In biblical wisdom literature (like Proverbs) the word “simple” means to entice or seduce.
The Hebrew word can be a noun or a verb just like the English word “fool.”
In English a fool is fooled. In Proverbs the Simpleton is seduced.
The Simpleton is a man under the influence.
Sometimes under the influence of a tempter or temptress, but just as often under the power of drugs, food, recreation, alcohol, Netflix, and/or video games.
Proverbs 22:3 The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.
This is a man on auto-pilot. He is hoping that things will sort of work themselves out.
He can see the storm on the horizon, and may even realize what his enticements are doing to his marriage, but he doesn’t take cover.
Proverbs 14:15 The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.
This is a man who hasn’t taken the time to question common wisdom. He’s not curious about how life really works. He hears what people are doing and simply thinks that’s the way to do it.
He’s not really leading his family so much as following the rest of culture.
If it’s what people are watching, it’s what his family is watching. If it’s where people are going, it’s where his family is going. His family is being led, but not by him.
Proverbs 1:32 For the simple are killed by their turning away,
The Simpleton is not someone who doesn’t have the mental capacity to lead with strength, but someone who doesn’t have the willingness to do so.
Families are harmed by simple men because simple men are shirkers, squirmers, and weak men who turn away from what they know to do.
Proverbs 1:24-26 Because I have called and you refused to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded, because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you,
Wisdom laughs at the Simpleton, not because it was his fate to squander a marriage to a good woman, or fritter away his life on things leave no lasting legacy to his children, but because it was his fault.
Through the bad influence of culture, weakness of character, and willfully turning away from wisdom, the Simpleton has successfully avoided all of Lady Wisdom’s pleading.
Every man hears the call to sacrificial masculinity. It’s an unnerving voice within us that calls us to lead, serve, and sacrifice. Wisdom laughs at how hard the Simpleton has worked to mute that voice.
The Plan: Get better friends.
13:20 Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
You need better friends. You need to be in close proximity to men who walk in wisdom. Especially look for men with happy, confident wives. If you’re a simpleton you’ll find that you don’t have much in common with that type of man. That’s the point.
At some point in life you began to gravitate towards bad influences.
You developed a taste for what Proverbs calls “folly” or foolishness.
You hoped to keep life segregated into distinct parts:
- Foolishness and folly over here.
- Adulthood and family over there.
But folly is pervasive and intrusive. Character issues always invade where they are not welcome.
Now you are surrounded by bad influences.
It’s time for a change.
You need better friends.
You need friends with good marriages.
You need friends who are aiming their children at being the kind of adult you wish you already were.
Your new plan should be to walk through life with the wise so that you become wise.
Find your new tribe.
Look for men who are getting healthy in 4 important areas:
Fearing God/Following Jesus
This is your hero story and every hero has a weakness. Here is the Simpleton's krytponite:
Proverbs 15:21 Folly is a joy to him who lacks sense,
Until you become wise, you are unlikely to enjoy the company of wise.
You are already doing what you like to do. What seems normal to you. You just don’t like the results. The question is, “do you like doing what you’re doing more than you dislike the results?”
Wisdom can become a joy and a pleasure, but at first it will just seem like hard work.
Be kind and keep talking,
Your friends at