14:1 Every wise woman builds her household,
but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.
14:2 The one who walks in his uprightness fears the LORD,
but the one who is perverted in his ways despises him.
14:3 In the speech of a fool is a rod for his back,
but the words of the wise protect them.
14:4 Where there are no oxen, the feeding trough is clean,
but an abundant harvest is produced by strong oxen.
14:5 A truthful witness does not lie,
but a false witness breathes out lies.
14:6 The scorner seeks wisdom but finds none,
but understanding is easy for a discerning person.
14:7 Leave the presence of a foolish person,
or you will not understand wise counsel.

Leave the presence of a foolish person, or you will not understand wise counsel – NIV ‘Stay away from a foolish man, for you will not find knowledge on his lips.’

Fee and Stuart note that it is important for us not to misunderstand – and therefore misuse – wisdom writing.  In the case of this proverb: ‘Does this mean that followers of Jesus should choose not to associate with those who have mental disabilities or are uneducated or mentally ill? Of course not! That would indeed make fools of us in the more modern sense! In Proverbs, however, “fool” is basically a referent to someone whom today we might refer to as an “infidel”—the person who lives life according to selfish, indulgent whims and who acknowledges no higher authority than oneself. And the “staying away” is inextricably linked with the purpose (“for you will not find knowledge”). In other words, the proverb teaches that if you are seeking knowledge, you should not look for it in the “fool”—the one who lives life apart from God (Pss 14:1; 53:1).’ (How To Read The Bible For All Its Worth)

14:8 The wisdom of the shrewd person is to discern his way,
but the folly of fools is deception.
14:9 Fools mock at reparation,
but among the upright there is favor.
14:10 The heart knows its own bitterness,
and with its joy no one else can share.
14:11 The household of the wicked will be destroyed,
but the tent of the upright will flourish.
14:12 There is a way that seems right to a person,
but its end is the way that leads to death.
14:13 Even in laughter the heart may ache,
and the end of joy may be grief.
14:14 The backslider will be paid back from his own ways,
but a good person will be rewarded for his.
14:15 A naive person believes everything,
but the shrewd person discerns his steps.

A naive person believes everything

A student won first prize at a Science Fair.

He was attempting to show how conditioned we have become to alarmists practicing junk science and spreading fear of everything in our environment. In his project he urged people to sign a petition demanding strict control or a total ban on the chemical “dihydrogen monoxide.”

And for plenty of good reasons, since:

  1. It can cause excessive sweating and vomiting.
  2. It is a major component in acid rain.
  3. It can cause severe burns in its gaseous state.
  4. Accidental inhalation can kill you.
  5. It decreases the effectiveness of car brakes.
  6. It has been found in tumours of terminal cancer patients.

He asked 50 people if they supported a ban of the chemical. Forty-three said yes, six were undecided, and only one knew that the chemical was H20 (water).

The title of his prize winning project was, “How Gullible Are We?” He feels the conclusion is obvious.

(Source, lightly edited)

‘A simple man believes anything.’ (Proverbs 14:15)

14:16 A wise person is cautious and turns from evil,
but a fool throws off restraint and is overconfident.
14:17 A person who has a quick temper does foolish things,
and a person with crafty schemes is hated.
14:18 The naive inherit folly,
but the shrewd are crowned with knowledge.
14:19 Those who are evil will bow before those who are good,
and the wicked will bow at the gates of the righteous.
14:20 A poor person is disliked even by his neighbors,
but those who love the rich are many.
14:21 The one who despises his neighbor sins,
but whoever is kind to the needy is blessed.
14:22 Do not those who devise evil go astray?
But those who plan good exhibit faithful covenant love.
14:23 In all hard work there is profit,
but merely talking about it only brings poverty.
14:24 The crown of the wise is their riches,
but the folly of fools is folly.
14:25 A truthful witness rescues lives,
but the one who breathes lies brings deception.
14:26 In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence,
and it will be a refuge for his children.
14:27 The fear of the LORD is like a life-giving fountain,
to turn people from deadly snares.
14:28 A king’s glory is the abundance of people,
but the lack of subjects is the ruin of a ruler.
14:29 The one who is slow to anger has great understanding,
but the one who has a quick temper exalts folly.
14:30 A tranquil spirit revives the body,
but envy is rottenness to the bones.
14:31 The one who oppresses the poor insults his Creator,
but whoever shows favor to the needy honors him.
14:32 The wicked will be thrown down in his trouble,
but the righteous have refuge even in the threat of death.
14:33 Wisdom rests in the heart of the discerning;
it is known even in the heart of fools.
14:34 Righteousness exalts a nation,
but sin is a disgrace to any people.
14:35 The king shows favor to a wise servant,
but his wrath falls on one who acts shamefully.