The “fool” is one of the most frequently mentioned characters in Proverbs. While we use a single word in English, it comes from a number of words in Hebrew.
This one is the person who has a complete lack of understanding about what’s going on around him or her.
“It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury,” that is, live in “pleasantness” or “charm.” I’ll suggest the translation “live soft.” This line says fools living in luxury is not “pretty” “beautiful” or “lovely” — it’s “not cool!”
The reason it’s “not cool” is because this “fool” has no understanding of the “luxury” of his or her situation. They can’t appreciate it, use it well or even really enjoy it. The same thing is said about “fools” and “honor” (Proverbs 26:1).
In another realm, playwright George Bernard Shaw said something similar, “Youth is wasted on the young!” I sure wish I could have had a mulligan on my younger years!
The second line of this wise saying offers a similar sentiment, “how much worse for a slave to rule over princes.”
Today, in America, we’re sensitized to the concept of “slavery,” and rightly so. But the Hebrew term so translated here stretches in meaning from “bond-slave” (owned by another) to “servant” to “one under authority” to “worshiper.”
Proverbs also says “a prudent servant (same word) will rule (same word) over a disgraceful son and will share the inheritance as one of the family” (17:2). Both sayings note the disaster when one is not capable or adequately prepared to be in charge.
I suppose, for me, the message is — appreciate where we are and what we have today! Also, I should prepare myself for all my God-called possibilities in the future!