Proverbs 1:5

A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:
– Proverbs 1:5

Hear means to hear intelligently or with attention. It is similar to the way we might distinguish between hearing a sound and listening to a sound. The first is merely auditory reception but the second points to perception or understanding. It is to listen with a discerning ear and is a mark of a wise man. The wise will listen attentively and as a result, increase their learning.

Counsel refers to guidance. The wise man is a man of understanding who will receive and heed good, wise counsel. Contrariwise, the fool is one who will not listen or receive counsel, though it comes from multiple wise sources (Proverbs 12:15; 26:12, 16).

This verse is an example of the layering common in the Proverbs. By sketching a wise man we also have a sketch of the fool if we consider the reverse image. One of the layers common in Proverbs is to teach us insight into character. So where we have a man or woman who will not receive or listen to counsel from anyone, we know we are dealing with a fool.

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