"It is better to heed a wise man's rebuke than to listen to the song of fools. Like the crackling of thorns under the pot, so is the laughter of fools. This too is meaningless." NIV translation
In our world today, it seems like we are bombarded with the idea of tolerance and getting along with everyone. Here, we see that Solomon found that it is much better to listen to the man that is trying to turn you away from the ways of the world than to listen to the those that preach tolerance. He reminds us that those that are of this world will be gathered and burned just as the thorns are used to heat the pot.
"Extortion turns a wise man into a fool, and a bribe corrupts the heart." NIV translation
Solomon has shown us that there are two sides to the road of life and now he warns us that Satan wants us on the wrong side. We see, here, two of the tactics that are used to get people to walk on the wrong side of the road. The first is extortion and is threatening to expose something that is not generally known and would be embarrassing. This relates to pride and the "good name" that we spoke of in verse 1. If you know who you are in Christ and are less concerned about what others think of you, then, there is less chance that this tactic will be effective against you. The second tactic is bribery and is in fact being paid to switch sides. There are those that will do anything to get ahead and to have more things in this life even if it means an eternity of torture. If our heart is reminded of the "house of mourning" and the implications for eternity, this tactic will fail as well.
"The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools. Do not say, 'Why were the old days better than these?' For it is not wise to ask such questions." NIV translation
Solomon tells us that, when these schemes of the devil and those he can use come, we are wise if we remember that God is in control. We can call on His name and patiently wait for Him or we can let pride creep in and try to handle them ourselves. We must also realize these schemes are an attempt to get us to cave in and walk down the middle of the road so we don't offend anyone. Solomon warns us not to look back at how these trials did not come before we were in Christ.