What does Proverbs 18:7 mean?
ESV: A fool 's mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul.
NIV: The mouths of fools are their undoing, and their lips are a snare to their very lives.
NASB: A fool’s mouth is his ruin, And his lips are the snare of his soul.
CSB: A fool’s mouth is his devastation, and his lips are a trap for his life.
NLT: The mouths of fools are their ruin; they trap themselves with their lips.
KJV: A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.
NKJV: A fool’s mouth is his destruction, And his lips are the snare of his soul.
Verse Commentary:
In this verse Solomon notes that a fool's mouth leads to his destruction and his lips ensnare his soul. Although a fool intends to injure others by speaking perversely, he hurts himself. His words boomerang. Psalm 7:14–16 aptly describes what happens to the wicked person whose language is intended to hurt others. The passage states: "Behold, the wicked man conceives evil and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies. He makes a pit, digging it out, and falls into the hole that he has made. His mischief returns upon his own head, and on his own skull his violence descends."

A fool uses offensive language to pick a fight, and he is sure to find it. However, he doesn't anticipate the serious harm his words bring upon him. Unruly youths foolishly insulted the prophet Elisha, and their words triggered Elisha's righteous indignation. He responded by pronouncing a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Immediately, two she-bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths (2 Kings 2:23–24).
Verse Context:
Proverbs 18:1–9 touches on themes such as arrogance and closed-mindedness. A common thread in this section is how unwise speech, or failure to be open-minded and diligent, can lead to serious consequences.
Chapter Summary:
This segment of Solomon's wise sayings includes several well-known and often-repeated remarks. Among these are references to God's "name" as a place of safety, the connection between pride and catastrophe, the value of a godly spouse, and the intimate loyalty of a good friend. As in other parts of the book of Proverbs, these teachings are tied to warnings about the consequences of poor decisions.
Chapter Context:
Chapter 18 continues a long string of wise sayings attributed to Solomon. These began in chapter 10 and will continue through chapter 22. This section contains numerous references to fair-mindedness and seeking out truth from multiple sources. Diligent responsibility—in words, actions, and beliefs—is a notable emphasis in this segment.
Book Summary:
Proverbs is best understood in context with the books of Ecclesiastes and Job. In Proverbs, “wisdom” is given in short, simple, general terms. Ecclesiastes represents wisdom based on observation and experience. This often shows how the general principles of the book of Proverbs don’t apply in absolutely every circumstance. Job represents wisdom based on the experience of suffering and injustice. All three come to the conclusion that God does indeed know best, and the most sensible course of action is to follow His will.
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