Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.
Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; When he closes his lips, he is considered prudent.
Even fools are thought to be wise when they keep silent; when they keep their mouths shut, they seem intelligent.
Even dunces who keep quiet are thought to be wise; as long as they keep their mouths shut, they're smart.
Even the foolish man, when he keeps quiet, is taken to be wise: when his lips are shut he is credited with good sense.
Even fools who keep silent are considered wise; when they close their lips, they are deemed intelligent.
Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive.
|NET © [draft] ITL|
|NET © Notes||
1 tn The imperfect tense here denotes possibility: One who holds his tongue [may be considered] discerning.
2 tn The Niphal participle is used in the declarative/estimative sense with stative verbs: “to be discerning” (Qal) becomes “to be declared discerning” (Niphal). The proverb is teaching that silence is one evidence of wisdom, and that even a fool can thereby appear wise. D. Kidner says that a fool who takes this advice is no longer a complete fool (Proverbs [TOTC], 127). He does not, of course, become wise – he just hides his folly.