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Cover Over Your Knowledge When Appropriate
Proverbs 12:23 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
23 A prudent man conceals knowledge,
but the heart of fools proclaims folly.
A prudent man conceals knowledge: The two Hebrew words that are most commonly used in Proverbs when discussing prudence are (sakal) most often at 18 times and (arum) less often, both being used in a positive sense. Arum appears in Proverbs 12:16, 23; 13:16; 14:8, 15, 18; 22:3; 27:12, and it always has a good meaning. In Genesis 3:1, we are told that “Now the serpent [Satan using] was more crafty (Heb. arum) than any beast of the field which Jehovah God had made.” Here it is the same Hebrew word but instead, it is referring to a prudent, clever, sensible person, who uses sound judgment in showing his knowledge. Conceals his knowledge is literally “is covering knowledge.” His covering (Heb. kese) knowledge means that he ignores, disregards, or pays no attention to the intelligence, he is slow to show all that he knows., humility.
but the heart of fools proclaims folly: Here the heart of fools is a reference to the thinking, the mindset, or nature of fools. Fools (Heb. kesîl) hate knowledge as they lack good judgment. Their character is stupidity, rudeness, that is, one who completely lacks understanding, who is rebellious in his ways. The folly (Heb. ivveleth) of the foolish one, is one who has the trait of acting stupidly or rashly because he is devoid of wisdom or understanding, the Hebrew noun focusing on the evil behaviors which occur in this state. Proclaiming (Heb. qara) is the opposite of the prudent man who does not put his knowledge on display, in that the fool parades his foolishness everywhere he goes.
Covering or concealing one’s knowledge does not mean that we do not ever show or display our knowledge. Rather, it means that we are to be prudent, clever, sensible people, using sound judgment in showing our knowledge. We do not make a showy display of our knowledge, as though we are bragging about it. In addition, maybe we are evangelizing to a person who has truly little Bible knowledge, it might overwhelm the person if we overshare in explaining the Bible.