“The simple inherit folly: but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.”
Making a Deal
When I was young, there was a very popular game show on television called Let’s Make a Deal. One of the most popular aspects of that show was the opportunity given to contestants to choose their prize. They could choose between what they were initially given, or take a risk and exchange it for something else…usually behind “curtain number 1.”
More often than not, the contestants would choose to take the risk – and it was a risk – and surrender what was in hand (even though they may have not know what that was, either) for whatever was hidden behind one of several curtains.
And, more often than not, as far as I can remember, the contestants usually ended up with something pretty silly, like a lifetime supply of toothpicks. On the other hand, there were those who made bank. “You just won a brand new car!”
For those who wanted to take a risk and play the game, the outcome was still better than having never played at all.
But let’s just imagine if the “simple” person in this proverb was on a similar game show. What might we see?
“Let’s Get a Crown!”
Imagine the simple man of this verse traveling to Hollywood to compete on Let’s Get a Crown!. Imagine him being selected from the crowd and being asked to “come on down” to the front to stand with the host.
After being selected as a contestant, Mr. Simple is given a small prize – a gilded toilet bowl plunger. Then, after a laugh, the game show host offers Mr. Simple a few curtains from which to choose, noting that behind each is a prize far more grand than the one already in his possession.
Host: “Sir, all you have to do is trade that gilded plunger for one of those curtains, and I guarantee, regardless of your choice, the prize will be far more valuable. Which do you want to choose?”
Mr. Simple: “Well, Bob, I think I’ll just keep my plunger.”
Host: “What? You could trade that plunger in for a chance at much greater things! Surely you’d rather walk out of here with a prize to be proud of, wouldn’t you?”
Mr. Simple: “Nah. I have what I have. It’ll do. I’m not leaving empty-handed, so why ask for anything more?”
Choose to Learn
We could approach Proverbs 14:18 from several different directions, but the one I would like to take is that of one who settles with ignorance rather than striving for knowledge.
Consider the word inherit in the first part of this proverb. It is in the “perfect tense,” which means the inheriting of folly is a completed action – it’s done.
The word crowned in the second part is different; it’s in the “imperfect tense.” In other words, it’s an on-going thing, not something that is finished.
The simple – the foolish – are content with what they know and are content in their ignorance.
However, the prudent understand the value of learning and are not content with the gilded plunger of ignorance! They are ever expanding the substance of their inheritance and continue to add to their estate and wear a crown to prove it…
…much like those who come here to learn a little more about God’s Word.
Knowledge looks good on you 🙂