Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 14:18
"The naive inherit foolishness, but the sensible are crowned with knowledge"
This is the Hebrew word pethi, which means simple or open-minded, naive. It carries with it a certain gullibility. This person does not have enough defensive filters against the selfishness of people. They remain too open and too trusting. They believe everything that people tell them without checking them out.
This is the Hebrew word nahal, which means inherit, possess. There is a sense in this word that something just comes with this – the sense of a birthright inheritance. In this case Solomon seems to be saying that the naively open and trusting person also gains, as a matter of their openness and lack of discernment, foolishness. It is just is always there.
This is the Hebrew word ivveleth, which means folly or foolishness. The idea here is that the person who is open to everything is very open to selfishness, impulsiveness, and rebellion along with other sins of selfishness.
In order to be wise, we must be discerning and be able to differentiate between that which seems good and that which is really good. Being wise is a discernment and filtering process. You cannot just do what pops into your head or what others suggest.
This is the Hebrew word arum, which means crafty, shrewd, prudent. The idea carries with it strategic thinking. In this word there is also the idea of a clear goal one is trying to reach.
When people have a clear, righteous goal and have a plan or strategy to get there, then they will usually be able to accomplish that plan. It is the idea that you hit what you aim at, but you will always miss what you never try.
Solomon is trying to talk about what both pathways of life gain as a matter of course. The foolish path gains foolishness. They filter nothing; they do not test people or claims for truthfulness. They remain open to new directions and people always, so they never accomplish their goals.
The path of wisdom accumulates knowledge – tested, accurate, and categorized. As people are trying to make their way to a righteous goal, they just gain information and become a wealth of information.
This is the Hebrew word katar, which means to crown or to surround. Again the strategic person embraces and accumulates knowledge. It just comes to them because they are alert to it. They also test knowledge to see how true it is.
I am deeply concerned that people are no longer testing the information that they believe or take in. The supermarkets are full of magazines and newspapers that "report" rumor and gossip and people are buying this foolishness because they are naive. If you want the results of naiveté, then feast on rumor, gossip, and lies. But if you want the results of wisdom, then begin filtering your information for its truth content and righteous element.
This is the standard Hebrew word for knowledge daat. It means information and skills. The people who are prudently moving toward a goal accumulate information and skills that will help them accomplish this goal.
Ask yourself what kind of information are you collecting? In this way you will know which path are you on. If you are developing new skills and useful information, then you are on the path of wisdom. If, however, you are collecting rumor, lies, gossip, and selfishness, then you are on the path of the fool.
It is your decision what you collect. You can decide today to no longer listen to rumor or gossip. It is not a matter of what you are interested in. If we are to be wise, we need to deny the selfish impulses of the flesh. You can't build a great life on rumor, gossip, innuendo, and lies.