What does Proverbs 1:32 mean?
ESV: For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them;
NIV: For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them;
NASB: For the faithlessness of the naive will kill them, And the complacency of fools will destroy them.
CSB: For the apostasy of the inexperienced will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them.
NLT: For simpletons turn away from me — to death. Fools are destroyed by their own complacency.
KJV: For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.
Verse Commentary:
There are only two ways to respond to wisdom: to listen or to "turn away." Either one is a choice. The image of wisdom as a woman publicly shouting in the marketplace applies to all of us. Nobody has an excuse: wisdom is made available, all we have to do is choose to listen. Sadly, most people will not, and the end of this road leads to destruction.

Solomon was greatly blessed by God with wisdom, but even wisdom is only the capacity to make the right choices. Solomon knew first-hand what happens when a person ignores wisdom and makes the wrong choices. The book of Ecclesiastes is his description of this painful discovery. Despite all of the wealth and pleasure, Solomon found going his way, instead of God's way, to be "vanity," or "meaningless," in the end. There is no eternal significance in sinful desires and foolish ways. Refusing to act wisely leads to consequences, something which even saved believers are subject to.
Verse Context:
Proverbs 1:20–33 concludes the first chapter of Proverbs with the dire consequences of the behaviors defined in the previous section. Also, in this segment is the first personification of wisdom as a female. Throughout Proverbs, Solomon likens wisdom to a woman crying out. The theme is that she is not hiding but is out in the open for all to hear, even though she often goes overlooked.
Chapter Summary:
Proverbs Chapter 1 provides a clear description of the purpose of the book. It is stated plainly who wrote the book, the lineage of Solomon, and to whom he was writing. Solomon gives four distinct purpose statements in the opening verses. The essence of these is to explain why he is writing the book as well as the source of his inspiration. Solomon concludes with a warning against sinfulness and a personal plea for his children to act wisely.
Chapter Context:
Proverbs Chapter 1 is clearly born out of Solomon’s life history. Solomon held himself back from no earthly pleasure, he had everything he could ever desire, and in the end he saw the foolishness of his actions. Chapter 1 is Solomon’s reflection on his own life, how he had all the wisdom of God available to him, and yet chose to follow after foolish desires. Other chapters detail the advice which this experience allows Solomon to give.
Book Summary:
Proverbs is best understood in context with the books of Ecclesiastes and Job. In Proverbs, “wisdom” is given in short, simple, general terms. Ecclesiastes represents wisdom based on observation and experience. This often shows how the general principles of the book of Proverbs don’t apply in absolutely every circumstance. Job represents wisdom based on the experience of suffering and injustice. All three come to the conclusion that God does indeed know best, and the most sensible course of action is to follow His will.
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