Today is April Fool’s Day. According to History.com, this day’s origins remain a mystery, with some theorizing its beginnings all the way back to the 1500’s. Whatever the roots are of this crazy “holiday”, most of us take it in stride, and use it to keep the tradition of pranking alive and well by making “fools” out of unsuspecting victims. Hopefully, it’s all in good fun.
I like a good joke as much as the next person, just ask my kids. But earlier this week, I thought for a few minutes about the word “fool”, and it’s connotation. I then remembered that the Book of Proverbs (second book in the Ketuvim – or Writings, the third section of the Tanakh – or Old Testament), has much to say about fools. So, to commemorate today in a different way, I thought I’d list the 72 Proverbs that contain the word “fool”. Whatever religious background we come from, I think we all can find a nugget or two of wisdom in this collection.
Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 1:22 – How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?
Proverbs 1:32 – For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them;
Proverbs 3:35 – The wise inherit honor, but fools get only shame.
Proverbs 8:5 – You who are simple, gain prudence; you who are foolish, set your hearts on it.
Proverbs 10:1 – A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son brings grief to his mother.
Proverbs 10:8 – The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin.
Proverbs 10:10 – Whoever winks maliciously causes grief, and a chattering fool comes to ruin.
Proverbs 10:14 – The wise store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool invites ruin.
Proverbs 10:18 – Whoever conceals hatred with lying lips and spreads slander is a fool.
Proverbs 10:21 – The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of sense.
Proverbs 10:23 – A fool finds pleasure in wicked schemes, but a person of understanding delights in wisdom.
Proverbs 11:29 – Whoever brings ruin on their family will inherit only wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise.
Proverbs 12:15 – The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.
Proverbs 12:16 – Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.
Proverbs 12:23 – The prudent keep their knowledge to themselves, but a fool’s heart blurts out folly.
Proverbs 13:16 – All who are prudent act with knowledge, but fools expose their folly.
Proverbs 13:19 – A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but fools detest turning from evil.
Proverbs 13:20 – Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.
Proverbs 14:1 – The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.
Proverbs 14:3 – A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride, but the lips of the wise protect them.
Proverbs 14:7 – Stay away from a fool, for you will not find knowledge on their lips.
Proverbs 14:8 – The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.
Proverbs 14:9 – Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright.
Proverbs 14:16 – The wise fear the Lord and shun evil, but a fool is hotheaded and yet feels secure.
Proverbs 14:17 – A quick-tempered person does foolish things, and the one who devises evil schemes is hated.
Proverbs 14:24 – The wealth of the wise is their crown, but the folly of fools yields folly.
Proverbs 14:33 – Wisdom reposes in the heart of the discerning and even among fools she lets herself be known.
Proverbs 15:2 – The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.
Proverbs 15:5 – A fool spurns a parent’s discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.
Proverbs 15:7 – The lips of the wise spread knowledge, but the hearts of fools are not upright.
Proverbs 15:14 – The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.
Proverbs 15:20 – A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish man despises his mother.
Proverbs 16:22 – Prudence is a fountain of life to the prudent, but folly brings punishment to fools.
Proverbs 17:7 – Eloquent lips are unsuited to a godless fool— how much worse lying lips to a ruler!
Proverbs 17:10 – A rebuke impresses a discerning person more than a hundred lashes a fool.
Proverbs 17:12 – Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool bent on folly.
Proverbs 17:16 – Why should fools have money in hand to buy wisdom, when they are not able to understand it?
Proverbs 17:21 – To have a fool for a child brings grief; there is no joy for the parent of a godless fool.
Proverbs 17:24 – A discerning person keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.
Proverbs 17:25 – A foolish son brings grief to his father and bitterness to the mother who bore him.
Proverbs 17:28 – Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.
Proverbs 18:2 – Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.
Proverbs 18:6 – The lips of fools bring them strife, and their mouths invite a beating.
Proverbs 18:7 – The mouths of fools are their undoing, and their lips are a snare to their very lives.
Proverbs 19:1 – Better the poor whose walk is blameless than a fool whose lips are perverse.
Proverbs 19:10 – It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury— how much worse for a slave to rule over princes!
Proverbs 19:13 – A foolish child is a father’s ruin, and a quarrelsome wife is like the constant dripping of a leaky roof.
Proverbs 19:29 – Penalties are prepared for mockers, and beatings for the backs of fools.
Proverbs 20:3 – It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.
Proverbs 21:20 – The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.
Proverbs 23:9 – Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words.
Proverbs 24:7 – Wisdom is too high for fools; in the assembly at the gate they must not open their mouths.
Proverbs 26:1 – Like snow in summer or rain in harvest, honor is not fitting for a fool.
Proverbs 26:3 – A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the backs of fools!
Proverbs 26:4 – Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him.
Proverbs 26:5 – Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.
Proverbs 26:6 – Sending a message by the hands of a fool is like cutting off one’s feet or drinking poison.
Proverbs 26:7 – Like the useless legs of one who is lame is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.
Proverbs 26:8 – Like tying a stone in a sling is the giving of honor to a fool.
Proverbs 26:9 – Like a thornbush in a drunkard’s hand is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.
Proverbs 26:10 – Like an archer who wounds at random is one who hires a fool or any passer-by.
Proverbs 26:11 – As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.
Proverbs 26:12 – Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them.
Proverbs 27:3 – Stone is heavy and sand a burden, but a fool’s provocation is heavier than both.
Proverbs 27:22 – Though you grind a fool in a mortar, grinding them like grain with a pestle, you will not remove their folly from them.
Proverbs 28:26 – Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.
Proverbs 29:9 – If a wise person goes to court with a fool, the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace.
Proverbs 29:11 – Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.
Proverbs 29:20 – Do you see someone who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for them.
Proverbs 30:2-23 – Under three things the earth trembles, under four it cannot bear up: a servant who becomes king, a godless fool who gets plenty to eat, a contemptible woman who gets married, and a servant who displaces her mistress.
Proverbs 30:32 – If you play the fool and exalt yourself, or if you plan evil, clap your hand over your mouth!