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The Prudent Person Possesses Knowledge, Wisdom, and Understanding
Proverbs 13:16 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
16 In everything the prudent acts with knowledge,
but a fool makes known his foolishness.
God did not make Adam and Eve ignorant, nor did human imperfection make humanity ignorant after the fall. He does not want anyone to be ignorant, as there is no good in that. “Also, a soul to be without knowledge is not good, and he who is hastening with his feet is sinning.” (Prov. 19:2) Accurate knowledge should hold us back from rushing blindly and ignorantly into missing the way we ought to have gone and sinning against God. Solomon certainly is well aware of the benefits of knowledge of God; thus, through inspiration, he has many times urged the reader to listen to the proverbs. “Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge.” – Proverbs 22:17.
In everything the prudent acts with knowledge: Here and in 12:16, the prudent (עָרוּם arum; שָׂכַל sakal) person is one who shows shrewdness, cleverness, craftiness, sensibility, wisdom, and good judgment in making his decisions. The prudent man has the capacity to understand the ramification of what he says and does. The prudent one, who acts with knowledge, says and does things intelligently, and his behavior is governed by wisdom. In the book of Proverbs, the wise or prudent person stops to ponder before speaking or acting, so he behaves reasonably, discreetly, and humbly, with most of his words or decisions succeeding.
but a fool makes known his foolishness: the fool (כְּסִיל kesil) hates knowledge as he lacks good judgment. His character is stupidity and rudeness, one who completely lacks understanding and is rebellious in his ways. (Prov. 1:22) Similarly, with foolishness; folly (אִוֶּלֶת ivveleth), we have the foolishness of the foolish one, who has the trait of acting stupidly or rashly because he is devoid of wisdom or understanding, the Hebrew noun focusing on the evil behaviors which occur in this state. Makes know (displays, flaunts, exposes) his stupidity renders a Hebrew verb (פָּרַשׂ paras) meaning to display, to show, make visible, make apparent as when someone spreads out an object over a large area. This fool makes known his stupidity through the words and behavior he has displayed and flaunted, exposing him to many in public places.
While a prudent or shrewd person does possess craftiness, it isn’t so here, as this person is acting with knowledge, acting with or showing care and thought before he speaks or does anything. When the prudent or shrewd person is unfairly criticized, even verbally assaulted, he can control his lips. He trusts in the Holy Spirit so that he does not allow the words of others to control his emotions. (Gal. 5:22-23) He realizes that the other person’s words do not impact his emotions. It is his perception of those words. Thus, he controls his emotions, unlike the foolish person who quickly flares up when he is offended. The prudent person acts with knowledge when he is making decisions. He knows that decisions that result in good outcomes are not the result of guessing, being led along by emotions, or simply following others. Therefore, the prudent person takes in the knowledge of the situation, gathers all the facts, and then considers his options. He then turns his attention to the Scriptures, looking for all laws and principles that would apply that will keep him on the straight path. – Proverbs 3:5-6.
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