The one who is slow to get angry possesses great understanding,
but the one who is easily angereda displays foolishness. Bible
Or, “hasty of spirit.”

“slow to get angry.” The Hebrew uses a beautiful concrete idiom, “long of nostrils.” The people in the biblical times were astute students of behavior, and when a person is angry his face squinches and his nose flares, making him somewhat “short of nose,” but a person who does not get angry quickly or easily does not squinch his face and is “long of nose.” The easily angered, short-nosed person is spoken of in Proverbs 14:17 (see commentary on Prov. 14:17). In contrast, Proverbs 14:29 mentions the person who is slow to anger and thus “long of nose.”

“easily angered.” The Hebrew text is more literally “hasty of spirit.” The Hebrew word “spirit,” ruach (#07307, רוּחַ), has a very large semantic range and can refer to a large number of things. In this case, it refers to the thoughts and emotions of the mind, in this context primarily being anger, something we can tell from the first stanza of the Proverb. However, it is important to be aware of the fact that “hasty of spirit” can refer to being hasty with our thoughts and emotions in many contexts. People who make quick and unwise emotional decisions also display foolishness, for example.

It is important in the study of God’s Word to become familiar with the large semantic range of ruach, spirit, because it includes things such as God in motion (“the spirit of God moved…”); wind; breath; the gift of holy spirit God put upon some people in the Old Testament; good spirit beings, evil spirit beings, the natural life of our fleshly bodies that is sometimes referred to as “soul;” the life force that will animate resurrected bodies in the future; and the activities of the mind including people’s thoughts, attitudes, and emotions. [For more on the usages of ruach, spirit, see Appendix 6, “Usages of ‘Spirit’”].

“displays.” The Hebrew word means to exalt or lift up, but the point is that folly is lifted up for all to see. It is displayed.

Commentary for: Proverbs 14:29