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Ignorance Brings Joy to the Foolish, and Understanding Brings Stability to the Wise
Proverbs 15:21 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
21 Folly is a joy to him who has no sense,
but a man of discernment walks aright.
This verse highlights the contrast between two types of people: those who lack understanding and those who possess it. The first group, “him who is destitute of discernment,” finds joy in foolishness or recklessness. They lack the ability to discern right from wrong, good from bad, and are easily led astray.
On the other hand, the second group, “a man of understanding,” is characterized by his ability to understand and make wise decisions. He “walks straight,” meaning he is able to stay on the path of righteousness and avoid the pitfalls of foolishness.
The verse implies that wisdom and understanding are essential for living a righteous life. Folly may be enjoyable in the moment but ultimately leads to destruction, whereas wisdom leads to stability and righteousness. This verse encourages the reader to strive for understanding and wisdom in order to live a fulfilling and righteous life.
Folly is a joy – The verse starts by contrasting the joy of folly with the wisdom of understanding. Folly here refers to recklessness, lack of good sense, and a lack of moral or spiritual insight. It is said that for those who lack discernment, folly is enjoyable.
To him who has no sense – The person who lacks discernment is the one who finds joy in folly. Discernment refers to the ability to distinguish and judge well, in this case between what is wise and what is unwise.
But a man of discernment – The contrast is made between the person who lacks discernment and one who possesses understanding.
Walks aright – A person of understanding is described as walking straight. This phrase could be understood as walking in a straight path, which is a metaphor for living a righteous life. It implies that a person of understanding is able to make wise decisions and avoid the pitfalls of foolishness.
Proverbs 15:21 is a verse that speaks to the importance of wisdom and understanding in the context of ancient Israel. In this historical and cultural context, wisdom was highly valued and seen as necessary for leading a fulfilling and righteous life.
In this verse, the contrast is made between the joy of folly and the straight path of righteousness. The use of the term “folly” speaks to the idea that there are certain behaviors and attitudes that are unwise and lead to destruction. On the other hand, wisdom and understanding are seen as essential for living a life that is pleasing to God and in alignment with His will.
The phrase “walks aright [or straight]” also holds significance in this historical and cultural context. In ancient Israel, the idea of walking straight or in a straight path was often used as a metaphor for living a righteous life. It implies that a person of understanding is able to make wise decisions and avoid the pitfalls of foolishness and unwise behavior.
Proverbs 15:21 is a verse that speaks to the importance of wisdom and understanding in the context of ancient Israel. It emphasizes the contrast between the joy of folly and the straight path of righteousness, encouraging its readers to strive for wisdom in order to live a fulfilling and righteous life.
In summary, Proverbs 15:21 contrasts the joy of those who lack discernment and find joy in folly with the wisdom and understanding of those who walk straight in the path of righteousness. It encourages its readers to strive for wisdom and understanding in order to live a fulfilling and righteous life.
 A Hebrew word frequently rendered “discernment” (תְּבוּנָה tebunah) is related to the word (בִּינָה binah), translated “understanding.” Just as is the case with understanding, discernment includes seeing or identifying things, but the sense of the word that of recognizing and separating the parts, considering, or assessing one in the light of the others.
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