18 The simple inherit folly,
but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
19 Evildoers will bow down in the presence of the good,
and the wicked at the gates of the righteous.
20 The poor are shunned even by their neighbors,
but the rich have many friends.
21 It is a sin to despise one’s neighbor,
but blessed is the one who is kind to the needy.
Fools are quite generous with their folly; eager to pass their bad advice, destructive habits and false assumptions on to the inexperienced as if they were doing them a favor. And the simple are just as eager to embrace it, expecting they will succeed where so many others have failed. But the prudent are not so easily fooled, realizing that so many who promise happiness have failed to find it themselves. Just as important as taking the right paths is avoiding the wrong ones, and for this they are well rewarded.
“Evildoers will bow down in the presence of the good, and the wicked at the gates of the righteous.” However prosperous the wicked may seem to be, it is only for a season. They will in the end give way to the righteous, whose goodness has earned them lasting authority. However glamorous evil may be in the moment, whatever temptation promises, it will leave you at the mercy of those who have avoided its snares.
“The poor are shunned even by their neighbors, but the rich have many friends. It is a sin to despise one’s neighbor, but blessed is the one who is kind to the needy.” Sin is the natural state of society, and here is a fine example. What causes a person to avoid and neglect the poor? To gravitate towards the rich? It is the assumption that happiness is found through self-interest, that compassion is not worth the cost. But self-centeredness actually leads to misery, it is the kind who find the blessedness that everyone else only chases.