Proverbs 27:12

A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and and are punished.
– Proverbs 27:12

This saying is the same as Proverbs 22:3, and captures a key teaching about wisdom in the book of Proverbs. The prudent man is contrasted with the simple. Their outcomes are different in that the prudent are hidden from calamity and the simple suffer a penalizing consequence. The word for prudent means shrewd and applies to the ability to make plans. The word for simple means naive, or insensible. The different outcomes are because the prudent looks ahead and perceives problems and the simple plunge forward thoughtlessly and carelessly.




Proverbs 22:3

A prudent man foreseeth evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.
– Proverbs 22:3

The word for prudent means shrewd, or sensible. The word can be used negatively in terms of crooked schemes, as seen in the three uses outside of Proverbs (Genesis 3:1; Job 5:12; 15:5). The word is used positively in Proverbs to refer to planning ability. Such wisdom is the result of receiving instruction, correction, and training. The prudent man has learned to look to the end of the way. He sees the potential for calamity and takes refuge from it. The word for simple means silly, or naïve. They plunge forward in life with little or no thought about what lies ahead. The word for punishment means penalty and here indicates the simple have to pay for their mistakes. Put plainly, the simple lack wisdom, but there is hope for the simple, if they will learn wisdom (Proverbs 1:2-5; 8:5; 9:4-6).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 18:15

The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.
– Proverbs 18:15

The word for knowledge means understanding, or learning. Getting and seeking knowledge means it can be increased. Our understanding and learning can, and should, grow. The proverb’s punch is in the seeming paradox. The prudent and the wise are seeking knowledge. The modern utilitarian mind wonders why they would do that if they are already wise and prudent. The word for prudent has to do with separating, or making distinctions. The word for wise means shrewd, skillful, or crafty. The first means having discernment—the ability to sort out the things learned. The second means being able to figure things out and make plans. They are continually looking and listening to acquire learning (Proverbs 1:5; 9:9; 15:14). Fools are only interested in what they think they need to know (Proverbs 14:6; 18:2; 26:12).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 16:21

The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning.
– Proverbs 16:21

Being called prudent means the wise are recognized for their wisdom. The word for prudent means discernment and reflects the ability to distinguish things in the mind to arrive at accurate perception and understanding. The prudent are able to understand dark sayings and difficult words (Proverbs 1:5-6). His way is thoughtful and examined, and so he perceives and avoids danger (Proverbs 14:8, 15-16). The word for sweetness means pleasantness. It could be thought of as eloquence, but since it increaseth learning, it is more likely something well-stated. The word for learning means teaching and includes the idea of persuasiveness. The summary truth of the proverb is that men known for wisdom will have influence with their words. They are worth paying attention to (Proverbs 16:23; 1:5; 8:33; 19:20; 22:17; 23:19).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 15:5

A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.
– Proverbs 15:5

Proverbs teaches wisdom is had by instruction and correction (Proverbs 1:2-4, 23). The prudent, or wise, will heed it (Proverbs 1:5; 9:9). The fool despiseth, or scorns, sound correction and instruction (Proverbs 10:1; 13:1). They will not hear wise counsel (Proverbs 1:7; 10:8; 12:15) and they mock sin (Proverbs 14:9). Referring to his father’s instruction shows his foolishness early on (Proverbs 22:15), which can lead to an irremediable scoffing fool (Proverbs 27:22). This proverb also reveals character by how we respond to correction and instruction.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 14:18

The simple inherit folly: but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
– Proverbs 14:18

The word for inherit means to acquire and it speaks of the reward to the simple. The simple man is easily led astray. If not corrected, he progresses in his simplicity until he fully possesses folly (Proverbs 19:25; 1:32). On the other hand, the prudent grow in wisdom until they are compassed with knowledge (Proverbs 3:35; 4:7-9). The word for crowned means to encircle round. It’s uncertain if the meaning is an ornament, but it definitely speaks to the reward of wisdom. The good news is the simple are called upon to come to wisdom (Proverbs 9:4-6). Those who do are prudent and gain the reward of wisdom (Proverbs 9:9-11).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 14:15

The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.
– Proverbs 14:15

Verses 15-17 speak directly to wisdom and folly, while verse 18 speaks to the reward to each. This proverb contrasts the gullibility of the simple with the discernment of the prudent. The simple thoughtlessly take in what they hear and are easily led astray. To him it is all in good fun (Proverbs 15:21). The naïveté of the simple leads them to trouble (Proverbs 22:3). The word for prudent means shrewd and can be negative or positive given the context. It can refer negatively to schemes, or positively to making plans. His character is described here as discerning, so he proceeds cautiously (Proverbs 4:26; 14:8). Because he looks ahead with discernment, he can foresee evil and avoid it (Proverbs 27:12).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 14:8

The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit.
– Proverbs 14:8

Wisdom is to understand, which means to separate mentally. The prudent shows wisdom in examining his way. He considers well and chooses carefully his way (Proverbs 2:9; 14:15). The word for deceit means a fraud or treachery. This is the way of fools (Proverbs 11:18). They search for short-cuts and back doors. They are quick to use deceit to gain their ends, so they go in a false way.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 13:16

Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open his folly.
– Proverbs 13:16

The prudent man looks well to his way and discerns dangers and pitfalls (Proverbs 22:3). Thus he can be said to deal, or make his way, with knowledge, or discernment. This proverb reveals a wise discernment of character. The prudent will be known by their doings, as will the fool. The fool layeth open, or displays his folly. The imagery presented is of a peddler spreading out his merchandise for full view to passersby. A fool’s actions will show him to be a fool, just as the wise are known the same way (Proverbs 12:23; 15:2).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Next Page »