ESV Proverbs 14:8 The wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way, but the folly of fools is deceiving. 9 Fools mock at the guilt offering, but the upright enjoy acceptance. 10 The heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy. 11 The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish. 12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. 13 Even in laughter the heart may ache, and the end of joy may be grief. 14 The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways, and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways. 15 The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.
This passage uses a Hebrew parallel structure called a chiasm. In this passage, a chiasm is a sequence of proverbs repeated in inverted order. This allows for one rendering of the passage when read the way we normally read it, and another rendering when as a chiasm. Almost like a puzzle piece tells one story, but the puzzle tells a more complete story. When read through the chiastic pattern, an overall thought appears: A fool quickly falls for the first appearance of things, but the wise acknowledge there is often more than meets the eye. Things are not always as they seem.
- Pair 1. Vs. 8, 15: Fools are easily deceived, but the prudent look beneath the surface.
- Pair 2. Vs. 9, 14: The wicked believe they can avoid payment for sin, but there will be Divine payment.
- Pair 3. Vs. 10, 13: No one truly knows another person’s heart.
- Pair 4. Vs. 11, 12: The success of the wicked will be short lived, even though they may seem to be permanently prosperous.