To get what Proverbs 1:4 means based on its source text, scroll down or follow these links for the original scriptural meaning , biblical context and relative popularity.

“To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.”

Medium popularity: 170 searches a month
Popularity relative to other verses in Proverbs chapter 1 using average monthly Google searches.

Proverbs 1:4 Translation & Meaning

What does this verse really mean? Use this table to get a word-for-word translation of the original Hebrew Scripture. This shows the English words related to the source biblical texts along with brief definitions. Follow the buttons in the right-hand column for detailed definitions and verses that use the same root words. Use this reference information to gain deeper insight into the Bible and enrich your understanding. Information based on Strong's Exhaustive Concordance[1].

KJV Verse Original Hebrew Meaning/ Definition
This is a simplified translation of the original Hebrew word. Follow the buttons on the right to get more detail.
Use the buttons below to get details on the Hebrew word and view related Bible verses that use the same root word.
To give לָתֵ֣ת To give, used with greatest latitude of application (put, make, etc.) give
subtilty עָרְמָ֑ה Trickery; or (in a good sense) discretion subtilty
to the simple, לִפְתָאיִ֣ם Silly (i.e., seducible) simple
to the young man לְ֝נַ֗עַר (concretely) a boy (as active), from the age of infancy to adolescence; by implication, a servant; also (by interch. of sex), a girl (of similar latitude in age) young man
knowledge דַּ֣עַת Knowledge knowledge
and discretion. וּמְזִמָּֽה׃ A plan, usually evil (machination), sometimes good (sagacity) discretion

Verse Context

See Proverbs 1:4 with its adjacent verses in bold below. Follow either of the two large buttons below to see these verses in their broader context of the King James Bible or a Bible concordance.

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  • 2  To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;

  • 3  To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;

  • 4  To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.

  • 5  A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:

  • 6  To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.


The King James Bible (1611) and Strong's Concordance (1890) with Hebrew and Greek dictionaries are sourced from the BibleForgeDB database ( within the BibleForge project ( Popularity rankings are based on search volume data from the Google AdWords Keyword Planner tool.

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