Proverbs 14:18

Crowned with Knowledge


1. In this proverb, Solomon describes the results of folly and wisdom.

2. He speaks here, in a humorous way, of what children pick up from their fathers.

The Prudent

1. Prudent: subtle; shrewd; crafty; and sensible.

a. The term is used 8 times in proverbs and is always translated “prudent.”

b. The contrast in this proverb is between a young man with good sense… and a young man who is simple… naive… inexperienced… opened minded to too many things…

c. The prudent person is not quite so opened minded—in this sense: he is CAREFUL, discriminating, and discerning about what he receives or absorbs and incorporates into his thinking.

d. The prudent man deals with knowledge. (Prov. 13:16)
Ø The man who (in a good sense) is shrewd and sensible wants to observe and works with the FACTS…
Ø He wants a proper understanding of things…
Ø He wants to perceive what is really happening…
Ø He uses his head… he thinks… he uses the intelligence God gave him…
Ø And he wants the discernment and wisdom to draw the proper conclusions from those facts.
Ø The prudent man does not act on gut impulse. He lets his head direct his steps, not his stomach.
Ø He does not let his feelings or his emotions blind him from the facts.
Ø He deals with knowledge… facts… not impulses.

e. Things that are not sensible are immediately rejected. He has that good sense about him.

f. He is able to discern between a good principle—and a good principle that has been stretched to the extreme… beyond its intended purpose.

g. In the world of ideas, he is able to sift through them all, and sort out that which is a foolish waste of time, and that which is helpful and necessary.

h. In a world full of competing voices, his antenna is able to tune in to the right voices and to block out the others.

i. He is shrewd and is able to identify that which is good, healthy, and wholesome—from that which is corrupt and defiled.

j. He is sensible and is not easily tripped up by that which might lead others astray. He THINKS about where he is headed. (Prov. 14:8)

k. He is sensible and is able to spot trouble and has the good sense to stay away. (Prov. 27:12)

l. These are all exceedingly GOOD qualities.

2. He is crowned.

a. Crowned: lit = to encircle; encompass; fig. = to crown.

b. It is used in a figurative sense here.

c. The crown was passed down from father to son in royal families.

d. The son of the king “inherited” the crown. There were no elections. Monarchies were not democracies.

e. The father usually passed on his crown to the firstborn son, but not always. There were other issues that could ALTER this norm.

f. Consider the time when David had to pass on his crown:
Ø David’s firstborn son, Ammon, was killed by his brother Absalom. (II Sam.13:28ff)
Ø Chileab, David’s second son, was probably dead too since nothing is ever mentioned of him again.
Ø Absalom, David’s third son was killed in battle by Joab.
Ø Adonijah, was the fourth son—and since the three older sons were dead, he assumed that he was the next in line.
Ø Solomon was evidently quite young.
Ø I Kings 1:28-30 – Adonijah tried to steal the throne from Solomon, because he was next in line, age-wise.
Ø However, David chose to give the crown to Solomon. Adonijah was a rebel… David did not want to give his crown to that son. He didn’t deserve it.
Ø Adonijah was a foolish and rebellious son. He would NOT inherit the crown.

g. The British throne is having a difficult time rearing a king… for the present, producing a royal son who is prudent seems to elude them.
Ø It’s easy to produce a son. But it’s not so easy to produce a son who is fit to be crowned.

h. The PRUDENT are crowned…
Ø The king passes on an inheritance to a prudent son… he passes on the royal crown.
Ø There may be many foolish sons in a royal family, but the PRUDENT one inherits the crown.
Ø The REWARD for BEING a prudent son is the crown.
Ø He is to wear it with distinction… it is a sign of his wisdom or prudence… or at least, that’s the way monarchies are supposed to work.

3. He is crowned with knowledge.

a. But this proverb is not just for royal families. The “crown” is just a figure of speech—which denotes something a father passes on to his son… in any family.

b. The prudent is crowned with KNOWLEDGE.

c. This knowledge is passed on from father to son. In a sense, it is his “inheritance”… part of his heritage… to be worn with distinction.

d. Prov. 2:1; 3:1; 4:1; 5:1; 6:1; 7:1 – Solomon pleads with his sons to LISTEN to his words of wisdom and knowledge.

e. A father seeks to instill wisdom and knowledge in his son’s and daughters.

f. Every young person has to admit, that his parents did exactly this: over, and over, and over again they repeated their warnings, exhortations, and admonitions… as Solomon did to his son.

g. They pleaded with you to pay attention… to listen.

h. The prudent son is one who LISTENS… he is sensible and recognizes the wisdom of what is being communicated to him.

i. This son is CROWNED with knowledge… all the knowledge that dad learned (some of it the hard way!) this wise son receives.

j. Hence, dad passes on knowledge to his son… the son INHERITS knowledge from his father… and this knowledge is proudly worn like a CROWN… a thing of beauty.

k. This son inherits knowledge from his father.

The Simple

1. Then, of course, there is the other kind of son—the simpleton… the foolish son… the inexperienced one who THINKS he knows everything.

a. He knows so much that he doesn’t have to listen to dad’s words of advice and counsel… and if he does happen to hear it, he rejects it.

b. Dad was pouring his heart out to this son… pleading with him to listen to the knowledge God has given him…

c. But this son is NOT prudent… he is not sensible. He is foolish, simple, naive, and is likely a know-it-all.

2. This son also receives an inheritance.

a. But not a ROYAL inheritance.

b. This son inherits something from his father too: FOLLY.

c. The Bible teaches that the sin nature is inherited from our parents—all the way back to Adam. Fathers produce children “in his own likeness.”

d. The sin nature is inherited.

e. Sin is also learned by observation.

f. This simple son absorbed all of dad’s mistakes, poor qualities, his failures, his sins, and his shortcomings.
i. Every dad since Adam has had plenty of these…
ii. Every son gets to see his father’s failures too…
iii. But the prudent son has the good sense to overlook dad’s failures—and to LISTEN to his wisdom.
iv. Every dad has wisdom and knowledge to pass on too.
v. But not every son soaks his wisdom and knowledge.

g. The simple son rejected all of the wisdom and knowledge dad TRIED to pass on to him.

h. The simple son remembers:
i. That dad got angry… so he feels justified in venting his anger… and develops into an angry man.
ii. That dad was sometimes lazy… so he indulges himself in laziness… and becomes a lazy man.
iii. That dad on occasion didn’t read his Bible, so he doesn’t feel any need to read his Bible.
iv. He absorbs like a sponge, his father’s failures and folly… yet rejects his father’s knowledge and wisdom.

3. This son inherits FOLLY.

a. And herein lies the humor (intentional?)

b. The scene is a father on his deathbed, ready to pass on the family wealth and privilege.

c. Like David on his deathbed, he looked out over his sons, and chose to give the CROWN to Solomon. Solomon was a prudent man. He is crowned by the father.

d. The wise son inherits all of the father’s wisdom and knowledge… priceless!

e. The other son eagerly awaits to hear his blessing… what portion of the family wealth he is going to inherit.

f. Perhaps they are sitting in a room waiting to hear the will read.

g. When the foolish son’s name is read, he discovers that the father left to him all of his father’s FOLLY…

h. It is like the father saying to the foolish son, “all the stupid things I’ve ever done—and tried to warn you about but you wouldn’t listen—you get to REPEAT… and you get to inherit all the awful consequences of that folly too!

i. Since you demonstrated that this is what you really wanted: the family’s stockpile of folly is all yours!

j. I Peter 1:18 – he inherits a VAIN manner of life. This son is condemned to repeat the folly of his father… a vain, empty, manner of life… a wasted life.

k. When he COULD have inherited knowledge and wisdom… and could have worn it like a crown!