ESV - 3 By the mouth of a fool comes a rod for his back, but the lips of the wise will preserve them.
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"Them" refers to the wise. Note the nouns: "fool" (singular) and "wise" (plural in Hebrew). Now note the pronouns: "his" (singular) and "them" (plural). Match the singulars and plurals—"them" refers to "the wise."
"but the lips of the wise will preserve them." Most times the conjunction "but" is used to make a strong contrast, opposites. Light-good, darkness-evil, in other words. The "flip-side". I strongly believe them is referring to the wise.
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