Proverbs 1:4
Parallel Verses
New International Version
for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young--

King James Bible
To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.

Darby Bible Translation
to give prudence to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.

World English Bible
to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young man:

Young's Literal Translation
For giving to simple ones -- prudence, To a youth -- knowledge and discretion.

Proverbs 1:4 Parallel
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

To give subtilty to the simple - The word simple, from simplex, compounded of sine, without, and plica, a fold, properly signifies plain and honest, one that has no by-ends in view, who is what he appears to be; and is opposed to complex, from complico, to fold together, to make one rope or cord out of many strands; but because honesty and plaindealing are so rare in the world, and none but the truly religious man will practice them, farther than the fear of the law obliges him, hence simple has sunk into a state of progressive deterioration. At first, it signified, as above, without fold, unmixed, uncompounded: this was its radical meaning. Then, as applied to men, it signified innocent, harmless, without disguise; but, as such persons were rather an unfashionable sort of people, it sunk in its meaning to homely, homespun, mean, ordinary. And, as worldly men, who were seeking their portion in this life, and had little to do with religion, supposed that wisdom, wit, and understanding, were given to men that they might make the best of them in reference to the things of this life, the word sunk still lower in its meaning, and signified silly, foolish; and there, to the dishonor of our language and morals, it stands! I have taken those acceptations which I have marked in Italics out of the first dictionary that came to hand - Martin's; but if I had gone to Johnson, I might have added to Silly, not wise, not cunning. Simplicity, that meant at first, as Martin defines it, openness, plaindealing, downright honesty, is now degraded to weakness, silliness, foolishness. And these terms will continue thus degraded, till downright honesty and plaindealing get again into vogue. There are two Hebrew words generally supposed to come from the same root, which in our common version are rendered the simple, פתאים pethaim, and פתים or פתיים pethayim; the former comes from פתא patha, to be rash, hasty; the latter, from פתה pathah, to draw aside, seduce, entice. It is the first of these words which is used here, and may be applied to youth; the inconsiderate, the unwary, who, for want of knowledge and experience, act precipitately. Hence the Vulgate renders it parvulis, little ones, young children, or little children, as my old MS.; or very babes, as Coverdale. The Septuagint renders it ακακοις, those that are without evil; and the versions in general understand it of those who are young, giddy, and inexperienced.

To the young man - נער naar is frequently used to signify such as are in the state of adolescence, grown up boys, very well translated in my old MS. yunge fulwaxen; what we would now call the grown up lads. These, as being giddy and inexperienced, stand in especial need of lessons of wisdom and discretion. The Hebrew for discretion, מזמה mezimmah, is taken both in a good and bad sense, as זם zam, its root, signifies to devise or imagine; for the device may be either mischief, or the contrivance of some good purpose.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


Proverbs 1:22,23 How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge...

Proverbs 8:5 O you simple, understand wisdom: and, you fools, be you of an understanding heart.

Proverbs 9:4-6 Whoever is simple, let him turn in here: as for him that wants understanding, she said to him...

Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

Psalm 119:130 The entrance of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.

Isaiah 35:8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it...

to the

Proverbs 7:7-24 And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding...

Proverbs 8:17,32 I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me...

Psalm 34:11 Come, you children, listen to me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

Psalm 119:9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to your word.

Ecclesiastes 11:9,10 Rejoice, O young man, in your youth; and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth, and walk in the ways of your heart...

Ecclesiastes 12:1 Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw near, when you shall say...

2 Timothy 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Titus 2:6 Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.


A Young Man's Best Counsellor
'The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; 2. To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; 3. To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; 4. To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion, 5. A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: 6. To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. 7.
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

A Preface to the Reader.
The Sum of the Preface. 1-8. Objections before and since the author's death made against the publishing of this doctrine. 9-10. The first objection: Because the knowledge and practice of it belongs to few: answered. 11-15. A second objection, viz. Because suspicion may be given to Catholics of pretending to new illuminations, prejudicial to the doctrine of faith and rules of life established in the Church: answered largely, and the contrary demonstrated. 16-20. What illuminations are here meant,
Ven. F. Augustine Baker—Holy Wisdom: or, Directions for the Prayer of Contemplation

How the Obstinate and the Fickle are to be Admonished.
(Admonition 19.) Differently to be admonished are the obstinate and the fickle. The former are to be told that they think more of themselves than they are, and therefore do not acquiesce in the counsels of others: but the latter are to be given to understand that they undervalue and disregard themselves too much, and so are turned aside from their own judgment in successive moments of time. Those are to be told that, unless they esteemed themselves better than the rest of men, they would by no
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

How Christ is the Way in General, "I am the Way. "
We come now to speak more particularly to the words; and, first, Of his being a way. Our design being to point at the way of use-making of Christ in all our necessities, straits, and difficulties which are in our way to heaven; and particularly to point out the way how believers should make use of Christ in all their particular exigencies; and so live by faith in him, walk in him, grow up in him, advance and march forward toward glory in him. It will not be amiss to speak of this fulness of Christ
John Brown (of Wamphray)—Christ The Way, The Truth, and The Life

Cross References
Psalm 116:6
The LORD protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me.

Proverbs 1:22
"How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?

Proverbs 2:10
For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.

Proverbs 2:11
Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.

Proverbs 3:21
My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion;

Proverbs 8:5
You who are simple, gain prudence; you who are foolish, set your hearts on it.

Proverbs 8:12
"I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion.

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