Edwards and Proverbs 12:23

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Puritan Board Senior

Johnathan Edwards, in one of his diaries, talked about how it was important for him not to show off his intellectual abilities to other people, and he cites Proverbs 12:23 in support of that view.

Proverbs 12:23 A prudent man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness.

Is this what Proverbs 12:23 is saying? Is it saying that it's wise for us not to show off our knowledge? Or could it be saying that we need to keep secrets?


Puritan Board Junior
I think this verse is suggesting modesty over boastfulness. One who has God's gift of knowledge should use it as God intended. There really is no need for boasting over anything ever.

From the John Gill Commentary:
Pro 12:23 A prudent man concealeth knowledge,.... Of things natural or divine, which he is furnished with; not but that he is willing to communicate it, as he should, at proper times, in proper places, and to proper persons; but he does not needlessly and unseasonably speak of it; he does not make a show of it, or boast and brag of it: he modestly forbears to speak of what he knows, but when there is a necessity for it, even of that which may be lawfully divulged; which is a point of prudence and modesty; otherwise it is criminal to reveal secrets, or publish what should be kept private or should not be known. Aben Ezra interprets it of a wise man's hiding his knowledge in his heart, that he may not forget it;

but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness; that which they have in their hearts and minds, and which they take for deep knowledge, profound and recondite learning, they proclaim with their mouths in a noisy and clamorous way; and while they declare their ill shaped notions, their incoherent and unconnected ideas of things, they betray their ignorance and folly, as ostentatious men do.


Puritan Board Doctor
I think what it means is that a wise person knows how to play chess with his words!
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