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“A fool also multiplies words. No man knows what is to be; who can tell him what will be after him?” Ecclesiastes 10:14

“The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd.”

Ecclesiastes 12:11

Through an email, my friend Jim Wilson introduced me to the world of Paraprosdokians. That’s a mouthful!

Looking up a definition for that word, I found that a paraprosdokian is a “figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected. It is frequently used for humor or dramatic effect. For this reason it is extremely popular among comedians and satirists.” Here are some examples that Jim sent me:

1. Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.

2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it’s still on the list.

3. Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

4. If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.

5. War does not determine who is right – only who is left.

6. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

7. Evening news is where they begin with “Good evening!” and then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.

8. Some people are like Slinkies . . . not really good for anything, but you can’t help smiling when you see one tumble down the stairs.

9. Whenever I fill out an application, in the part that says, “In case of emergency, notify…” I put DOCTOR.

10. Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check it out when you say the paint is wet?

11. Some people cause happiness wherever they go. Others, whenever they go.

12. I used to be indecisive. Now, I’m not sure.

13. Why do Americans choose a president from just two people, and from 50 for Miss America?

14. I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.

15. I’m supposed to respect my elders, but it’s getting harder and harder for me to find someone older than me.

The words of a paraprosdokian treat us to an interesting way to understand the power of words. An example of this in the Bible would be Psalm 55:21: “The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords.”

In Ecclesiastes, Solomon speaks of the words of FOOLS and the words of the WISE.

“A fool also multiplies words. No man knows what is to be; who can tell him what will be after him?” Ecclesiastes 10:14

Of this verse, John Gill writes: “A fool is very talkative, says the same thing over and over again; uses an abundance of words that have no meaning; utters everything that comes without any order or judgment; and, talks on every subject, whether he knows anything of it or not. No one knows what the fool is talking about. His words are noisy, confused, and incoherent.”

On the other hand, “The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails . . .” (Ecclesiastes 12:11).

And of this verse, John Gill offers these comments: “The words of the wise are like ‘goads’, sharp pointed sticks or staves, with which men push and prick their cattle, when driving them from place to place, or ploughing with them: and of a similar use are the doctrines of the word, when attended with a divine efficacy; these are a means of pricking sinners to the heart; and of laying open their vileness and sinfulness to them; and of repentance and contrition; and of awakening them from a sleep in sin to a sense of their danger. And these are also of use to the saints, as goads, to stir them up, when slothful, to the discharge of duty; and to awaken them, when drowsy, out of their carnal security; and to correct them for their faults, by sharp reproofs and rebukes; as well as to excite them to go on to perfection, who are apt to sit still and lie down; and to direct them to walk straight on, without turning to the right hand or left.

“The words of the wise are also like the truths and doctrines of the word. When as nails, driven into anything, fasten what they are drove into; so these are the means of fastening souls; of causing them to cleave to God and Christ; to the church, and his people, and to one another; and to the Gospel, and their profession of it.”

Ecclesiastes implies the author, Solomon, is either a teacher or preacher. The first verse of chapter one states: “The words of the Preacher…” Perhaps the whole book could be referred to as a paraprosdokian, as we don’t expect the ending that he gives us. In many of the chapters he preaches to us about the “meaningless of earthly things.” But in chapter 12, he surprises us when he gives us the meaningful conclusion of the whole matter: “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all [the whole duty of man].” Solomon may have acted foolishly at times in his life, but he speaks here as a wise man. So, may we heed his words. -Bro. Jerry

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Parkside baptist church




301 North Lillis Lane

Denison, Texas  75020

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Friday                        8:00am - 12:00pm

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