Solomon speaks about a guy “among the young men” and “among the simple ones.” The Hebrew parallelism of this verse connects “young men” and “the simple,” like when both were introduced in 1:4.
“The simple” is the noun form of the verb “to entice” (see 1:10). That makes “the simple” someone easily enticed or lured into dumb stuff. They’re not stupid, they just don’t know about things because they don’t have much experience in life. They don’t think situations through or don’t have much interest in learning how to do the right thing. At HUM we might call this guy “not-so-street-smart.”
“The young” are similar to “the simple.” They’re not stupid, either, but their lack of time on earth has not given them sufficient time to know about a lot of things yet, either. Experience is key for the simple, age for the young. But, we all know that one can grow old and still stay simple!
The guy in this verse also “lacks judgment” and that turns out to be his real downfall. It’s not that he has mastered the art of doing evil, he’s just inexperienced about life and therefore vulnerable to making poor choices. It is not a lack of brain power, but a lack of making good decisions. He doesn’t necessarily choose bad, he just wanders around without any real desire or understanding about doing good.
But it doesn’t have to be that way and we can be different. That’s what Proverbs is all about!