Richard is a simple man – and stupid
I guess it’s clear now that Richard doesn’t know that much, as Flocke noted in “LA X”.
His job on the Island was to give a little bit of guidance to the people on the Island, to avoid that they immediately fall for Smokey’s tricks. It seems that Jacob has not really tought Richard a whole lot about the Island and about Smokey and given Jacob’s attitude to intervention this is probably completely intentional from Jacob’s side.
The attempted murder on Jacob gave him something to think about and he concluded that an adviser for the people might be a good idea, but not an adviser that would affect the game more than precisely what is needed to balance the game.
What strikes me after having watched “Ab Aeterno” is that Richard is a simple man on the border to stupid. Richard knows that MIB is the Black Smoke, i.e. he knows that the Black Smoke can pose as MIB or vice versa. Jacob told Richard that the female figure that appeared to him was not his wife. Richard should be able to deduce that the Smokey/MIB had try to fool him by posing as his wife.
But later on when Richard sees a resurrected Locke, he claims that he has seen things on the Island that he cannot describe but he has never seen a dead person come alive again. Richard seems unable to connect the dots even when Locke’s dead body is shown to him.
And Richard should know that MIB is interested in getting an assassin near the Statue to kill Jacob, considering that MIB once sent him to do exactly that.
But Richard doesn’t get it until Flocke says the magic words, “nice to see you out of those chains”.
Note that Richard is even aware that under certain circumstances, people can be changed. He told Kate and Sawyer that if Ben is brought into the Temple to be healed, he will not be the same and he will lose his innocense.
Richard has to be somewhat stupid.