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The Stupid Person
Proverbs 14:16 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
16 A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil,
but the stupid one is reckless and is overconfident.
A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil: The wise man is one who has sound judgment based on knowledge and understanding. The wise man has the capacity for understanding and discernment, who has acquired the teachings of wisdom, and whom we can trust. It is the balanced application of that knowledge to answer difficulties, achieve objectives, sidestep or ward off dangers, not to mention helping others to accomplish the same. The wise person is here contrasted with the foolishness or stupid person. The wise man is cautious in that he is afraid, anxious apprehensive; therefore, he is careful, alert, on guard, so his turning away from evil in this context involves his taking steps to avoid difficulties, trouble, or misfortune.
but the stupid one is reckless and is overconfident: The stupid one is a person who lacks good judgment, lacks understanding, inferring rebellion. (Prov. 10:18) This is a person who shows a rude and arrogant lack of respect, that is, a rebel against standard or person. The stupid one’s character is stupidity, rudeness, that is, one who completely lacks understanding and is rebellious in his ways. The foolishness (אִוֶּלֶת ivveleth) of the foolish one, who has the trait of acting stupidly or rashly because he is devoid of wisdom or understanding, also has the sense within the Hebrew noun that draws attention to the evil behaviors which occur in this state. Therefore, this stupid one is not careful, alert, or on guard. Instead, he is reckless (עָבוּר abur) in all his way, throwing caution to the wind.
Reverential fear of displeasing God serves as a protection against everything that is unholy. Therefore, it is wise to fear coming anywhere near the borders of sin, for it is too easy to find oneself on the other side. The wise man, therefore, is cautious in that he is afraid, anxious, and apprehensive of finding himself in harm’s way, and he flees back when he finds himself in the presence of temptation.
The presumption of the stupid one is foolishness. The stupid one has heard the warnings of danger ahead, yet he rages on in his reckless manner, overconfident. He is enraged at anyone who dares to tell him of the dangers ahead, being defiant to all authority: parents, employers, laws of the land, and especially God. He is fearless in all his ways and sees no danger in his reckless behavior, so he continues in his rebellion, is brazen with the occasions of sin, and entertains himself upon the edge of the cliff. So, he is a fool, for he runs blindly against good reason and his safety, and his destruction will soon be the evidence of his foolish ways.