Two passages illustrate this connection: Proverbs 14:29 and Ecclesiastes 7:9. In the former, Solomon declares, “Whoever is slow to anger [long of nostrils] has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.” The wise man knows that a hasty temper (literally, being “short of spirit”) is a celebration of foolishness, so when irritating circumstances arise, he seeks to keep his inner man in check—or, we might say, to keep his nostrils long. He “rules his spirit” (Prov. 16:32) rather than letting his spirit rule over him.
In Ecclesiastes 7:9, the Preacher writes, “Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools.” Again, the person whose heart rapidly rushes to anger and is easily irritated, whether at slight or significant provocations, is the epitome of the fool. Anger finds no rest in the heart of the wise, for saints put a prickly temper out on the street as soon as it raises its ugly head.
God connects slowness to anger and wisdom for many reasons. Consider the following to stimulate your meditation. First, being quick to anger is associated with pride, which is the essence of folly (see Prov. 8:13; 11:2; 16:18; 29:23). In the verse just before Ecclesiastes 7:9, we read of this coupling: “Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit [literally, the “long of spirit”] is better than the proud in spirit” (Ecc. 7:8). We grow angry because we pridefully think that we know best how things should be. When we believe that some event or process is taking too long and are unwilling to wait for the Lord to bring it to its appointed end in His time, our arrogant impatience easily leads to anger.