In Proverbs 17:7 we understand Solomon to say, “Lies do not become a nobleman.” Perhaps, a more literal translation might read: “too much talking is not attractive for a fool, as it is equally so that the nobleman will not disappoint when they speak.” But why these words? Who is “noble”? What “lies” and who is a “fool”?
The Hebrew for “lying” speaks to all forms of deception. In the Bible this word describes the unreliability of the heathen gods made of wood and stone to whom supplication was made in vain (Jeremiah 10:14). Any devotee who prays to a pagan statue will be disappointed. Lies always disappoint!
The Hebrew term “noble” [translated ruler or prince] is spoken of one who is generous, who offers freely of his resources, or who volunteers himself to the service of another. He is a good Samaritan. His offerings to God are spontaneous and wholehearted—called free-will offerings. In the Biblical narrative this was apparently considered “noble” or what should characterize nobility. Thus, a ruler or prince among the people is one who is “generous as well as just.” The Dictionary concluded someone is “noble of rank and by implication [noble of] character.”
The “fool” is an ignoble, arrogant or insolent person who treasures his wealth over any opportunity to help another—riches often gained through [if I may] ignoble means. Jeremiah defines this kind of fool [NIV 17:11] “Like a partridge that hatches eggs it did not lay… who gain riches by unjust means. … and in the end they will [be] prove[n] to be fools.”
The miser is a constant provocation to the Divine Heart (Psalm 74:22) because they do not believe in Him (Psalm 14:1; 53:1) nor represent Him before others. A just or righteous man will be generous with his or her “good fortune.” He or she is no hoarder of wealth. Isaiah 32:6 told us that, “The fool is a hypocrite, and misrepresents the heart of God toward the poor and needy. They leave the hungry empty and the thirsty man in his thirst.” A person who is truly noble cannot turn away from the needs so obvious to him or her.
The Parable of the Rich Fool
Nothing explains this better than Jesus’ words [Luke 12:20-21]
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
Matthew 25:34-40 perhaps, says it best:
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’