Proverbs 1:22

ESV “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?
NIV How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?
NASB 'How long, you naive ones, will you love simplistic thinking? And how long will scoffers delight themselves in scoffing And fools hate knowledge?
CSB "How long, inexperienced ones, will you love ignorance? How long will you mockers enjoy mocking and you fools hate knowledge?
NLT 'How long, you simpletons, will you insist on being simpleminded? How long will you mockers relish your mocking? How long will you fools hate knowledge?
KJV How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?

What does Proverbs 1:22 mean?

Verse 21 suggested that wisdom, pictured as a woman, was crying out in busy and crowded places. The depiction of a woman shouting in a marketplace implies that everybody has an opportunity to encounter wisdom. A person either accepts wisdom, or purposefully ignores it. While verse 23 refers to one who does respond, most of this passage addresses those who refuse to listen.

Verse 22 clearly states that this—deliberately snubbing wisdom—is exactly what is happening. Wisdom is crying out, but the people ignore her for their own selfish (and foolish) desires. It has been said that there is no such thing as "invincible ignorance." Any lack of knowledge can be overcome. The problem is not that we cannot know, but that we don't want to know. When we see how the godless world reacts to tragedy, morality, and conflict, we often see this exact principle in action: people would rather "love being simple" than act in wisdom.

As with verse 4, the term "simple" does not mean "stupid." Rather, it means one who is uninformed, or ignorant.

The word "scoffer" is from the Hebrew lēsim, meaning a person who mocks or speaks arrogantly. This is a person who sneers at wisdom, makes fun of it, or laughs at it, instead of listening to it. This same attitude is reflected in verses such as Isaiah 28:22, Psalm 119:51, and Proverbs 14:9.
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