Proverbs 19:8

He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.
– Proverbs 19:8

The word for wisdom here means heart and is sometimes translated mind, or understanding. It can be thought of as good sense. The word for understanding refers to ability to discern and distinguish between (1 Kings 3:9). Though wisdom brings many benefits, acquiring wisdom is its own reward (Proverbs 8:35-36). The proverb means you do yourself well by seeking, acquiring, and retaining wisdom (Proverbs 3:18).

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Proverbs 18:2

A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.
– Proverbs 18:2

This proverb amplifies the point of Proverbs 17:28. Fools are described as having little to no control over their tongues throughout Proverbs, and this lack of control easily marks them a fool before others. The word for delight means to take pleasure, or we could say, inclination. The word for understanding means intelligence, but not innate mental capacity. It refers more to the skill of discernment, to distinguish between. Solomon instructs his son to seek it diligently as searching for hidden treasure (Proverbs 2:1-5). To acquire understanding, one has to humble himself to be instructed (Proverbs 5:1). Acquiring understanding is also a spiritual issue, since you must begin with the fear of the Lord and comprehend that understanding comes “out of his mouth” (Proverbs 2:5-6), i.e., God’s word (Matthew 4:4). Acquiring understanding is impossible independent of, or contrary to, God (Proverbs 21:30).

The fool has no delight in the instruction and correction of wisdom. Rather his joy rests in speaking his own thoughts and feelings. The word for heart often means mind, but the context is appropriate to say thoughts and feelings. The word for discover itself means to expose, or uncover. The fool doesn’t want to be taught, but is rather always waiting for opportunities to empty his emotional bucket (Proverbs 15:2). Fools have no joy in life until they’ve exposed themselves in some manner (Proverbs 13:16), and Solomon elsewhere described them as always advertising their folly (Ecclesiastes 10:3).

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Proverbs 17:24

Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.
– Proverbs 17:24

Solomon repeatedly told his son to hear instruction of wisdom, in order to gain wisdom, in the opening fatherly addresses of Proverbs. A man of understanding pursues wisdom and keeps it before him in the sense of concentrating on instruction (Proverbs 15:14; 18:15). The fool is not fixed on the instruction of wisdom. He has no sense of the value of it, nor the patient and diligent search required to obtain it (Proverbs 17:16; 2:3-5).

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Proverbs 16:22

Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly.
– Proverbs 16:22

The word for understanding means prudence, or good sense. It appears several times in Proverbs and throughout the Old Testament. It was the word used to describe Abigail in 1 Samuel 25:3. We would say she had a good head on her shoulders. Practical wisdom is a life giving blessing (Proverbs 3:22; 14:30), as wellspring of life indicates (Proverbs 10:11; 13:14; 14:27; 18:4). The second phrase is a contrast to the life giving blessing of wisdom. The word for instruction means chastisement, or reproof. Such correction coming from fools is useless, worthless (Proverbs 15:2, 28). If we press the antithetical parallel further, rather than giving life, folly leads to destruction and death (Proverbs 5:23; 14:1).

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Proverbs 15:32

He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.
– Proverbs 15:32

The word for instruction means discipline and it is the tutelage of wisdom. To refuse it is to harm oneself (Proverbs 8:33-36). The word for heareth means to hear intelligently, or listen attentively. To hear reproof is to acquire and grow in wisdom (Proverbs 15:14; 18:15). It is a mark of the wise to receive reproof and grow in wisdom (Proverbs 9:9-10; 17:10; 19:25). It is not that the wise enjoy reproof or correction, but it has its intended effect and they rejoice in gained wisdom (Proverbs 21:11; Hebrews 12:11).

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Proverbs 15:21

Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly.
– Proverbs 15:21

Foolishness in Proverbs is a choice, or it is a consequence of rejecting wisdom’s instruction and correction. This proverb identifies folly as joy to those who are destitute of wisdom, or without understanding. Fools delight in folly as a sport and pleasure (Proverbs 10:23; 14:9). The word for understanding means intelligence and reason. It describes one who is skilled in discernment. The word for upright means straight, or direct. The discerning ones deliberately choose the way that is good (Proverbs 14:16; 16:17). This is a man who has good sense and considers the end (Proverbs 22:3).

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Proverbs 15:14

The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness.
– Proverbs 15:14

The word for seeketh means to search out and indicates a deliberate search. The word for knowledge means cunning, perception, and discernment. Proverbs presents wisdom as accessible to all (Proverbs 8:1-11; 9:1-6), but acquired only by those who seek for it (Proverbs 2:1-6). One of the marks of wisdom is to continue to seek for wisdom (Proverbs 1:5; 9:9). The contrast speaks of feeding on foolishness rather than seeking wisdom. The word for feedeth means to pasture, or graze. The word for fools is the most common word in Proverbs for fools. The word means stupid and obstinate. The usage in Proverbs shows the word describes one who chooses the way of folly and not one who is mentally impaired. The fool gobbles up foolishness and spews it out freely (Proverbs 15:2). The fool has no heart or patience for acquiring wisdom (Proverbs 17:6, 24). He prefers his easy foolishness so much he returns to it like a dog to its own vomit (Proverbs 26:11).

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Proverbs 14:33

Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding: but that which is in the midst of fools is made known.
– Proverbs 14:33

The word for resteth means to settle down or repose. The heart, or mind, of him who has discernment retains a store of wisdom. In light of the parallel, the first phrase also indicates that wisdom is held within with reserve and quietness, not boasting. The contrast points to the fools who thoughtlessly pour out what they believe is wisdom but is actually foolishness (Proverbs 12:16, 23; 13:16; 15:2, 28; 29:11). Solomon elsewhere noted that a fool’s words and actions continually identifies him as a fool (Ecclesiastes 10:3).

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Proverbs 14:29

He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.
– Proverbs 14:29

Being slow to wrath is a mark of wisdom as self-control (James 3:17; Proverbs 16:32). Here the man is of great understanding, or intelligence. The phrase hasty of spirit means short of breath. It indicates one who is impatient and rash in words and actions. Such a man lacks self-control and particularly over his anger. This is a mark of folly, or lack of wisdom (Proverbs 14:17; 25:28; Ecclesiastes 7:9). The word for exalteth means to raise up and it here refers to a public display. Elsewhere, Solomon noted that fools promote shame (Proverbs 3:35). This proverb is one place that links patience with wisdom, so the implication is to grow in patience we must grow in wisdom.

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