by Tim Sullivan
WHAT, EXACTLY, IS A FOOL?
Jason’s main goal in life was to make his mother miserable. His parents divorced when he was nine-years-old, and Jason blamed his mom for all of the hurt and pain he felt; he wanted to inflict as much pain on her as possible. But Jason’s mom wasn’t the only person to experience his wrath. As Jason continued through elementary school, he left a trail of wounded people wherever he went. Jason tortured his teachers with verbal insults. He spent more time missing out on recess than he did on the playground with his friends. His teachers looked forward to the day he would move on to high school. Jason was both verbally and physically violent, always fighting. It seemed as though he had a black belt in verbal abuse. Jason had no desire to listen to authority figures. He progressively became more consumed with himself. At age twelve, Jason was introduced to pornography by a neighbor friend; he quickly became addicted. Jason’s heart rapidly filled with violence, hate, abuse, and lust. Jason was a fool.
Imagine you meet Jason when he is in his thirties and he has children of his own. He continues on the warpath that he has been on since he was nine. What are some of the ways you will be able to help him? Before we can counsel someone like Jason, we must first recognize exactly what a fool is.
A GALLERY OF FOOLS
Three Hebrew words are translated as “fool” in Proverbs kesil, ewil, and nabal. The first word kesil, means stupid fellow, dullard, or fool; it is his sport to make mischief. Kesil is describing a thick-headed, stubborn individual.
A kesil is a BLOCKHEAD.
The second word is ewil, which means foolish (always morally bad). The NIV supplies a footnote denoting ewil as one who is morally deficient (Prov. 1:7).
An ewil is an AIRHEAD.
The third word is nabal, which means foolish, senseless, or disgraceful folly; they lack spiritual insight. In Psalm 14:1, a nabal says in his heart, “There is no God.”
A nabal is a DEADHEAD.
There are two additional words, which also need attention in our study of the fool petayim, and lis. Petayim means simple or open-minded.
A petayim is the GULLIBLE fool.
The second is the word lîṣ, which means mocker or scorner. The mocker has taken foolishness to the next level and is worse than the basic fool.
A lis is a SNARK.
The series of successive degrees of foolishness are, GULLIBLE (petayim), BLOCKHEAD (kesil), AIRHEAD (ewil), DEADHEAD (nabal), and lastly, the SNARK (lis).