"A prudent man sees evil and hides himself, the naive proceed and pay the penalty"
This is the Hebrew word orem which means prudent, crafty, subtle, etc. A word that may sum up what this word is trying to convey is strategic. The idea of prudence is to have a goal and a plan to get there and be clever enough to know when to change the plan in order to accomplish the goal.
This particular proverb states that the person who is prudent or strategic is aware of the evil or calamitous situation and plans a way to avoid it. The naive or simple person does not in any way plan to avoid the difficulty or evil that is coming.
The strategic person says, “If I say this then, they will say that, and it will start a big fight so I won't say the thing I was going to say.” The strategic person says, “If I spend this amount of money on this thing I want then I won't have the money I need to do this other thing over here. So I won't spend the money on my desire so that I will be able to have money to accomplish this other more important thing.”
This is the Hebrew word raah which means misery, evil, distress, or grief.
The strategic person thinks through the difficulties, grief, misery that is coming. There is nothing that you can do about it. Business downturn, death of a loved one, weather, mechanical breakdown, problem people, etc. There are just things that will happen that are very problematic and difficult. Have you thought through contingencies for these or do you just blunder into them and try and work your way out? Solomon says that the strategic person anticipates that they are coming and finds a way to protect oneself or hide oneself from them.
What are the evils that could be barreling down on you right now? How have you hidden yourself from them, planned for them, and therefore mitigated against their blow to your life?
Clearly this involves protecting oneself from the trouble that is coming. It does not necessarily mean hiding as in separating from or removing oneself from involvement with as some within the Christian church have suggested.
How does one protect oneself from the evils of the world around them?