Talking when we should not say anything is something that can keep us from a world of trouble. Most of us, myself included, have a difficult time restraining our words. This is especially the case when we are being provoked or treated unjustly. Those are the times when we are tempted to speak - and to speak out of emotion and anything other than a
"cool spirit" as mentioned here. Wisdom tells us that it is better to use few words than many. Wisdom tells us to use no words at all when we are angry and bitter. Wisdom reminds us that such words are usually spoken out of our flesh rather than having the Holy Spirit empowered self-control that is needed.
We are told that a man of insight and discernment - a man who knows as he should and who understands things well - that man will hold back words. He will restrain himself from speaking and from saying what comes to his mind. He may want to say something, but wisdom tells him to keep his thoughts to Himself. The reason for this is found in the second half of today's proverb. He maintains a cool spirit. The word for "cool" here is the Hebrew word "qar" which means to be cool or even-tempered. The word refers to a cold refreshing drink of water - which was though to soothe the soul of the one who drank it. In the arid, hot middle east - such a drink would truly refresh the soul and cool the heat of the moment. The wise man maintains a cool spirit and does not allow provocation and rage to send him over the edge emotionally.
Such a man is one who has understanding. He understands that such outbursts do nothing to calm a situation. He understands that one act of anger and agression usually leads to another. Circumsntances like this can cause a man or woman to lose their temper and result in far worse damage and grief than just remaining quiet. Jesus was abused before the Roman rulers, the Jewish rulers, and the entire Sanhedrin - yet He held His tongue through it all. It is one of the most amazing displays of self-control ever known to mankind. The result of His self-control was the salvation of mankind. He said in the garden that God would make 12 legions of angels available to Him. But He never reacted - and maintained a cool spirit. He fulfilled God's purposes in the crucifixion, even though such purposes demanded several ridiculously illegal trials. He also fulfilled a prophecy that said he would be like a sheep silent before its shearers (Isaiah 53:7).
Many in our day think a powerful man is one who demands his rights and does not take anything from anyone. It takes no real strength to be a fool after this order. This fits perfectly with the fall of man and the conduct that such men carry out daily. The powerful man is the one who can exercise great self-control in the face of problems and even terrible miscarriages of justice. Such self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit who works powerfully to grant a man such strength to keep his mouth shut. Such a man also shows by his silence the wisdom of his actions and heart - rather than the other man who speaks rashly and proves to all around him that he is nothing more than a fool.