14:1 Every wise woman builds her household,
but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.
14:2 The one who walks in his uprightness fears the LORD,
but the one who is perverted in his ways despises him.
14:3 In the speech of a fool is a rod for his back,
but the words of the wise protect them.
14:4 Where there are no oxen, the feeding trough is clean,
but an abundant harvest is produced by strong oxen.
14:5 A truthful witness does not lie,
but a false witness breathes out lies.
14:6 The scorner seeks wisdom but finds none,
but understanding is easy for a discerning person.
14:7 Leave the presence of a foolish person,
or you will not understand wise counsel.
Leave the presence of a foolish person, or you will not understand wise counsel – NIV ‘Stay away from a foolish man, for you will not find knowledge on his lips.’
Fee and Stuart note that it is important for us not to misunderstand – and therefore misuse – wisdom writing. In the case of this proverb: ‘Does this mean that followers of Jesus should choose not to associate with those who have mental disabilities or are uneducated or mentally ill? Of course not! That would indeed make fools of us in the more modern sense! In Proverbs, however, “fool” is basically a referent to someone whom today we might refer to as an “infidel”—the person who lives life according to selfish, indulgent whims and who acknowledges no higher authority than oneself. And the “staying away” is inextricably linked with the purpose (“for you will not find knowledge”). In other words, the proverb teaches that if you are seeking knowledge, you should not look for it in the “fool”—the one who lives life apart from God (Pss 14:1; 53:1).’ (How To Read The Bible For All Its Worth)