Intelligence with insight and discernment is worth its weight in gold and jewels. We see the phrase "good understanding" at the beginning of this proverb today. This phrase means to have an intelligence or good sense. God did not intend for us to be ignorant. The Word of God makes it clear that we are to learn, to be educated, and to gain knowledge. Where the world has made its fatal mistake is to separate their gathering and thirst for knowledge from God and from a life given to know and please Him.
The idea behind having good understanding is ones ability to take their intelligence and use it to also manifest good sense and discernment. It is the ability to have more than just knowledge - it is the ability to gain insight from that knowledge. It is taking our knowledge and seeing it as the servant of God. Unfortunately in the past there were some in the church (not necessarily in Christ) who reacted wrongly to those who in foolish education decided that part and parcel of their education was a call to reject God. In their misguided zeal to "protect" God - they began to reject education. In our day there has been such a false separation between God and education that many believe you have to choose one or the other. Such a separation is falacious entirely. What the academic rejects is submitting his knowledge to anything or Anyone - which leads him to many foolish conclusions. What the Christian academic does is submit his study to the Word of God - which, if he will do so consistently, will lead him to even greater discoveries (and by the way - acurate ones as well).
Ultimately - and here is where the purely secular academic will howl with disapproval - the goal of life is to experience God's favor and grace. This is wholly unacceptable to the academic who rejects the Bible as ultimate truth. He sees this as a step backwards into stupidity and ignorance. But his rejection of God's favor only produces problems for him - and for those who adopt his worldview based upon purely flesly science and research. The Scriptures here state very clearly that the way of the treacherous is hard. The word treacherous is telling here. It is the Hebrew word "bagad" and it means to be traitorous, to act unfaithfully, to betray. This has at least two applications. First is the one I to which I am currently referring in this discussion of true scholars - who move past mere research to conclusions which ultimately seek the favor of God. The treachery of which they are guilty is a betrayal of their very principles of research and understanding. In cutting off any consideration of the divine - they betray their own conclusions. They demand a world without anything except what their fallen senses can detect. But such a world would be one without meaning or purpose. Thus their very science which seeks to make sense out of the world and its workings - is passionately pursuing of a moot point. There is no meaning - there are no morals - there is no purpose in a world that is based on an amoral starting point. You cannot begin with amorality - and come to a conclusion of any moral reasoning.
This is why the way of the treacherous is hard. Rejecting God, rejecting truth, rejecting the biblical worldview - is hard. In the end you are left with a machine that has no purpose nor meaning that crushes the life out of those who are desperately wanting their philosophical nothingless void to whisper that there is something to live for in life. Though they may never admit it in their lifetime - their pursuit of a nothing that means something will laugh at them in the end - showing that their lifetime has been spent tilting at philosophical windmills. Even worse - they will give the philosophical underpinnings that will give rise to the most monstrous of men. Germany rejected God - and rejected truth in the early 20th century in what they thought was a freedom from the mentally constipated constructs of Christian theology which they felt constricted science and philosophical thought. The step-child of their philosophy rose to power amidst the Third Reich - and Hitler arose as the one who would take their atheistic, evolution-driven understanding and put it to a use that would horrify the ages. His actions that sought a super-race - free from the restraints of human kindness and consideration - gave us the genocide of the Jews in his generation. Yet he was only following the treacherous path laid for him by those who asserted that a worldview based on the survival of the fittest. He was only taking their philosophical treachery and drawing conclusions that make sense in that system. In the end the way is hard for the treacherous.
There is a second kind of treachery - one that exists in the church itself. It is the treachery of hypocrisy within our hearts. This is where our so-called Bible understanding short-circuits and does not lead us to valid discernment of sin and righteousness. This is where we have a disconnect with the truth. We choose NOT to follow the Word - nor the conclusions that should be drawn from it. We choose NOT to walk in obedience - or to reject an action because the Scriptures clearly show it to be sin. Thus we become treacherous in how we either know the Word or how we should apply it. Once again the conclusion of this matter is that the way of the treacherous one is hard. Sin, regardless of who commits it, is going to be hard. There are going to be stumbling blocks - consequences - and difficulties that will not go away simply because we claim to be Christians. The Word stands - we can either follow it and walk in a way that will be blessed - or go the way of the transgressor, which the Bible also tells us, is hard.
The wise man is the one who grasps that God is truly God - and that His Word IS truth. Knowing this he is armed with what I would call "advanced" information about this world. It is information given to us - indeed revealed to us - from an Infinite Intelligence. If we learn to follow it - and know that stepping outside of its philosophical and moral constructs will only bring difficulty - we will be blessed - even favored if you will accept it. But to do so requires us to also accept the Author's worldview of man - that of a fallen one who has rebelled and turned from the right way to follow his own base nature. It requires us to see that the purpose of all things does not find its apex in man - but in God. Unfortunately for many academics - and religious hypocrites - that is the most odious step to take.