By Linda Seger, Th.D.
There are millions of Americans who are bewildered by the character of Donald Trump. Psychiatrists have analyzed him as a narcissist and egotist. Historians have analyzed him as one of the worst presidents and one of the worst leaders in American history. Some religious leaders, particularly Christian Democrats, have analyzed him as morally bankrupt. Republican Christians have either been silent about his flaws or treated him as an idol that must be kowtowed to or else he will fling his revenge on them through nasty tweets, name-calling, and being fired. Other Republican Christians have called him the finest Christian president in American history and The Chosen One by God, comparing him to Israelite kings who did God’s will – in one way or another.
I have pondered Trump’s lack of character and began to suspect that he might be what the Bible calls a Fool. This is a term often used in Proverbs, sometimes in Psalms as well as other books in the Hebrew Scriptures, and is also used in the New Testament.
What is a Fool? A fool is egotistical, prideful, and rash. He easily flies into a rage. (Proverbs 30:32). He is quarrelsome, quick tempered (Proverbs 17:27), hotheaded, insolent and conceited (Proverbs 14:16; 15:18). He is reactive and shows his annoyance immediately (Proverbs 12:16; 14:29; 29:11) and never overlooks an insult. He delights in airing his opinion (Proverbs 18:2) and can’t hold his tongue. He brags about himself, trusting only in himself (Proverbs 28:26). He expects special treatment and is jealous (Proverbs 27:4) and argues in order to win.
He becomes angry with those who contradict him or shame him or reprimand him (Proverbs 14:35; Proverbs 27:4). He mocks and ignores the opinions of others (Proverbs 14:35; 23:9). He speaks badly of others and slanders them (Proverbs 14:35). When confronted, he changes his story or says he was only joking (Proverbs 26:18 – 19).
He thinks the past is better than the present (Ecclesiastes 7:9). In Trump’s case, he is just as good at imagining the great past as he is at imagining the great future. But this is not where wisdom lies.
He thinks he is wise and smart (I Corinthians 3:18) but he actually lacks intelligence and understanding. He chatters. He gabbles. (Proverbs 10:8 – 10; 14). But his words lead to his own ruin. “His words have their origin in stupidity and their ending in treacherous folly.” (Ecclesiastes 10:12 – 14)
A fool is self-confident but close minded. He blames others and rejects responsibility. He holds grudges (Proverbs 27:3). He doesn’t listen to others (Proverbs 18:13). He despises knowledge and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7; Ecclesiastes 7:5) It’s a waste of time to try to talk to a fool or to instruct a fool or to think he will change.
A Fool chooses to be with other Fools. He spurns wisdom and turns away from the wise (Proverbs15:12.) It’s dangerous to keep company with a Fool, because those who might not have been fools before, learn the Fool’s behavior and are ensnared by him. (Proverbs 22:24-25). We see Trump’s “entourage” become Fools as they back pedal, compromise their integrity, change their stories, and stand silently by as misinformation and dangerous lies come spewing from the Fool’s mouth.
He lacks discernment, and tends to be gullible and latches onto any number of passing ideas. He thinks he knows everything. But a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.
A Fool is dangerous because he isn’t teachable. He doesn’t learn from his mistakes and repeats them. (Proverbs 23:9; 26:11). “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool reverts to his folly.” (Proverbs 26:11)
The Bible warns us about getting involved with the fool. A fool is “slow of heart to believe all the prophets have written”. (Luke 24). He ignores the warning signs and detests the voice of the wise who know what is coming. (Ezekiel 13:3). He is like the foolish maidens (Matthew 25:1-13) who are unprepared and not ready for the moment of decision or action.
The Book of Wisdom (found in the Apocrypha in the Catholic Bible) says, “In the greatest number of wise men lies the world’s salvation; in a sagacious king, the stability of a people.” (Wisdom 6:24-25). We are in desperate need of wisdom. Wisdom is being blocked daily and we are all the worse for being under the leadership of a Fool.
Other sources include:
Bible Study Tools/Salem Communications, “Fool in the Bible”
And some other Bible verses to look at are: Psalms: 49:6-11; 73:3-13; Proverbs 14:3; 28:26; 30:32
Ecclesiastes 5:3; 7:6; 10:12-14