13 Whoever scorns instruction will pay for it,
but whoever respects a command is rewarded.
14 The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life,
turning a person from the snares of death.
What is the cost of defiance? You may not agree with something you’ve been told to do, but is it really worth arguing about? Your own reputation is at stake, as well as your ability to influence others. If you become known as a complainer, people will tune you out. But if you “respect a command,” and carry it out whether you agree with it or not, you’ll earn the respect of your superiors. Then when something comes up that is worth questioning, you’ll have enough influence to be heard.
“The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death.” The implication here is that the default state of humanity is an inclination towards the snares of death. Which is more instinctive: anger or forgiveness? Envy or kindness? Greed or generosity? While the popular thing today is to fight the problems outside of yourself, wisdom teaches us to first deal with the problems within.