This is another of the “better…than” wise saying comparisons, yet the direct connection between the two poetic statements isn’t particularly clear. The first line discusses “the poor whose walk is blameless.”
There is nothing either morally wrong or virtuous about being poor. But when the character of the poor is “blameless” they are in a pretty good place – “better…than” lots of others.
It is the “fool” to whom this blameless poor person is compared here. By Biblical definition, the “fool” has rejected God in the world and, more specifically, in his life (Psa 14:1).
In addition, this is a fool “whose lips are perverse.” Actually it’s not much of a leap to go from a place where God doesn’t matter to a place where I feel free to say anything I want to anyone I want.
While these two characters, as described in this verse, don’t seem to connect, they do offer a significant contrast. The poor would tend to not be respected or appreciated in general. But it is hard to not appreciate anyone living blamelessly day by day.
In contrast are the crooked words of the fool, who almost everyone would have a hard time appreciating. His character sets him up for not-so-desirable life situations – although, admittedly, he may like it that way.
Regardless, it would be “better” to be many other things “than” to be him! And, thankfully, all of us have the opportunity to make such a choice every day – one day at a time!