If a wise person goes to court with a fool, the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace.
The two central characters of Proverbs are once again discussed here – “a wise person” and “the fool.” But the focus of their interaction is “going to court” – some sort of legal judgment between the two where arbitration was expected.
While it isn’t totally clear from the verse who initiated the proceedings, the presumption is that the “wise person” isn’t doing anything inappropriate.
On the other hand, “the fool” displays emotions and actions in court which range from one extreme to another. He or she “rages and scoffs and there is no peace.” Although this should be understood as a serious legal proceeding, the fool displays anger on one hand and doesn’t take things seriously on the other.
Consequently, the result of this arbitration is that nothing of value happens – “there is no peace.” This verse suggests a wise person can be doing a right thing, but it may not lead to any clearly positive outcomes.
There are times when we need to count the cost before we go into some situations – and it might be better if we just stay home! But if we believe we should go ahead, it’s best that we’re also prepared for things to not turn out as we think they should.