22 Prospect for life, good or bad. An individual’s prospects in life are determined by his wisdom. Here is another antithetical saying. “Understanding” (śēkel) is a “fountain of life” (see 10:11; 13:14; 14:27; 18:4), but “folly” (ʾiwwelet) brings “punishment” to fools. This “punishment” (mûsar) is essentially requital for sin. Once again Proverbs affirms that there is little that can be done for or with the fool. Alden, 129, astutely notes, “It is highly unlikely that Solomon would accept the idea that all men are created equal and thus deserve education at government expense.”
22 His winsome teaching is now implicitly likened to a well spring of life (see 10:11; 13:14; 14:27). Moreover, “the wise of heart” now becomes the prudence (śekel, see 3:4) of those whose who have it (beʿālāyw = lit. “its possessors,” see 1:17). Those who possess prudence become a life-giving spring that is so attractive that they “turn away” the community from folly to drink from their teachings (see 10:11; 13:14; 14:27). Christians find that Jesus Christ becomes for them a spring of water, welling up to eternal life (Jn 4:14). But contrasts the pedagogy of fools (22b) with that of the prudent (22a). The chiastic antithetical parallel to “prudence of its possessor” in the proverb’ inner core, the discipline (mûsār, see 1:2) of fools (ʾewîlîm, see p. I:112) is ambiguous. The meaning of folly (see I: 113) rules out taking musar to denote verbal instruction and “fools” as an objective genitive, for giving instruction to fools cannot be predicated as moral insolence and/or consequent moral ruin. If the genitive is agentive (i.e., “the instruction given by fools”), the otherwise noble mûsār is used sarcastically. More probably mûsār means here discpline/chastisement as with a rod (1:2) and “of fools” is objective (cf. 7:22 [MT] and 15:5). In that case “folly” refers primarily to the punishing consequences of moral insolence (14:1, 3, 15:20). In sum, the antithetical parallels contrast two forms of pedagogy: the winsome teaching of the wise and the punishment of folly. The imprecise parallelism suggests that the prudent find the former a well spring of life, but fools must be taught by allowing them to experience the painful, punishing consequence of their folly (cf. 10:13; 13:24; 14:3; 22:15; 23:13, 14; 26:3; 29:15).
16:22 / Antithetic and juxtapositional. Fountain of life is a common metaphor (cf. 10:11; 13:14; 14:27) and indicates the blessings which wisdom brings. The meaning of verse 22b is that folly itself is the chastisement for fools. Any teaching simply compounds their innate folly (cf. 15:10).
16:22. The word for understanding in this verse is śēḵel, “prudence or insight,” also used in 13:15 (and in 12:8; 19:11; 23:9, where it is trans. “wisdom”). Prudence is like a fountain of life (cf. 10:11; 13:14; 14:27); it is refreshing, life-sustaining, and inexhaustible. Folly on the other hand results in punishment. Fools do not learn and their foolish conduct requires discipline (mûsār).
16:22 Understanding serves as a wellspring of life and refreshment to its possessor, whereas folly is like a whiplash to fools. They are punished by their own folly. “Folly is the chastisement of fools” (Berkeley).
16:22 fountain of life. See note on 10:11. The advice of the understanding person brings blessing, while the correction offered by a fool is useless.
16:22 The internal fountain of life that insight (see note at 12:8) provides to its possessor is comparable to what Christ is for Christians (Jn 4:14). It is possible that the discipline (see note at 1:2) of fools is referring to the teaching that fools try to do, which results in mere folly; more likely it means that through their own folly, fools are disciplined. They reap the punishment of their errant lifestyle (6:33; 14:14, 24; 19:3).
Ver. 22.—Understanding is a well-spring of life unto him that hath it (ch. 10:11; 13:14). The possessor of understanding has in himself a source of comfort and a vivifying power, which is as refreshing as a cool spring to a thirsty traveller. In all troubles and difficulties he can fall back upon his own good sense and prudence, and satisfy himself therewith. This is not conceit, but the result of a well-grounded experience. But the instruction of fools is folly; i.e. the instruction which fools give is folly and sin; such is the only teaching which they can offer. So the Vulgate, doctrina stultorum fatuitas; and many modern commentators. But musar is better taken in the sense of “discipline” or “chastisement” (as in ch. 1:7; 7:22; 15:5), which the bad man suffers. His own folly is the scourge which punishes him; refusing the teaching of wisdom, he makes misery for himself, deprives himself of the happiness which virtue gives, and pierces himself through with many sorrows. Septuagint, “The instruction of fools is evil.”
 MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 833). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Pr 16:22). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.