3 The prudent sees the evil and hides himself,
But the naive go on, and are punished for it.
4 The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord
Are riches, honor and life.
5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse;
He who guards himself will be far from them. Proverbs 22:3-4
The perfect illustration of these verses is Joseph and Potiphar’s wife. Hearing her alluring invitation and sizing up the situation, he bolted.
11 Now it happened one day that he went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the household was there inside. 12 She caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me!” And he left his garment in her hand and fled, and went outside. Genesis 39:11-12
The prudent man is shrewd in a good way. He can sense danger and foresee consequences in the scenarios of life and get out before it’s too late. In Joseph’s case, his humility and fear of the Lord ultimately resulted in riches, honor and life, but he underwent punishment still, perhaps to show uswe get a glimpse of what the punishment could be. Obviously, he was protected by God, since most of us, if king, would have a would-be rapist strung up.
It’s easy to speculate that the naive, the fool, would have considered this a rare opportunity and gone for it. He’d think about the “thorns and snares” later.
Our attitude in everything questionable, certainly everything unquestionably evil, should be, “How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9)
Guiding the prudent man is his reverential fear and keen understanding of God’s ways. Turning in the manual to this particular scenario, the explicit instruction is always run away and hide.
The question always before us is am I a prudent man or a perverse man?
We need to stop long enough to consider the ramifications of our actions, and then do the right thing. This is what God wants us to do.
Only fools rush in.