Proverbs 1:4

To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.
– Proverbs 1:4

Subtilty means trickery or shrewdness. It can be used positively or negatively. Here it is positive and so refers to discretion or prudence. It is what the simple are lacking. Simple means silly or foolish in the Proverbs and refers to one easily led astray. It comes from a root that means open, like a door or an empty room. It pictures one who lacks wisdom and is open to anything.

Knowledge means cunning or perception and is paired with discretion. The word for discretion means a purpose, plan, or plot. It can be used of a good plan or evil and so the context determines which. Here the discretion is good whereby the young man who attains it can wisely plan his way.

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