Proverbs 14:18
The simple inherit folly: but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
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(18) The simple inherit folly.—As weeds spring up in unoccupied soil, so “simple” (Proverbs 1:22) persons, whose minds are unoccupied with good, often become self-willed; while the knowledge which the “prudent” gain by looking well to their steps (Proverbs 14:15) adorns them as a crown.

Proverbs 14:18. The simple inherit folly — Possess it as their inheritance, or portion; holding it fast, improving it, and delighting in it; but the prudent are crowned with knowledge — They place their honour and happiness in a sound, practical, and saving knowledge of God, and of their duty; and therefore earnestly pursue it, and heartily embrace it.

14:18. Sin is the shame of sinners; but wisdom is the honour of the wise. 19. Even bad men acknowledge the excellency of God's people. 20. Friendship in the world is governed by self-interest. It is good to have God our Friend; he will not desert us. 21. To despise a man for his employment or appearance is a sin. 22. How wisely those consult their own interest, who not only do good, but devise it! 23. Labour of the head, or of the hand, will turn to some good account. But if men's religion runs all out in talk and noise, they will come to nothing. 24. The riches of men of wisdom and piety enlarge their usefulness. 25. An upright man will venture the displeasure of the greatest, to bring truth to light. 26,27. Those who fear the Lord so as to obey and serve him, have a strong ground of confidence, and will be preserved. Let us seek to this Fountain of life, that we may escape the snares of death. 28. Let all that wish well to the kingdom of Christ, do what they can, that many may be added to his church. 29. A mild, patient man is one that learns of Christ, who is Wisdom itself. Unbridled passion is folly made known. 30. An upright, contented, and benevolent mind, tends to health. 31. To oppress the poor is to reproach our Creator. 32. The wicked man has his soul forced from him; he dies in his sins, under the guilt and power of them. But godly men, though they have pain and some dread of death, have the blessed hope, which God, who cannot lie, has given them. 33. Wisdom possesses the heart, and thus regulates the affections and tempers. 34. Piety and holiness always promote industry, sobriety, and honesty. 35. The great King who reigns over heaven and earth, will reward faithful servants who honour his gospel by the proper discharge of the duties of their stations: he despises not the services of the lowest.Crowned - The teacher anticipates the truth, and the paradox, of the Stoic saying, "The wise is the only king." 18. inherit—as a portion (compare Pr 3:35).

are crowned—literally, "are surrounded with it," abound in it.

Inherit folly; they possess it as their inheritance or portion, holding it fast, improving it, delighting and glorying in it. In like manner David took God’s

testimonies for his heritage, Psalm 119:111, where the word is the same; withal he may imply that folly is natural and hereditary to them.

Are crowned with knowledge; they place their honour and happiness in a sound, and practical, and saving knowledge of God, and of their own duty, and therefore earnestly pursue after it, and heartily embrace it.

The simple inherit folly,.... It is natural and hereditary to them, they are born like wild asses colts; the foolish sayings and proverbs, customs and practices, of their ancestors, though they have been demonstrated to be mere folly, yet these, their posterity, approve them; they love, like, and retain them as their patrimony, Job 11:12. Such are the foolish traditions, customs, principles, and doctrines, of the church of Rome, handed down from father to son; and because Popery is the religion they have been bred and brought up in, though so foolish and absurd, they will not relinquish it;

but the prudent are crowned with knowledge; natural, civil, and spiritual, especially the latter; evangelical knowledge, the knowledge of Christ, and of God in Christ, and of Gospel truths; they are honoured with an acquaintance with them; and they esteem the knowledge of these above all things else, and reckon all things else but loss and dung in comparison of them; they are as a crown unto them, and the knowledge of them is the way to the crown of life; yea, is itself life eternal, Philippians 3:8. Or, they "crown themselves with knowledge" (p); they labour after it, pursue it with eagerness, follow on to know the Lord, and attain to a large share of it; surround, encompass, and lay hold upon it, and gird themselves about with this girdle of truth. Or, "they crown knowledge" (q); do honour to that, by putting it in practice; by adding to it temperance, and every virtue, and by bringing others to it; and are an ornament to it in their lives and conversation; they adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour.

(p) "imponent coronam sibi scientiam", Montanus; "coronant se scientia", Piscator, so Ben Melech. (q) "Coronabunt scientiam", Baynus; "ornant scientiam", Drusius.

The simple inherit folly: but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
Verse 18. - The simple inherit folly. The credulous simpleton naturally falls into possession of folly, feeds upon it, and enjoys it. The LXX. regards the simple as communicating their folly to others, and translates, "Fools will divide malice." But the prudent are crowned with knowledge; put on knowledge as a crown of glory, in accordance with the Stoic saying, quoted in the 'Speaker's Commentary,' "The wise is the only king." Nowack thinks the above translation and the idea alike belong to later times, and prefers to render, "The prudent embrace knowledge," which is parallel to the sentiment of ver. 6. The word is found only in Psalm 142:8, where it is translated either "shall compass me about" or "crown themselves through me." The Vulgate has expectabunt, i.e. "wait for it patiently," as the fruit of labour and perseverance. Septuagint, "The wise shall get possession of (κρατήσουσιν) knowledge." Proverbs 14:1818 The simple have obtained folly as an inheritance;

     But the prudent put on knowledge as a crown.

As a parallel word to נחלוּ, יכתּרוּ (after the Masora defective), also in the sense of Arab. âkthar, multiplicare, abundare (from Arab. kathura, to be much, perhaps

(Note: According to rule the Hebr. ש becomes in Arab. ṯ, as in Aram. ת; but kthar might be from ktar, an old verb rarely found, which derivata with the idea of encircling (wall) and of rounding (bunch) point to.)

properly comprehensive, encompassing), would be appropriate, but it is a word properly Arabic. On the other hand, inappropriate is the meaning of the Heb.-Aram. כּתּר, to wait (properly waiting to surround, to go round any one, cf. manere aliquem or aliquod), according to which Aquila, ἀναμενούσιν, and Jerome, expectabunt. Also הכתּיר, to encompass in the sense of to embrace (lxx κρατήσουσιν), does not suffice, since in the relation to נחלו one expects an idea surpassing this. Certainly there is a heightening of the idea in this, that the Hiph. in contradistinction to נחל would denote an object of desire spontaneously sought for. But far stronger and more pointed is the heightening of the idea when we take יכתרו as the denom. of כּרת (Gr. κίταρις, κίδαρις, Babyl. כדר, cudur, cf. כּדּוּר, a rounding, sphaera). Thus Theodotion, στεφθήσονται. The Venet. better actively, ἐστέψαντο (after Kimchi: ישׂימו הדעת ככתר על ראשם), the Targ., Jerome, Luther (but not the Syr., which translates נחלו by "to inherit," but יכתרו by μεριοῦνται, which the lxx has for נחלו). The bibl. language has also (Psalm 142:8) הכתיר in the denom. signification of to place a crown, and that on oneself; the non-bibl. has מכתיר (like the bibl. מעטיר) in the sense of distributor of crowns,

(Note: Vid., Wissenschaft, Kunst, Judenthum (1838), p. 240.)

and is fond of the metaphor כתר הדעת, crown of knowledge. With those not self-dependent (vid., regarding the plur. form of פּתי, p. 56), who are swayed by the first influence, the issue is, without their willing it, that they become habitual fools: folly is their possession, i.e., their property. The prudent, on the contrary, as Proverbs 14:15 designates them, have thoughtfully to ponder their step to gain knowledge as a crown (cf. העשׁיר, to gain riches, הפריח, 11b, to gain flowers, Gesen. 53, 2). Knowledge is to them not merely an inheritance, but a possession won, and as such remains with them a high and as it were a kingly ornament.

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