To give subtlety to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.
The word is sometimes taken in an ill sense, for a crafty wit to deceive others. Sometimes in a good sense, for understanding to prevent dangers that crafty men might bring upon us. So it is taken here. Compare "simple" with the Latin "fatuus," a fool. Simple comes from a verb which signifies to allure or seduce one that wants understanding of God's truths and will, and so is easily allured to any error or wickedness by good words, as giving credit everything, because not able to examine things for want of judgment. He falls into danger for lack of knowledge. The word also signifies one who wants foresight to prevent danger.
1. The Scripture contains a store of heavenly knowledge sufficient to inform simple persons. Note the store of heavenly mysteries in the Scripture; the clearness of them; the variousness of them.
2. Subtilty for preventing of dangers is best learned out of the Scriptures.
3. We are naturally simple, and easily led into error.
4. The way to keep us from errors is the right understanding of Scripture.
5. Most danger of going astray is in the time of youth.
6. Bare knowledge is not enough, but discretion must be laboured for also. Knowledge is imperfect, and will need further augmentation by deliberation. And knowing men do things rashly oftentimes, being disturbed with passion.
Parallel VersesKJV: To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.