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Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them.
Evil men, neither desire to be with them - i:e., to share in their ways. Proverbs 23:17; Proverbs 23:30-35 shows the evil results of their ways, which ought to warn all how little they are to be envied, much less imitated.
For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.
For their heart studieth destruction - against others, which recoils on themselves (Proverbs 11:3; Proverbs 11:5-6; Job 5:2).
Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established:
Through wisdom is an house builded. Do not, in seeing the prosperity of the wicked (Proverbs 24:1; Psalms 37:35; Psalms 73:3, etc.), despair of true prosperity for thy household; for by following godly "wisdom" thou and thine shall be firmly secured in all that is for your good, when the household built up by wickedness shall fall (Jeremiah 22:13-16; Amos 5:11; Micah 3:10-12).
And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches. By knowledge - of God, and of our duty to Him, to our neighbour, and to ourselves.
All precious and pleasant riches - the true riches which fail not, first of the soul, ultimately of the body and external condition (Luke 12:33; Luke 16:11).
A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.
A wise man (Hebrew, geber (H1397 ), a hero) is strong - Hebrew, is in strength; i:e., invested with it. Wisdom more then supplies the place of bodily strength (Proverbs 21:22; Ecclesiastes 9:14-16).
For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety.
Thou shalt make thy war - in accordance with thine own desires (cf. Proverbs 11:14; Proverbs 20:18, notes).
Wisdom is too high for a fool: he openeth not his mouth in the gate.
Wisdom is too high for a fool - to attain unto. The difficulty lies not in wisdom, which is easy to the sincere, but in the fool's own unwillingness and sloth (Proverbs 14:6).
He openeth not (he dares not, for want of wisdom, open) his mouth in the gate - in the court of justice: loquacious and babbling as he is elsewhere.
He that deviseth to do evil shall be called a mischievous person.
He that deviseth to do evil (inventing new oaths, frauds, incentives to sin, Romans 1:30 ) shall be called a mischievous person - Hebrew, 'a master of mischiefs;' a ringleader among the bad (Proverbs 14:17).
The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men.
The thought (Hebrew, zimat (H2154 ); literally, evil or mischievous counsel) of foolishness (i:e., of the man of foolishness) (is) sin. The man of foolishness - i:e., wickedness-deviseth in his counsel nothing else except sin.
And the scorner (is) an abomination to men - a further step. Hardened "foolishness" - i:e., wickedness-eventually forms the scorner, whose scorn of all things sacred excites the disgust even of men of the world.
If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.
(If) thou faint in the day of adversity (narrowness), thy strength (is) small - Hebrew, narrow; the same root as "adversity." Thou needest to have a large, not a narrow, measure of spiritual strength to enable thee to bear up against the inching narrowness of adversity (cf. Jeremiah 12:5.) Even Job (Job 4:3-5) fainted in the day of adversity. If thy strength be small, go to Him who "giveth power to the faint," and who "increaseth strength to them that have no might" (Isaiah 40:29).
If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain;
If thou forbear to deliver (them that are) drawn unto death, and (those that are) ready to be (literally, wavering on, the verge of being) slain. The Hebrew order is, 'to deliver etc., if thou forbear.' The duty is laid down first, then the failure to discharge it; and the penal consequent of this follows in Proverbs 24:12, "Doth not He that pondereth the heart consider it?" Gesenius takes the Hebrew particle [ 'im (H518)] "if" to be used as a formula of oath, equivalent to 'Do not (through indolence or cowardice) forbear to deliver, etc. So the good Samaritan, Luke 10:30, etc.; Exodus 23:5; Esther 3:6-13; Esther 4:13-14; Esther 8:4-6; Obadiah 1:1; 1 Kings 18:4. The Vulgate, Chaldaic, Syriac, and Arabic, and seemingly the Septuagint, translate, 'Deliver them, etc.; and do not forbear (to deliver) those that are ready to be slain.' Of course, those to be delivered are not those justly condemned to death, but those through misfortune or oppression threatened with destruction. The excuse, "Am I my brother's keeper?" was that of the murderer Cain (Genesis 4:9). Many stand on the same footing, who say, We have enough to do with our own business, without minding the business of others.
If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?
If [ kiy (H3588 ), But if: For if] thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not (i:e., the particulars of his case; or any way to deliver him); doth not he that pondereth the heart (Proverbs 16:2; Proverbs 21:2) consider (it)?-whether thy excuse be a valid or feigned one? whether thy reason for not delivering thy neighbour was selfish love of personal ease and safety, unconcern about others, fear of man, or real ignorance and inability
And he that keepeth thy soul - whereas thou hast no care to keep the lives or souls of others. Gejer translates, 'He who observes thy soul,' and sees thy excuses to be subterfuges.
Shall (not) he render to (every) man according to his works? - according to works of charity (among other tests), either performed or omitted (Matthew 25:31-46).
My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste:
Eat thou honey, because it is good (a gracious invitation to partake of the spiritual honey, Song of Solomon 5:1 ; Psalms 19:9-10 ; Psalms 119:103 ): so shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul - at once sweet and profitable.
When thou hast found it (Matthew 13:44 ; Matthew 13:46 ), then there shall be a reward (or end: a reward at the end of the work), and thy expectation shall not be cut off - (Proverbs 23:18, margin; 1 Timothy 4:8)
Lay not wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; spoil not his resting place:
Lay not wait, O wicked (man), against the dwelling (Hebrew, the cottage; the humble dwelling) of the righteous; spoil not his resting place - assail him not either by secret fraud or open violence. Scripture here assures the righteous that God will defend him securely from both.
For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.
For a just man falleth seven (i:e., ever so many, Proverbs 26:25 ) times (into calamities), and riseth up again
- out of them all, by the help of God (Job 5:19; Psalms 37:24; Micah 7:8). Therefore, the efforts of the wicked against them (Proverbs 24:15) are lost labour, and vain. Some explain 'fall' of sinning: but the Hebrew, "falleth" ( naapal (H5307)), is nowhere used for sinneth, but for falling into trials (Proverbs 24:17).
But the wicked shall fall into mischief. Rather, 'shall fall in (even one) calamity,' so as never to rise up again.
Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth:
Thine enemy - so the Qeri'; but the Kethibh, 'thine enemies.'
Let not thine heart be glad (not only do not openly rejoice, but do not even secretly in thy heart be glad) when he stumbleth. Not only are we not to exult in a more severe calamity, but not even in a lighter one of an enemy. The notion is false that the Old Testament does not prescribe love of enemies. This is not inconsistent with exulting over the overthrow of the public enemies of God and the Church: as over Pharaoh (Exodus 15:1-27), and hereafter over mystic Babylon (Isaiah 66:24; Revelation 18:20). David did not exult at the death of his personal enemy, Saul, but mourned (2 Samuel 1:17, etc.; contrast Obadiah 1:12).
Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him.
Lest the Lord ... turn, away his wrath from him - upon thee. The Lord's turning away His wrath from him is virtually to arm him with strength to punish thee for exulting in his calamity (Job 31:29; Ezekiel 25:3; Ezekiel 26:2).
Fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious at the wicked;
Fret not thyself ... neither be thou envious at the wicked - (Proverbs 24:1; Proverbs 23:17; Psalms 37:1; Psalms 37:7.)
For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.
For there shall be no reward to the evil (man) - contrast end of Proverbs 24:14.
The candle of the wicked shall be put out - (Proverbs 13:9.)
My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change:
Fear thou Lord and the king - the Lord first, then the king, in so far as he is representative of God, and bears the delegated authority of God (Ecclesiastes 8:2).
Meddle not with them that are given to change - who are fond of innovations in Church and State (Jeremiah 2:36; Jude 1:8).
For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both?
For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both? - the ruin of both those who fear not the Lord and of those who fear not the king shall come in an hour they know not (Psalms 35:8).
These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment.
Here begins a collection of maxims closing the second part, Proverbs 11:1-31; Proverbs 12:1-28; Proverbs 13:1-25; Proverbs 14:1-35; Proverbs 15:1-33; Proverbs 16:1-33; Proverbs 17:1-28; Proverbs 18:1-24; Proverbs 19:1-29; Proverbs 20:1-30; Proverbs 21:1-31; Proverbs 22:1-29; Proverbs 23:1-35; Proverbs 24:1-34.
These (things) also (belong) to the wise - they are such sayings as emanate from the wise. The "also" implies that Solomon is the author of them as of the former saying.
It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment - (Proverbs 18:5; Proverbs 28:21.) To be partial from regard to favour, riches, or rank.
He that saith unto the wicked, Thou are righteous; him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him:
He that saith unto the wicked, Thou art righteous - (Proverbs 17:15.)
Him shall the people curse. The wicked, though they allow vices in themselves, yet condemn them in others; and the general conscience of a people condemns unjust judges.
But to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them.
But to them that rebuke (him) (the wicked) shall be delight, and a good blessing (Hebrew, a blessing of But to them that rebuke (him) (the wicked) shall be delight, and a good blessing (Hebrew, a blessing of good; a prayer for their prosperity; in contrast to the "curse" of "the people," Proverbs 24:24 ) shall come upon them. Righteous judges, and others in authority of any kind, who check the bad, have the internal "delight" of their own approving conscience, as also the blessing from without of the public approval. Gejer translates, 'the blessing of (every) good' man, in antithesis to the "curse" of "the people" in general (cf. Job 29:13).
Every man shall kiss his lips that giveth a right answer.
(Every man) shall kiss his lips (the sign of love, 2 Samuel 15:5 ) that giveth a right answer - (Proverbs 25:11; Proverbs 15:23; contrast Proverbs 18:13.) The Hebrew admits of another sense, and with less ellipsis: 'He that giveth a right answer shall kiss lips;' i:e., A good answer is as good as a kiss. The good answerer does a thing as grateful as a friend does who kisses his friend. He removes doubts and errors, vices and perplexities. As many as are his words, so many his kisses. So Gejer, Mercer, etc.
Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.
Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterward build thine house.
Necessary things are to take precedency of those which are for ornament and elegance. Be content with a cottage, and labour strenuously in the field at agriculture, until you have made the necessary money for building a more commodious and elegant house (Piscator, Gejer, etc.); or, until you have made money enough to marry, and beget and support children. So 'build a house' is used, Exodus 1:21; Ruth 4:11; 2 Samuel 7:27 (Rabbi Salomon). I prefer taking it simply, First collect your materials, and make your preparations, and count the cost, and afterward, when all is ready, set about building; if you do not so, you will have to stop very soon after you have begun, and be justly laughed, at as an improvident fool. So Solomon's temple 'was built of stone made ready before it was brought there' (1 Kings 5:18; 1 Kings 6:7). So the spiritual temple (Ephesians 2:21-22), though prepared in its materials for ages past, with a marvelous combination of agencies, is being now silently reared without outward show (Luke 17:20, margin). Compare Jesus' warning, Luke 14:28-30.
Be not a witness against thy neighbour without cause; and deceive not with thy lips. Be not a witness against thy neighbour without cause - falsely, or even frivolously, without sure ground for thy accusation.
And deceive (not) with thy lips. Do not wound him either by false accusations or by insidious blandishments.
Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.
Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me - (Proverbs 20:22.)
I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding;
Folly of the sluggard.
And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.
Lo, it was all grown over (literally, it ascended) with thorns. The face of the field, which had been low, seemed to have, as it were, ascended by reason of the thorns which shot up.
And the stone wall thereof was broken down. The boundary walls were formed of loose stones without cement, which, if not from time to time repaired, would soon tumble down.
Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction.
Then I saw, and considered it well (applied my mind to it) ... and received instruction - (cf. margin.) I took no superficial view, but considered well what was the cause of the desolate state of the field, and so I received instruction to avoid the culpable sloth of its owner, as I should wish to escape his fate. Though fools will not learn from the wise, the wise may learn much from fools.
Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
Compare the same, Proverbs 6:10-11.
So shall thy poverty come as one that traveleth; and thy want as an armed man. 'At first slowly, step by step, like a traveler, without being felt, comes debt and diminution of one's inheritance. But soon poverty attacks, like an armed warrior, with a strong and, irresistible hand; as the ancients rightly said, 'Necessity is the strongest of things, therefore we must meet the traveler, fortify ourselves against the armed man' (Bacon, in 'Poli Synopsis').
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 24". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19