Go from the presence of a foolish man,
when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.
This Proverb — one of my favorites — should be heeded by those Christians who actually listen to the modern version translators who make a mockery of God’s Word. It warns us about arguing with those who care nothing for the truth, and it reiterates Christ’s words warning us against casting our pearls before swine. This is advice that is invaluable to all Bible-believers. All active KJV defenders need to take to heart with a fair amount of frequency, because fools and demoniacs seem to come out of the woodwork wherever we go, and it is rare for these KJV attackers to have any real interest in truth, but only in quibbling over strawmen. This verse does not apply to honest victims of modern version propaganda who are honestly and humbly seeking answers, but to those who clearly seek to undermine God’s final authority by seeking to stir up doubt in the mind’s of others. It does, however, tell us to distinguish and respond accordingly.
Dahood, not surprisingly, made a shambles of this verse as he does with so many others.
“Go from the presence of the foolish man, Then you will surely flow with lips of knowledge.”1
Aside being nonsensical – one does not great wisdom simply by avoiding contact with the unwise – it ignores the original text. This rendering requires interpreting the Hebrew bal in the light of an Ugaritic usage, which is interpreted as meaning “surely.” We have no examples in Hebrew of such a usage!
It also requires that the well known and common verb yd’ (to know) be treated as a hypothetical verb meaning to flow, which would either be in the wrong person (third person) or it would have to be an alternative meaning of yd’ that is not known to exist anywhere in Hebrew literature.
Dahood’s freedom with the text is rivaled only by Eugene Peterson and others on the lunatic fringe of Bible pseudo-translating. In my younger days, in addition to the originals, I read several translations each of the Qur’an, Upanishads, Bhagavat Gita, the Vedas, and Gilgamesh. In no other language, and for no other religious text, have I seen liberties taken with the original language texts in the way that I have seen with both books of the Bible. Translators of these false scriptural and mythological texts almost invariably strive to present honest translations based on what is actually written in the original texts. The liberties that modern Bible “translators” have taken with the Old and New Testaments not only mock God, but they mock the very concept of scholarship. There is a good reason for this discrepancy. The devil has great reason to fear God’s Word being presented accurately; it does not hamper his cause in the least if the texts of false religions are presented accurately.
Other pathetic renderings of this verse include the NAB’s confusing “To avoid the foolish man, take steps! But knowing lips, one meets with by surprise.” Aside from having no meaning, this mess has little relation to the Hebrew.
The ever silly CEV has: “Stay away from fools, or you won’t learn a thing.” Similarly the equally silly NLT has “Stay away from fools, for you won’t find knowledge there.” This is good advice that readers of the CEV and the NLT should follow when they are reading these works of fools, but it is not what the Bible says in these verses.
Not surprisingly, even though the second clause is not particularly challenging, every modern version that I have examined botched it. Perhaps, when they looked at this verse a nerve was struck and they felt the need to protect themselves and their investment by altering it. That may work with a gullible and dumbed down populace, but it will not help them when they are forced to bow their knees before Christ on judgment day.
John Hinton, Ph.D.
Bible Restoration Ministry
A ministry seeking the translating and reprinting of KJV equivalent
Bibles in all the languages of the world.