Proverbs 17:16

16 Why should fools have money in hand to buy wisdom, when they are not able to understand it?

Proverbs 17:16 in Other Translations

KJV
16 Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it?
ESV
16 Why should a fool have money in his hand to buy wisdom when he has no sense?
NLT
16 It is senseless to pay to educate a fool, since he has no heart for learning.
MSG
16 What's this? Fools out shopping for wisdom! They wouldn't recognize it if they saw it! One Who Knows Much Says Little
CSB
16 Why does a fool have money in his hand with no intention of buying wisdom?

Proverbs 17:16 Meaning and Commentary

Proverbs 17:16

Wherefore [is there] a price in the hand of a fool to get
wisdom
Natural wisdom and knowledge. By this "price" may be meant money, riches, worldly substance, of which a foolish man is possessed; by means of which he might purchase useful books for the improvement of his mind, and procure himself instructors that might be very useful to him; but instead of seeking after that which he most wants, and making use of his substance to furnish him with it, he spends it on his back and belly, in fine clothes and luxurious living; in rioting and drunkenness, in chambering and wantonness, at balls and plays, in taverns and brothel houses: or spiritual wisdom and knowledge; the means of which are reading the word, hearing the Gospel, frequent opportunities of attendance on a Gospel ministry, in season and out of season, and conversation with Gospel ministers and other Christians; but, instead of making use of these, he neglects, slights, and despises them. And it is asked, with some degree of indignation and admiration, why or to what purpose a fool is favoured with such means; seeing [he hath] no heart [to it]?
to wisdom; he does not desire it, nor to make use of the price or means, in order to obtain it; all is lost upon him; and it is hard to account for it why he should have this price, when he makes such an ill use of it.

Proverbs 17:16 In-Context

14 Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.
15 Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent— the LORD detests them both.
16 Why should fools have money in hand to buy wisdom, when they are not able to understand it?
17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
18 One who has no sense shakes hands in pledge and puts up security for a neighbor.

Cross References 1