Proverbs 24

Introduction

Solomon continues with his thirty sayings of the wise, which all relate to the heart, they begin in Proverbs 22:17 and finish in Proverbs 24:24.

‘Do not envy the wicked, do not desire their company; for their hearts plot violence, and their lips talk about making trouble.’ Proverbs 24:1-2

Saying 20

We can’t say that those around us don’t affect our lives, if we do, we are in denial. We become like them, 1 Corinthians 15:33.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Another admonition against envy is in Proverbs 23:17. Envy is not merely destructive of the personality of the envious, but it also provides a motive for many kinds of wickedness. One is foolish indeed to envy wicked people, who, regardless of their earthly status, are doomed to eternal death. There is a strange attractiveness about evil. ‘Young people, and sometimes older people, are fascinated by the glamour and aura of success and power which sometimes clings to evil men.’ The wise should look beyond all of that and consider the ultimate fate of all wicked men.’

‘By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.’ Proverbs 24:3-4

Saying 21

Wisdom and understanding are the blueprints for our house, without them, our homes would be chaotic.

DeHoff, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The passage is a metaphor of the fact that righteous and godly living are required to build, a family, a good name, and to establish them.’

‘The wise prevail through great power, and those who have knowledge muster their strength. Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers.’ Proverbs 24:5-6

Saying 22

These verses are simply telling us that wisdom is more powerful than any human power.

Clarke, in his commentary, says the following.

‘His wisdom enables him to construct a great variety of machines, by which, under his own influence, he can do the labour of a hundred or even a thousand men. But in all cases wisdom gives power and influence; and he who is wise to salvation can overcome even Satan himself. The Septuagint has: ‘The wise is better than the strong; and the man who has prudence, than a stout husbandman’.’

The second line of Proverbs 24:6 is identical with that in Proverbs 11:14. This proverb stresses the superiority of wisdom over physical strength.

‘Wisdom is too high for fools; in the assembly at the gate they must not open their mouths.’ Proverbs 24:7

Saying 23

We must go to the high places in order to grasp wisdom. There is nothing wrong with asking for advice from certain people about a decision we need to make whether it is a new job or moving to a new place to live.

Matthew Henry, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Wisdom is too high for him; he thinks it so, and therefore, despairing to attain it, he will take no pains in the pursuit of it, but sit down content without it. And really it is so; he has not capacity for it, and therefore the advantages he has for getting it are all in vain to him. It is no easy thing to get wisdom; those that have natural parts good enough, yet if they be foolish, that is, if they be slothful and will not take pains, if they be playful and trifling, and given to their pleasures, if they be viciously inclined and keep bad company, it is too high for them; they are not likely to reach it. And, for want of it, they are unfit for the service of their country: They open not their mouth in the gate; they are not admitted into the council or magistracy, or, if they are, they are dumb statues, and stand for cyphers; they say nothing, because they have nothing to say, and they know that if they should offer any thing it would not be heeded, nay, it would be hissed at. Let young men take pains to get wisdom, that they may be qualified for public business, and do it with reputation.’

‘Whoever plots evil will be known as a schemer. The schemes of folly are sin, and people detest a mocker.’ Proverbs 24:8-9

Saying 24

We normally understand the folly as the sin, but here it’s related to merely thinking about it is the sin. Sin starts in your mind and then it grows and before you know it, it has caused a lot of devastation, James 1:15.

Clarke, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Fool is here taken for a wicked man, who is not only evil in his actions, but every thought of his heart is evil, and that continually. A simple thought about foolishness, or about sin itself, is not sinful; it is the purpose or device, the harbouring evil thoughts, and devising how to sin, that is criminal.’

A wicked man is not only despised as a fool is, but detested, Psalms 35:15 / Nehemiah 2:19.

‘If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength! Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, ‘But we knew nothing about this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?’ Proverbs 24:10-12

Saying 25

Clarke, in his commentary, says the following.

‘In times of trial we should endeavour to be doubly courageous; when a man loses his courage, his strength avails him nothing.’

We must be willing to help those who are struggling, James 5:19-20 / Galatians 6:1 / 2 Timothy 4:5 / Jude 1:23. The words, ‘if you say’, imply this may be an excuse to not be involved. With opportunity comes responsibility, if we can help someone we had better do so, James 2:14-15.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘There are three situations here where a true man, instead of avoiding his duty, should discharge it. These are the crisis, Proverbs 24:10, the near-hopeless task, Proverbs 24:11, and pardonable ignorance. Such difficult, unanticipated and near-hopeless situations are to be expected in the Christian life, Acts 14:22.’

‘Eat honey, my son, for it is good; honey from the comb is sweet to your taste. Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.’ Proverbs 24:13-14

Saying 26

Wisdom is referred to as honey, it’s sweet and good for us. When we do, we have hope, eternal hope, Psalm 19:10.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Note the word IF. The teaching here is that one’s eternal hope depends upon his finding wisdom. The wisdom that saves the soul is found only in the Holy Bible; and therefore, an apostle has commanded us to, study to show thyself approved unto God, 2 Timothy 2:15.’

‘Do not lurk like a thief near the house of the righteous, do not plunder their dwelling place; for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.’ Proverbs 24:15-16

Saying 27

We all know that a thief’s intentions are never good. We need to rise again and keep fighting the good fight, 1 Timothy 6:11-16.

Clarke, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Though God permit the hand of violence sometimes to spoil his tent, temptations to assail his mind, and afflictions to press down his body, he constantly emerges; and every time he passes through the furnace, he comes out brighter and more refined.’

‘Seven times’ is normally enough to defeat someone, but a righteous man will continue to get up, Matthew 18:21-22.

‘Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice, or the LORD will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from them.’ Proverbs 24:17-18

Saying 28

It’s so easy to boast and rejoice when someone we don’t like falls, but we must remember that vengeance is the Lord’s, Obadiah 12 / Romans 12:19.

When God sees our joy, will He turn His anger toward us instead? We should never rejoice in someone else’s misfortunes even though it was wrong what they did, 2 Samuel 1:11-12.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The implication of the passage is that God might be more concerned with punishing his disobedient follower than that of the outright wicked.’

‘Do not fret because of evildoers or be envious of the wicked, for the evildoer has no future hope, and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out.’ Proverbs 24:19-20

Saying 29

The warning is clear here, if we want to have a hope for the future, we mustn’t become like those evildoers.

Clarke, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Some have thought that this text intimates the annihilation of sinners; but it refers not to being, but to the state or condition of that being. The wicked shall be; but they shall not be HAPPY.’

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The prosperity of the wicked is only temporary; they are detested by God, Proverbs 3:32, and are doomed, Proverbs 24:20).’ The second line of Proverbs 24:20 is identical with that of Proverbs 13:9.’

‘Fear the LORD and the king, my son, and do not join with rebellious officials, for those two will send sudden destruction on them, and who knows what calamities they can bring?’ Proverbs 24:21-22

Saying 30

Here we read about the Lord and the king and the importance of submitting and respecting them both. Romans 13:1-7 / 1 Peter 2:17.

Matthew Henry, in his commentary, says the following.

1. Religion and loyalty must go together. As men, it is our duty to honour our Creator, to worship and reverence him, and to be always in his fear; as members of a community, incorporated for mutual benefit, it is our duty to be faithful and dutiful to the government God has set over us, Romans 13:1-2. Those that are truly religious will be loyal, in conscience towards God; the godly in the land will be the quiet in the land; and those are not truly loyal, or will be so no longer than is for their interest, that are not religious. How should he be true to his prince that is false to his God? And, if they come in competition, it is an adjudged case, we must obey God rather than men.

2. Innovations in both are to be dreaded. Have nothing to do, he does not say, with those that change, for there may be cause to change for the better, but those that are given to change, that affect change for change-sake, out of a peevish discontent with that which is and a fondness for novelty, or a desire to fish in troubled waters: Meddle not with those that are given to change either in religion or in a civil government; come not into their secret; join not with them in their cabals, nor enter into the mystery of their iniquity.

3. Those that are of restless, factious, turbulent spirits, commonly pull mischief upon their own heads ere they are aware: Their calamity shall rise suddenly. Though they carry on their designs with the utmost secresy, they will be discovered, and brought to condign punishment, when they little think of it. Who knows the time and manner of the ruin which both God and the king will bring on their contemners, both on them and those that meddle with them?

This concludes the thirty sayings of the wise.

‘These also are sayings of the wise: To show partiality in judging is not good: Whoever says to the guilty, ‘You are innocent,’ will be cursed by peoples and denounced by nations. But it will go well with those who convict the guilty, and rich blessing will come on them. An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.’ Proverbs 24:23-26

Further Sayings Of The Wise

Here we are reminded that God shows no favouritism, Acts 10:34, and that He always wants to help the helpless, Leviticus 19:9-37 / James 2:1-11.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘These verses are an example of some magistrate’s respect of the person of a wicked man, saying, ‘Thou art righteous.’ The hatred of peoples and nations for such behavior is certain to follow; but all mankind honors sound and righteous judgment; and the blessing of God attends it.’

Why is an honest answer like a kiss on the lips? It’s a sign of true friendship, trust and honesty. Honesty is always the best policy.

‘Put your outdoor work in order and get your fields ready; after that, build your house.’ Proverbs 24:27

Here we are reminded of our priorities, get your life in order before trying to settle down, Haggai 1:4-6 / Matthew 6:33 / Luke 14:28ff.

Clarke, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Do nothing without a plan. In winter prepare seed, implements, tackle, gears, etc., for seed-time and harvest.’

‘Do not testify against your neighbour without cause—would you use your lips to mislead? Do not say, ‘I’ll do to them as they have done to me; I’ll pay them back for what they did.’ Proverbs 24:28-29

We mustn’t look for any old excuse to say something against anyone, we especially shouldn’t tell lies about them just to get our way, Ephesians 4:25.

Have you ever been angry with someone? What does that anger want you to do? That anger pushes us to get them back, sometimes like little children but that’s the way the world works, not Christians.

Again, this is the problem of vengeance, Romans 12:17 / Ephesians 4:25 / Ephesians 4:29 / 1 Thessalonians 5:15.

‘I went past the field of a sluggard, past the vineyard of someone who has no sense; thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins. I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw: A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.’ Proverbs 24:30-34

Procrastination

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘This, of course, is another denunciation of sloth and a warning against it. This ranks as one of the favorite subjects in Proverbs. It has already been treated in Proverbs 10:26 / Proverbs 12:11 / Proverbs 12:24 / Proverbs 12:27 / Proverbs 13:4 / Proverbs 14:4 / Proverbs 14:23 / Proverbs 15:19 / Proverbs 16:26 / Proverbs 18:9 / Proverbs 19:15 / Proverbs 19:24 / Proverbs 20:4 / Proverbs 20:13 / Proverbs 21:25 / Proverbs 22:13.’

We all suffer from procrastination at times, we’re all very good at putting things off until a later date. This attitude doesn’t surprise the wise person because it is what they had expected to find from the sluggard.

‘If clouds are full of water, they pour rain on the earth. Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where it falls, there it will lie. Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.’ Ecclesiastes 11:3-4

Go To Proverbs 25

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