Beginning of Wisdom

Proverbs from the Hebrew Bible and the ancient Near East

The wisdom of forethought

Posted by jac/cdc on January 10, 2007

(Proverbs 27:12) עָרוּם רָאָה רָעָה נִסְתָּר פְּתָאיִם עָבְרוּ נֶעֱנָשׁוּ׃

a-RUM ra-A ra-A nis-TAR p’-ta-YEEM av-RU ne-e-na-SHU

The prudent person sees trouble and hides; the simpleton goes on, and pays the penalty.

This proverb is almost identical to 22:3. The prudent person is described not as a coward who hides, but one with forethought and caution. The simpleton is the person who has not acquired wisdom, and thus lacks the forethought and caution.

The proverb does not specify whether the simpleton walks on into the trouble out of blindness, curiosity, or through a failure to take stock in the consequences, but any of these reasons would fittingly describe the person, who sounds awfully like a teenager (though Colin protests this last comment)!

Forethought does seem to be in short supply nowadays, and not just among the young. This is a good reminder that the prudent take stock in what lies ahead.

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