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Proverbs 1:7 NASB

(7) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom
and instruction.

This one verse says a lot, so let us dig in and find the riches that are buried there.

H3374 - fear
‫ יראה‬yir'âh
BDB Definition:
1) fear, terror, fearing
1a) fear, terror
1b) awesome or terrifying thing (object causing fear)
1c) fear (of God), respect, reverence, piety
1d) revered
By now, everyone knows that to fear God doesn’t mean to be scared of Him, but rather
to reverence Him. An honest citizen obeys the traffic laws out of a healthy respect for
the law. Someone who is driving without a license might obey them out of fear of getting
caught. We should have a healthy respect for God.

H1847 - knowledge
‫ דעת‬da‛ath
BDB Definition:
1) knowledge
1a) knowledge, perception, skill
1b) discernment, understanding, wisdom

Since God is the author of all knowledge and wisdom, it makes sense to start with God
to get knowledge. God knows everything – doesn’t it make sense that if you want to
know something you’d ask God first? Or better yet, read His word?
When you sit down to study, whether it be the bible or some other textbook (like for
school), do you ask the Holy Spirit for help and understanding?

John14:26 NASB
(26) "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He
will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

Now we will look at the opposite of a wise man – the fool. The proverbs are often written
in a parallel manner: “The wise man does this, a fool does that.”

H936 - despise
‫ בוז‬bûz
BDB Definition:
1) to despise, hold in contempt, hold as insignificant
1a) (Qal) to despise, show despite toward

H4148 - instruction
‫ מוסר‬mûsâr
BDB Definition:
1) discipline, chastening, correction
1a) discipline, correction
1b) chastening

By definition, a foolish man is one who doesn’t know the Lord. We could go a step
further and say that a foolish man is one who doesn’t obey the word of the Lord. Since
God is the source of all wisdom, a man who doesn’t know God is foolish indeed. It
would be like a college student who never goes to class, never reads the textbook and
never goes to the library but can’t figure out why he is failing.
Some of this may sound painfully obvious – but the beauty of this verse is its depth. A
person doesn’t even begin to know or understand unless his heart attitude is right. If you
find yourself not understanding something, check your attitude first. After your attitude is
right, knowledge comes and we are left with a choice – to obey or disobey.
A fool despises correction – in other words, he refuses to change based on knowledge of
the truth. Do you see the rebellion in refusing to obey? It’s like a circle – we’ve come
back to attitude – which is why the fear of the Lord has to come first. If you find yourself
stuck with God – go back to the last correction and see if you’ve obeyed.
In closing, I’d like to share this passage from Clarke’s Commentary on the above verse.
It is both eloquent and enlightening.

The fear of the Lord - In the preceding verses Solomon shows the advantage of
acting according to the dictates of wisdom; in the following verses he shows the danger
of acting contrary to them. The fear of the Lord signifies that religious reverence which
every intelligent being owes to his Creator; and is often used to express the whole of
religion, as we have frequently had occasion to remark in different places. But what is
religion? The love of God, and the love of man; the former producing all obedience to the
Divine will; the latter, every act of benevolence to one’s fellows. The love of God shed
abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit produces the deepest religious reverence, genuine
piety, and cheerful obedience. To love one’s neighbor as himself is the second great
commandment; and as love worketh no ill to one’s neighbor, therefore it is said to be the
fulfilling of the law. Without love, there is no obedience; without reverence, there is
neither caution, consistent conduct, nor perseverance in righteousness.
This fear or religious reverence is said to be the beginning of knowledge; ‫ראשית‬
reshith, the principle, the first moving influence, begotten in a tender conscience by the
Spirit of God. No man can ever become truly wise, who does not begin with God, the
fountain of knowledge; and he whose mind is influenced by the fear and love of God will
learn more in a month than others will in a year.
Fools despise - ‫ אוילים‬evilim, evil men. Men of bad hearts, bad heads, and bad ways.
Clarke