It takes wisdom to understand the origins of strife. The Scriptures tell us that one source of strife is anger. “A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife” (Prov. 15:18). But often this is missed because the one who vents his anger succeeds in browbeating people into a lack of immediate response. A wife is emotionally clubbed and cudgeled for fifteen years before the strife finally appears. A father angrily badgers his children-provoking them to wrath–but often such a father doesn’t see his sin as the cause of the problem because his anger simply lit a long fuse. When the explosion happens years later, he does not see that it was many years of his wrath that stirred up the strife.
In this proverb, we see two antithetical attitudes that represent two kinds of men–the foolish and the wise. The angry fool stirs up strife the way an industrious cook works over his pot. A wise man is slow to anger, and consequently is hard to draw into strife. In all this, of course, the tongue is central.