And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding,
The young man Solomon had in mind perhaps thought himself wise, but in the opinion of the sober and virtuous part of mankind, he was one of the most infatuated of men. When may a young man be spoken of as "void of understanding"?
1. When he suffers his mind to remain unacquainted with the great principles of religion.
2. When he follows the dictates of his own corrupt heart. How shall we account for all that wickedness which abounds in the world if there is no bad principle from which it breeds? Take corruption out of the heart, and this world would become a paradise. Simple souls, instead of checking the evil principle within them, rather give it the greatest indulgence.
3. When he throws himself in the way of temptation. Snares abound. There is hardly a step in our way in which we do not run some hazard of stumbling. Have we not often complied when we ought to have resisted? Sin is sometimes so artfully disguised that it loses its deformity, and we are insensibly drawn into the commission of it. Is it not, then, wise and prudent to keep at a distance and not to tamper with temptation? The old serpent is too cunning and subtle for us, and if we throw ourselves in his way we must fall.
4. When he has not resolution to withstand the allurements with which he may be surrounded. We can hardly hope to escape allurement altogether. All depends on our yielding to or resisting first enticements. And what avails the most enlightened understanding if we have not firmness to follow its dictates?
5. When he does not hearken to the admonitions of those who are older and more experienced than himself. Vanity and self-conceit are too natural to young minds, and numbers have been led away by them. Positive and headstrong, they refuse to be admonished, and scorn to be controlled. Hence they run headlong into vice, and involve themselves in misery.
6. When he flatters himself with seeing long life and many years. This is very natural to youth. But there is nothing more vain and uncertain. Can there be a greater defect of understanding than to flatter one's self with what we may never enjoy?
(D. Johnston, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding,