Proverbs 10:10

Proverbs 10:10 "He that winketh with the eye causeth sorrow: but a prating fool shall fall."
Proverbs 10:10 Church East Aurora, NY
This proverb is the rare case where vice is not contrasted with virtue but instead with vice.  This proverb is not meant to recommend one vice over another or to suggest that a particular evil is better than any other.  Having already contrasted a prating fool with virtue in verse eight, Solomon chooses to contrast a prating fool with vice here in verse 10.  He is essentially comparing two different siblings of the same family.  Neither sibling is wholesome and neither sibling brings any good but they are different from each other.

The winking sibling in the proverb is a mischievous child in the family of evil.  Winking in our culture is seen in general as playful and harmless.  While it can be associated with seduction, it is usually seen as affectionate, fun and innocent.  In the Biblical culture however, winking is never associated with anything positive.  The Bible uses “winking” as something much more than an intentional blink to communicate something suggestive.  The Bible uses “winking” as an intentional closing of the eyes to ignore someone who you are opposed to.  In Acts 17, Paul told the Athenians that God “winked” at the ignorance of man’s idolatry, meaning He opposed it with the intentional and temporary closing of His eyes.  Furthermore, the Bible uses “winking” as an act of devising evil towards someone one you are in opposition to.  In Psalm 35, David prayed, “Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: neither let them WINK with the eye that hate me without a cause.”  The “winking” of Proverbs 10:10 is the “shutting of the eyes” of Proverbs 16:30 where Solomon wrote about a violent man shutting his eyes “to devise forward things.”  The winking sibling in the proverb is a quiet but conniving sibling.
 
In contrast to the winking sibling, the prating sibling is a loud and obnoxious child in the family of evil.  This child of sin does very little thinking and much talking.  As previously noted in verse eight, prating is the act of incessant talking with no purpose.  Someone who prates is unreasonable and speaks at the expense of listening.  The prating fool speaks foolishness about or toward someone without any intention of resolve.  They have no plans to help, fix or remedy that which they talk about.  Their only goal is to talk and to talk non-stop.

Where the prating sibling has his eyes wide open to anyone who will listen to him, the winking sibling spends most of his time with his eyes shut deep in thought.  Solomon paints the picture of two very different brothers from the same family.  He paints the picture of a quiet brother and a loud brother who are very different in behavior but not in spiritual blood.  Both the winker and the prater are from the same spiritual father.  Both have evil flowing through their veins and in their spiritual DNA.  The winker may be quiet but he is thinking about evil.  The prater may not be thinking much evil but he is speaking much evil.  These two siblings are equally as evil and should both be avoided.  These two siblings are equally as dangerous and should not be emulated.

The nature of their personalities determines the nature of their punishments.  Because the prating fool talks so much, he will quickly find himself in trouble.  The prating fool is easy to identify as a problem and is quickly treated as such by his peers.  When someone speaks a lot, especially a lot of thoughtlessness, he will contradict himself and offend others.  This is why Solomon repeats the demise of a prating fool when he said he “shall fall.”  The person that closes their eyes to devise evil is less detectable.  This person is able to remain a mystery and a silent sinister for longer time simply by keeping his mouth shut.  Silence makes it harder for a person to figure someone out and it buys them time to hide their mischievous intentions.  Eventually however, a pattern of pain follows the winking sibling.  Eventually, a pattern of sorrow will be evident in the lives of those associated with the winking sibling.  Sorrow produces sorrow and ultimately, the winking sibling will bring sorrow to his own life by alienating himself from everyone or by provoking the wrath of his victims.

Different vices cause different problems.  Different vices create different outcomes.  Different sins can appear less sinful than other sins.  Different sins can be less detectable than other sins.  This proverb teaches us that all sin is still sin and that all sin comes with consequence.  It teaches us that the family of evil has siblings of all different kinds and that we must remember that no matter the sibling, evil is the intent and evil consequence will be the outcome.    

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