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Those Who Refuse to Learn from Experience
Proverbs 1:22-23 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
22 “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple-minded?
And how long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
and fools hate knowledge?
23 Turn back at my reproof
behold, I will pour out my spirit to you;
I will make my words known to you.
Wisdom is personified again, trying to help those who are the least likely to be receptive. She asks two rhetorical questions to the simple-minded and the scoffers. The simple-minded (פֶּתִי pethi or פֶּתִי pethi) lacks intelligence and common sense (easily swayed), namely, one who has or shows extraordinarily little intelligence or good judgment, but rather evidence ignorance and possesses a difficulty in understanding. The simple ones are naive and gullible and foolish the moment they reject this counsel. (1:4). The scoffers (לֵץ lēṣ) refer to those who mock, jeer, or treats others with contempt, or calls out to them in disdain, ridicule, and contempt. They reject the truth and are those who treat others with contempt as they jeer, ridicule, deride, make fun of, laugh at, scoff at, tease, taunt them. These scoffers are conceited and haughty individuals who think they know everything. The fools (כְּסִיל kesil) hate knowledge as they lack good judgment. Their character is stupidity, rudeness, that is, one who completely lacks understanding, who is rebellious in his ways. The fool is further alienated from God that the simple-minded buy they are not as unruly as the mockers. All three of these ones love their inexperience and are heading down the path of a spiritual shipwreck. Moreover, they are quite happy to remain in this state of inexperience.
If any of these ones would turn away from their self-destructive ways and place themselves under wisdom’s guidance, wisdom would pour out her spirit (heart), making her words known to them. This would move these ones over to being wise ones, as they would have a teachable spirit. The fear of Jehovah is the foundation of being teachable. (1:29) “The fear [reverential awe] of Jehovah is the beginning of knowledge” (1:7), as well as the application of that knowledge, i.e., wisdom. Just as the promise to the fools that they will receive instruction if they listen to her message (1:23), the promise of the consequences that they will suffer is also a promised reality.