but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.
Hmmmm-uh-hmmmmmm, I can't hear you! Have you ever covered your ears and said that in jest to someone? Have you seen a child do that in earnest? (Grin) It really doesn't work, does it?
Nope. You will still hear what you are trying to shut out.
This verse tells us that it is prudent (wise) to see danger and avoid it --- or to hear of danger and take a different course of action. The simple person (this could be a young, or inexperienced, or naive person) will plow on ahead, disregarding the danger, and then have to pay the consequences. Sometimes they will close their ears, and shut out the warnings of other Christians.
I think one thing to note here, is that this is not the same type of person that Solomon has called "foolish." That carries the meaning of willful disregard, or of arrogant, or self-righteous attitudes. The simple person is simply one who doesn't know any better. They are not hardening their heart; they just don't think that what you are saying is important!
We need to be wise enough to see temptation in our own lives, and to realize that it will be easy to slide down that slope into sin --- and we need to help others (as we've noted before) who may not yet see the danger. Those of us who are more mature in the faith need to take on the responsibility of being watchmen, as in Jeremiah 6:17a:
I appointed watchmen over you and said,Younger Christians may not realize the importance of their testimony, and we need to encourage them to: "Abstain from all appearance of evil." (I Thessalonians 5:22)
‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’
Sometimes those who are immature in their faith will feel that they are invulnerable -- that they are the ones who can walk right into that trap of Satan's making, or that failing of the flesh, and they can walk right out again, unscathed, and with no scars or consequences. As watchmen (excuse me, watchwomen) we need to warn them . . . for it is the simple who will get ambushed, not the wise.