As you have probably noticed, all the characteristics of “foolishness” that you have read about so far more or less overlap in your typical “fool,” making it very difficult to isolate one characteristic from the other.
- The pride of a fool is usually coupled with abundant, gushing words.
- The fool who thinks he’s always right obviously has issues with pride.
- The fool who preaches that “knowledge puffs up” is usually trying to look and act spiritual.
- This air of “spirituality” is obvious in the content of the abundant, gushing words.
- And, of course, in the perception of a fool, the abundant, gushing words are always right.
I could go on, but I think you get the point.
These overlaps are not coincidental. The Father, in His perfect wisdom, knew exactly what a fool would look like – both in Solomon’s day and ours – so He shared this wisdom with the offspring of the “man after God’s own heart.”
Why? Because at least in his youth, Solomon considered righteous judgment more valuable than all riches and honor.
Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?
The essence of foolishness is an amalgamation of all of the features that you’ve been reading about, and there are still a few more to come. Coupled with the “scorning” also mentioned in the prior posts, they paint a composite picture of the “pethiy” – the simple.
These are the people that Wisdom is trying to address.
Wisdom calls aloud outside; She raises her voice in the open squares. She cries out in the chief concourses, at the openings of the gates in the city She speaks her words: “How long, you simple ones [pethiy], will you love simplicity [pethiy]? For scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge.”
“Pethiy” . . . simplicity . . . foolishness . . . is what this group of people embodies. It is what they’re all about and they’re oh-so-eager to tell you their message.
So let’s discuss the message of a fool for a while.
A Proverb in the Mouth of Fools
Like the legs of the lame that hang limp is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
In this passage, proverbs in the mouths of fools are likened to “limp legs.” As we are talking about walking a path in Proverbs 1-9, this comparison is appropriate.
Dictionary.com defines the word “proverb” (or “parable”) as follows:
- “a short popular saying, usually of unknown and ancient origin, that expresses effectively some commonplace truth or useful thought; adage” 
- “a short allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson.” 
The Hebrew word for “proverb” is “mashal”  which has a very similar definition to the English word.
In both the English and the Hebrew languages, a proverb is a kind of story or a saying meant to teach some kind of truth. As far as this verse is concerned, a proverb may or may not be included in the book of Proverbs.
Additionally, the Hebrew word “mashal” comes from the root word “mashal”  (same spelling, probably different pronunciation) which means “to rule, have dominion, reign.”
So, there is a connection between “a story or saying that teaches a truth” with “to rule, have dominion, reign.”
It is in the mouths of fools that these stories and lessons “hang limp.”
Limp Legs will Cripple Your Walk
Churches are packed with fools who love to tell tales that – on the surface – appear to empower an individual to “have dominion,” live a better life and draw closer to God. But as the masses eagerly listen to these parables, they have no idea that what sounds so good “outwardly” will actually hinder their relationship with the Father.
As fools regale the eager masses with cleverly crafted anecdotes of miracles and positive thinking, they appear to be loving, righteous people, and what’s more, they feel that they are being loving and righteous in their tale-telling.
Just like the false prophets who stood before Ahab and Jehoshaphat (1 Kings 22), they speak in the name of the God of Israel and they genuinely have no ill intent.
But regardless of intent, these tales produce subliminally established ground rules for walking paths other than the path of Wisdom.
While the message says, “Go up, for the Lord will deliver it into the hand of the king,” (1 Kings 22:6b) it sets the listener on a path that runs opposite to the Father’s standards that have never changed.
People who listen to these limp tales never effectively get from point A to point B unless they are travelling a path other than the path of Wisdom.
All other attempts to attain “the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:5) apart from the path of Wisdom inevitably lead into the arms of the strange woman, and death soon after.
Just ask Jehoshaphat.
Nonetheless, those who either can’t or won’t think for themselves eagerly embrace these parables and mentally elevate them to the status of “God’s Word,” simply because they appeal to their emotions and support what they already believe.
But these tales do not spawn any sort of real spiritual prowess in the lives of their listeners.
Foolish listeners do not realize that the fool behind the pulpit – the one whom they have been taught to put on a pedestal – is the same fool who offers “the sacrifice of fools,” which we discussed in an earlier post.
Limp Legs go Nowhere
Let’s look again at Ecclesiastes 5:1.
Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil.
Fools want to look spiritual and may appear to be spiritual in the eyes of others, but they are oblivious to the fact that they “do evil.” They would rather do and teach what they feel is right instead of “draw near to hear the Father.”
If they were truly “drawing near,” they would be walking in the paths of Wisdom, embracing the commandments of Torah as both the plumbline and the guideline.
So we can infer from King Solomon’s words that two things will weaken a parable in the mouths of fools.
- They have no clue that they “do evil.”
- They do not want to hear anything to the contrary.
As a result, any fool’s effort to be spiritual and inspire others will result in futility. Just like a pair of limp legs, a fool’s parable:
- will not stand up under any weight;
- will produce no lasting results; and . . .
- will not get anyone from point A to point B on the path of Wisdom.
Still, fools are hard-headed and hard-hearted, being bound and determined to show their spirituality in what they say and do to anyone willing to watch and listen.
Those who adore fools in their foolishness are committed to continue in their idolatry, hanging on every word handed to them.
As both parties frantically avoid facing what is obvious to anyone else outside “the circle of madness,” both the foolish speaker and the foolish listener partake in a twisted symbiotic relationship. One fool will feed on the adoration (and finances) of the listener and the other fool feeds off the parables spoken by the idol.
. . . the mouth of fools [kecyl] feeds on foolishness.
A Thorn in the Hand is Worth
King Solomon also likened the inspirational tales of a fool to a thorn in the hand.
Like a thorn that goes into the hand of a drunkard is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
When those of us in the West think of a thorn in the hand, we usually think of rose bush thorns. Of course, these sharp little nuisances hurt, but all you need is a pair of tweezers to solve the problem.
The thorns in the Mediterranean appear to be another story.
Now, I’m not an expert in this area, but from the pictures that I’ve looked at, many species of Mediterranean thorns appear more needle-like than their western counterparts.
During the editing phase of this chapter, my editor brought to my attention that “goat head” thorns are everywhere in the dirt in Israel. As you can see from the image I’ve included, goathead thorns have “points” that shoot out randomly in every direction, much like the many directions towards “the ends of the earth” that we discussed in an earlier post.
She further informed me that this nasty little nuisance is just as painful to extract as it is to receive. So, while walking around with a western rose bush thorn in the hand may make a person cranky, it’s nothing compared to having a needle or a goat head thorn cluster stuck in your hand. Either would immediately cause some serious problems.
This may seem like an insignificant point to make. We live in a modern society where these irritations are easily fixed, but a person from the pre-industrialized world in the land of Israel – a place in time where their very lives depended on what they could get from the soil by using their hands – would think this was a critical issue.
Believe it or not, no matter where you’re located, a thorn left untended could cripple, and lead to other maladies such as tetanus and perhaps kill in extreme instances of infection. 
At the very least, it would affect everything you put your hand to.
The Effects of the Modern Day “Thorn”
Like the thorn, a parable told by a fool has the potential to affect your entire perception of spiritual (and practical) reality.
This truth is being lived out today in our social media enslaved society.
Parables – brief messages in the form of audio/video snippets and Facebook memes – have the inherent ability to affect one’s thinking quicker than any real in-depth study.
In the world we live in, the attention span is “virtually” (pun intended) non-existent and most prefer “a quick fix” – something easily digestible – to the truths that you have to chew on for a while in order to absorb.
If we do happen to crack open our Bibles and read them, the thorns (the parables/snippets/memes) have already lodged themselves into our perception and we “study” the Word of God through those filters, desperately looking for any half-truths that would validate what originally tickled our religious funny bone.
And it is entirely possible that we may find bits and pieces of Scripture to back up our newly-formed (yet dearly-held) doctrine, but it simply doesn’t hold up against the grammatical, scriptural or historical context of the entire message.
But that doesn’t matter to fools. No matter the cost, they want to be validated, so they only hear and see what they want to hear and see.
The bottom line is that fools won’t see it until the thorns lodged in their hands are plucked out by the tweezers of truth.
The Invasive Nature of Thorns
Another interesting thing about thorns is their ability to invade the soil in a short period of time and choke out a harvest.
As agriculture developed in the Middle East and ancient grains were domesticated, thistles and other weedy opportunists took advantage of newly-disturbed soil and established themselves, forming dense, impenetrable stands that competed with field crops and forage plants for precious water and nutrients. Thorns, prickles and sharp spines defended these plants from grazing by flocks of goats and sheep in Abraham’s time, as they do today.” 
If you do an honest study of church history and the writings of the church fathers, it will quickly become evident that “today’s parables become tomorrow’s doctrines.”
Parables in the mouths of fools have that effect.
I find it interesting that the above excerpt mentions how thorns will invade “newly-disturbed soil” and “establish themselves, forming dense, impenetrable stands.”
In the Bible, soil is often a picture of the human heart.
For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: “Break up your fallow ground, and do not sow among thorns.
Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your hearts, you men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, lest My fury come forth like fire, and burn so that no one can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.”
There’s a connection between the “fallow ground” of Jeremiah 4:3-4 and the “newly disturbed soil” in the prior quote.
Up until the time it is disturbed, the fallow ground has never been broken up or penetrated by any foreign object. It just sits there, hard and dormant, unable to produce anything.
When something finally disrupts the soil is the time when the thorns find their opportunity to invade, quickly “establishing themselves” and forming “dense, impenetrable stands.”
The stand is where all the tendrils that bear the thorns interconnect, forming a barrier to keep out any unwelcome influence.
Used in a positive light, the Father told the prophet Hosea:
Therefore, behold, I will hedge up your way with thorns, and wall her in, so that she cannot find her paths.
But, just as the Father built up a hedge so that Israel would not find her own paths but remain on His (Torah), man’s doctrines build up a hedge to keep you from finding the Father’s path of Wisdom (Torah).
So, when you think about a “hedge” or a “stand” of thorns (parables), think about all of these parables (or tales) carefully woven together to form a united front . . . a barricade to combat any form of argument or opposition.
Like a thorn that goes into the hand of a drunkard is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: “Break up your fallow ground, and do not sow among thorns.
We will unravel this dense stand of thorns in future posts, but for now we just need to understand that the stand of thorns exists and our foolish thinking causes us to “sow” there..
How does the modern believer “sow among thorns” instead of breaking up their “fallow ground”?
Keeping with the analogy in Jeremiah 4, to “sow” is to distribute seeds in the soil.
Now, I know that the minute a Christian hears the word “seed,” he/she thinks it’s a representation of “faith” or “the Word of God” as defined in the New Testament, but this is not what the analogy is referring to in Jeremiah.
“Seeds” in this passage are likened to ways and customs that you put your faith in to produce results.
Go back and read this verse in context – read from Jeremiah 3:6-4:4 – and you will see how this plays out.
The Father was calling His children back to the commands that He laid out from the beginning, but Israel refused. While the kingdom of Israel (the 10 tribes) blatantly “scatter their ways under every green tree,” (3:13) the tribe of Judah returns “in pretense.” (3:10)
Now, I really want you to digest this next truth. The Father tells His prophet:
Then the LORD said to me, “Backsliding Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah.
From this verse, we can conclude that the Father considers you MORE righteous if you just go out and blatantly worship idols than if you pretend to return to Him while covertly serving idols and disobeying His original orders.
Think really hard about this.
All 12 tribes were walking in ways that they thought would benefit them. Their thought processes were tainted with the same types of influence that taint our thought process today. They were (as we are) heavily influenced by what was handed down to them, as well as by the pagan influences of the world around them.
Like Israel, average believers in the God of Israel “sow among thorns” when they allow inherited ideologies, trendy doctrines, and surrounding pagan influences to influence what they trust in and take a stand on.
And the pitiful thing about this is that they don’t give it a second thought. It just comes naturally.
But the Father desires all of us to “break up our fallow ground.”
Notice how He doesn’t say “I will break up your fallow ground.”
This means that He requires US to do the work.
We need to swallow our pride and question what caused our soil (our hearts) to become so resistant to accepting God’s truth.
What do thorns do to seeds?
When seeds are sown, there is an expectation for the seeds to produce a crop. Likewise, when we put our trust in a certain path or belief, we have an expectation to receive some kind of benefit.
But thorns will choke out a seed. How does that happen?
Thorns steal essential nutrients and water from the soil that are intended to cause the seeds to grow, flourish and multiply. Eventually, if there is nothing to give it life, a crop will just die.
Likewise, modern day thorns (religious doctrines, trends, memes, etc.) choke out anything “life-giving” from God’s instructions, leaving the listener wanting – continually sowing (because we’re creatures of habit), yet never receiving the desired “life.”
And the thorn doesn’t care. It’s comfortable in the soil (the heart). It thrives in the same soil (the heart) that the seeds were meant to be planted in.
You farmers and gardeners who are reading this know what a constant struggle it is to keep your crop free of thorns, weeds and other pests, so you try your best not to “sow among thorns.” If you happen to make that mistake, you know that you have a problem.
I believe the Father was thinking about this when He told the children of Israel:
But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall be that those whom you let remain shall be irritants in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall harass you in the land where you dwell. Moreover it shall be that I will do to you as I thought to do to them.
How would the inhabitants of the land be “thorns in the side” of Israel? Because they would introduce beliefs and practices that would run contrary to what the Father would have Israel believe and practice. They would be “in the sides” and “in the eyes” of the children of Israel.
As a result of taking on those beliefs and practices, Israel would suffer the punishment meant for the inhabitants addressed in this passage. They would be exiled from the land.
So we see that just as thorns are parasitic in nature, so are parables and doctrines that run opposed to the Father’s original orders. They both live in the same environment meant for the seed (the heart), stealing whatever could cause that seed to grow and produce.
Thorns (think trendy doctrines and other ways that run contrary to the Father’s original orders) choke out a crop (think anything beneficial you receive from what you have faith in and practice).
The same parasitic relationship exists between our modern day parables (doctrines and practices) and the original doctrines (Torah) from the time of Solomon onward.
The struggle is real . . . but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Thorns are Opportunistic
Still continuing with this analogy of thorns and the human heart, when people reach a point in life where something disturbing or disruptive breaks them down, their entire souls are left in a state of brokenness and vulnerability.
Soil in this state will willingly accept the seeds of a thorn.
I know many, many people who desperately cling to the strangest beliefs and doctrines – simply because those ideas were introduced at a weak point in their lives and offered them comfort. They have become convinced that since those beliefs are comforting, they must be the absolute truth.
Another source says this about thorns:
Many thorny plants, nettles, brambles and thistles are considered to be weeds. These are usually the first invaders of broken-up or abandoned (fallow) soil. We know the reason for this is because many of these plants are the product of cursed ground (Genesis 3). Weeds have the ability to grow in harsh conditions and have abundant seeds with well-engineered dispersal mechanisms for populating open areas. Weeds will steal the essential nutrients from the soil the intended crop requires. By definition, weeds overgrow or choke out more desirable plants.” 
I want you to seriously consider these two excerpts I’ve shown you in this post. They are saturated with parallels to the parables preached in the seminaries and by today’s religious leaders.
These are the fools who prey on the downtrodden and brokenhearted in order to create a following for themselves. Most will vehemently deny this motive, but the sheer number of Christian denominations in this world (some estimate over 40,000) proves otherwise.
The reason all of these little “special revelations” – parables, thorns – produce more division than they do “oneness” with the Creator is that they are all a product of “cursed ground.”
Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field.
Why are these tales of miracles and positivity cursed?
It’s because they promote a path that seeks the knowledge of God apart from the ways He has established. How could they be anything BUT cursed?
Yet, once planted, these thorns thrive in the middle of “harsh conditions” because they are so abundant and have “well-engineered dispersal mechanisms.”
With the abundance of online ministries, television shows, publications and other thorny “dispersal mechanisms,” you can count on the choking of the harvest to continue until the Father sets up His Kingdom and Isaiah 2:2-3 comes to pass.
Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it.
It never ceases to amaze me how, according to Christian doctrine, the Torah is “a curse,” and yet here we see the Father teaching this “curse” in the Kingdom.
It’s the ultimate oxymoron . . . or maybe we’ve been handed lies.
O LORD, my strength and my fortress, my refuge in the day of affliction. The Gentiles shall come to You from the ends of the earth and say, “Surely our fathers have inherited lies, worthlessness and unprofitable things.”
Think about it.
A Strong Desire to Reproduce
A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.
Now, we’ve already proven from Solomon’s words that it’s in a fool’s nature to desire a relationship with the Father on his or her own terms.
To strengthen their ideology, fools will develop creeds and convictions around the doctrines they hold dear.
If a fool can find others to come into agreement with these doctrines, then the fool feels validated. In fact, a group validation occurs . . . it will validate what the fool (and those who follow him/her) always thought was “the path to God.”
But while finding an agreeable “brother (or sister) in the Lord” is considered a good thing, finding a young, impressionable disciple is considered “the gold trophy.”
Let’s take another brief look at the characteristics of a fool that we have studied so far:
- Fools are always right in their own eyes.
- Fools hate knowledge.
- Fools are prideful.
- Fools can speak and operate under a pretense of authority.
- Fools want to be perceived as “spiritual.”
- Fools want to draw near to God on their own terms.
- Fools have no clue that they are doing evil when they try to be “spiritual.”
- Fools do not want to hear anything that contradicts their way of thinking.
- Fools use parables to reinforce what they want to promote.
These traits alone will compel a fool to gather an audience so that he or she can reproduce their own image of “righteousness” in others.
This can be on a small or grand scale, and it is relatively simple to do. Why?
Because “conformity” is a value that would-be clones have been taught to embrace. You really don’t have to look very hard to find someone who is willing to be molded into someone else’s image.
We live in a society that has been taught Aleister Crowley’s “Do as thou wilt” from birth. As a result, people are desperately searching for answers because they have no reference point to lead them home.
To continue with this blog’s analogy, they have no trailhead and no lamp posts to show them the paths of life. What’s worse, the church trains them to ignore any breadcrumbs that the Father has mercifully strewn along the path, choosing instead to teach their adherents a notoriously flawed “walking by the spirit” theology.
These are the wandering souls that are easily snatched up by the strange woman.
When all is said and done, the fools spin their yarns and the clones are tickled in their emotions (convinced those are the Holy Spirit), but they yield no lasting change.
And this shouldn’t be surprising. After all, you can’t go very far on the inertia of limp legs.
In the meantime, you no longer have to fall victim to the infestation of the thorns.
You can recognize the fool and his/her message. All you have to do is be willing to follow what YHWH’s Words say instead of what you think you know.
Discerning the fool and his/her message is key to recognizing the Strange Woman.
-  Proverb. (n.d.). www.dictionary.com. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/proverb?s=t
-  Parable. (n.d.). www.dictionary.com. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/parable?s=t
-  H4912 – māšāl – Strong’s Hebrew lexicon (NKJV). (n.d.). Blue Letter Bible. https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H4912&t=NKJV
-  H4910 – māšal – Strong’s Hebrew lexicon (NKJV). (n.d.). Blue Letter Bible. https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?strongs=H4910&t=NKJV
-  Joyce, K. (n.d.). What Are the Treatments for Thorns? https://www.hunker.com/13405903/what-are-the-treatments-for-thorns
-  Thorns and thistles. (n.d.). Temple Sinai. https://www.templesinairi.org/biblical-garden-blog/thorns-and-thistles
-  Thorns and thistles. (2011, April 27). Answers in Genesis. https://answersingenesis.org/biology/plants/thorns-and-thistles/