The comparison begins with a rhetorical question, “Do you see a person wise in their own eyes?” This is someone who thinks they understand everything and have it all figured out.
In reality, not even the smartest among us will ever have all the answers. In fact, really “wise” people are the ones who actually know this about themselves!
Our verse then offers this comparison. It will go better for “a fool” than for the one “wise in their own eyes.” These would be the same people who “learn on their own understanding” (see Proverbs 3:5).
There are a couple of different Hebrew words translated “fool” in Proverbs. This is the one for “immature.” Here in East Baltimore, they’d say this is a person without any “street smarts.”
So this proverbs says the one who thinks they know everything will be worse off than the one who knows virtually nothing!
But there is a better way!
I’ve come to imperfectly embrace the first 3 Steps of the 12 Steps of Recovery as a way of life. They’re summarized this way — I Can’t (Step 1); He Can (Step 2); So Let Him (Step 3).
It will work — if you work it!