"Take my instruction and not silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold."
Solomon sets before us key choices that will come our way and advises us not to get sucked into the wrong choice that looks momentarily better but is really a dead end. All of us will be faced in our life with choices of learning key information or making money.
It may be presented as a job that pays okay versus going to college where you have to pay them. Choose college almost every time; it is the better deal in the long run.
It may come as the promotion or raise to do something you would hate versus learning a new skill, having time to balance life, and/or quality time with loved ones. Choose the new skill or balanced life over a promotion or pay raise almost every time.
This type of choice may come to you in terms of a get-rich-quick scheme that a friend is peddling, which you don't really understand, versus practicing diligence, limits, savings, or get-rich-slowly plans that you do understand.
This is the Hebrew word mosawr which means chastisement or correction or change. We must be open to constructive criticism even if it comes from a source that does not want our best. It is always hard to hear where we have messed up, but you must be open to it. Solomon says that constructive criticism is more valuable than a stack of gold.
One of the things that we continue to watch and try and stress to the kids is that they need to be able to take correction well. Even if you think the other person is all wrong, hear them out with kindness and gravity. But do not get into the habit of dismissing people who come at a situation differently than you or those who suggest that you might be the problem.
Another way to look at this is that the companies, churches, and organizations that move forward, ask people to rebuke them. They ask the question, "What could we improve on?" "How could we have served you better?" Many people do not give accurate helpful criticism because they do not believe anybody will listen or take their concern as an action item. Organizations that want to get better, get bigger, or serve more people, force themselves to listen to ways they could improve.
This is the Hebrew word daath which means information, skill, perception. This completes the couplet that is often found in Solomon's thinking. One must be able to take correction and hear new information without defensiveness or withdrawal. This Proverb is about not being willfully ignorant – I would just rather choose to get along than to really know how to handle this situation. This is how corruption in a company starts; how a government begins to take bribes and is no longer just for every person – when someone would rather take money, silver, or gold rather than truth; whether it fits their political direction or not.
Money, if you have it, will be spent but instruction and knowledge once it is used is more yours than before you used it. You grow more wisdom and knowledge the more you use the wisdom that you have. Use it, give it away, and you get more. It is not that way with money.