It is the wisdom of the clever to understand where they go,
but the folly of fools misleads.
It can also be rendered, The wisdom of the prudent understands their way, but the folly of the fools deceives/misleads.
This continues the theme of the “Way.” I don’t like the concept of the clever, because in modern senses it feels to crafty or sly. Though cleverness is neither good nor bad, but the ability of a person to discern and gain insight of a situation, it is usually partnered with selfish intent, manipulation, and trickery. Thus, I use prudent, depicting the eager seeking of knowledge and the conservative use of time and resources for the best end.
The prudent, those who seek the cry of wisdom, don’t necessarily know the way. The wisdom of the prudent does. This may seem like splitting hairs. However, If wisdom is a separate entity, calling out to the prudent, they seek her, and she knows the way. As they seek her, they gain more glimpses of wisdom and better know the path, but only wisdom truly knows the way. It feels quite a bit like the Christian understanding of the Spirit. We seek the movement of the Spirit, discerning where it goes and directs, but we do not know the way absolutely. Only the Spirit knows.
The same goes for folly. The problem with folly is, instead of directing a person on the way, it blinds them. It convinces the fool that they are on the right path, and deafens their ears to the cries of wisdom. Thus, they assume it is wisdom, when it is deceiving them, and all others who listen. Both the prudent and the fool may show the same dedication to the search, but it is the voice of folly or wisdom that determines their way.
My mind drifts to the story in acts of the sorcerer who wants to buy the power of the Spirit. Folly acts interestingly here. It allows the sorcerer to see the truth of wisdom, the life giving grace of God. However, it distorts the way to get there. Instead of revealing the laws of the Kingdom of God, one must love God and neighbor and the self sacrifice of Christ, as the way to wisdom, it seeks wisdom along the world’s power. Money is offered to gain the ultimate power for the self. This is the direct opposite of the Way of the Spirit. The Spirit is not the tool, nor is it the goal. The Spirit is the author and director, and we become the tools. Thus, folly deceives and misleads. It actively reverses the way of the Wisdom of God.