that the words of the wise man would not create the relational damage that foolish words create.
The second possible intent of the proverb is that it is the things that the foolish person says that can be used against him to discipline or punish him. The contrasting proverb would mean then that the wise man does not say things that will get him in trouble later.
A third possibility shows itself from a more literal translation of the verse. The most literal translation of the proverb is the lips of the fool is a rod of pride. This suggests that the fool really thinks of himself in a very high manner and believes that he is above others. And the contrasting proverb would be that the wise person’s words protect him from the foolish person’s verbal blows.
* This material is copyrighted © by Gil Stieglitz who retains all rights to the material. The verses quoted are taken from the NASB Bible 1995 edition.