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BEWARE OF ENVYING THE WICKED
Verses 1-2 are discussed in comment on Vs 19-20.
The Sure Foundation
Verses 3-4 declare that wisdom, which includes knowledge and understanding and begins with the fear of the LORD (Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 9:10), is the foundation on which worthwhile material and spiritual endeavors prosper, Proverbs 4:5-9; Proverbs 9:1; Proverbs 14:1; .
Seek Wise Counsel
Verses 5-6 repeat admonitions to seek wise counsel of others in deciding important matters (Proverbs 11:14; Proverbs 15:22; Proverbs 20:18). It should be noted, however, that man’s counsel is wise only to the extent it is in accord with the Word of the LORD, Proverbs 19:21; Psalms 119:9; Psalms 119:11; Psalms 119:24.
The Inadequacy of the Fool
Verse 7 affirms the inadequacy of the fool. Although he is quick to speak foolishness (Proverbs 12:23; Proverbs 13:16; Proverbs 15:2), he has no desire for wisdom (Proverbs 17:16) and has nothing worthwhile to say if called before the gate Proverbs 17:7; Psalms 10:4-5; Job 5:3-4. (The gates of Palestinian cities became the place where responsible people gathered for the conduct of legal transactions, public hearings, etc., 2 Samuel 15:2-6; Ruth 4:1-4; Deuteronomy 21:18-21.)
The Progress of Evil
Verses 8-9 emphasize the progress of evil. Thoughts of foolishness (Proverbs 12:23; Proverbs 24:9) progress to deliberate plans and acts of evil (Proverbs 6:14; Proverbs 24:8); and a scornful attitude abhorred by men (Proverbs 24:9), and condemned by the LORD (Proverbs 19:29; Proverbs 3:33-34; Romans 1:30-32).
Fainting in Time of Stress
Verse 10 declares that he who faints in the day of adversity (Numbers 14:3; Deuteronomy 1:28) has little strength. He is looking at the problem rather than the problem solver; at his own weakness rather than the strength of the LORD (Proverbs 3:5-6). Examples such as Job 19:23-27; Habakkuk 3:17-19; Acts 20:22-24; beckon the wise to faint not in the day of adversity, to which all are subject, Proverbs Philippians 1:29.
Verses 11-12 reveal three consequences of fainting in times of adversity: 1) failure to deliver those who are ready to perish; 2) the likelihood that if some die, a false claim of not knowing of their need will be made; 3) the certainty that the LORD knows the truth and will deal accordingly with offenders, Job 34:11; Psalms 62:12; Ecclesiastes 12:14; Jeremiah 32:19; Romans 2:6; Hebrews 12:9-13.
Wisdom-the Best Possession
Verses 13 and 14 declare that as honey is good for the physical body and sweet to the taste, so is wisdom good for and satisfying to the soul. The son is therefore advised to find wisdom and be rewarded with that which is sweeter than honey, more to be desired than fine gold, and which will not be cut off, Proverbs 23:18; Psalms 37:37; Psalms 119:103; Psalms 19:8-10.
Wicked Abusers of the Righteous
Verses 15-16 warn the wicked against oppressing the righteous man. Even though he should be overtaken by trouble seven times, the righteous shall rise up again because the LORD delivers him, Job 5:19; Psalms 34:19; Psalms 37:24; Micah 7:8; Romans 14:4. The wicked abuser of the righteous falls into mischief, which can be severe, because he is opposing man’s LORD, not just man, Proverbs 24:8; Proverbs 11:21; Psalms 54:4-5; Psalms 140:11-12; Ezra 5:14; Ezra 7:10.
Verses 17-18 warn against rejoicing at the misfortune of an enemy. Such is not pleasing to the LORD whose watchful eye beholds it, and views it as the greater sin, Proverbs 17:5; Job 31:28-29; 2 Samuel 1:5-12; Psalms 35:11-14; Obadiah 1:12; Ezekiel 33:11; Matthew 5:44.
Beware of Envy of Wicked
Verses 19-20 conclude the last of three warnings against envy in this section of Proverbs. The first (Proverbs 23:17-18) advises the wise son to not envy sinners; but live submissively with confidence that the LORD will supply all needs in this life, plus his glorious expectation in the life beyond (Psalms 37:37; Proverbs 24:14). The second warning (Proverbs 24:1-2) advises the son to neither be envious of, nor desire to be with evil men, because their activity involves mischief and destruction. This third warning (Proverbs 24:19-20) advises the son to fret not neither be envious because evil men seem to prosper. There is no lasting reward for such; the candle of the wicked shall be put out (the freedom to pursue evil will be terminated), Proverbs 13:9; Job 18:5; Job 21:17; Psalms 11:6; Psalms 37:1-2.
Verses 21-22 affirm the basics of good citizenship. Fear the LORD, honor civil authority, and meddle not with them that rebel against law and order. In the days these Proverbs were written, Israel was subject to God and a divinely appointed king responsible to God for leading them in civil and spiritual activity, Proverbs 14:34; Ezra 7:26; Exodus 22:28. The New Testament carried these good citizenship principles forward, 1 Peter 2:13-17; Romans 13:1-7. Ruin awaits both he who fears not God and he who respects not civil authority.
Further Characteristics of the Wise
Verses 23-26 demonstrate that the truly wise are governed by truth, honesty, and forthrightness in their speech and decisions:
1) They do not show respect of person in their judgments, Vs 23; Proverbs 18:5; Proverbs 28:21; Leviticus 19:15; Deuteronomy 1:17.
2) They do not declare as righteous, wicked persons whom the people and nations abhor because of known wickedness, Vs 24; Proverbs 17:15; Isaiah 5:23; John 7:24.
3) They rebuke and mete out justice to the wicked to the delight of honest men, Vs 25; Proverbs 28:23.
4) Their honesty and forthrightness in giving right answers is appreciated by the people who receive them with the respect and affection often expressed by a kiss, Vs 26; Proverbs 25:11-12; 1 Samuel 10:1; 2 Samuel 19:39.
God’s Family Plan
Verse 27 suggests thoughtful planning and preparation before building a house and establishing a family. It recommends first that the work or income needed be secured. Next build or provide the house required; afterwards marry and establish a family in accord with Divine instructions, Luke 14:28-30; Proverbs 18:22; 1 Timothy 5:14; Hebrews 13:4; Mark 10:9.
The sequence of parenthood, marriage or living together, income, home, so often practiced today, has many reasons for failure. It disregards all basic instructions of the all-wise LORD.
False Accusations and Vengeance
Verse 28 forbids false accusations against another as Exodus 20:16; Exodus 23:1 do also. Proverbs 19:5 emphasizes that such shall not go unpunished.
Verse 29 warns against seeking vengeance or repaying evil with evil. Such is to be left to the LORD (Proverbs 20:22) who has reserved to Himself the matter of proper recompense, Deuteronomy 19:16-21; Deuteronomy 32:25-26; Romans 12:17; Romans 12:19. The proper attitude for the falsely accused is stated in Matthew 5:43-44; Romans 12:20-21.
Lessons From the Sluggard
Verses 30-34 repeat and emphasize the lessons to be learned from the slothful:
1) Man is blessed with life and the opportunity to work. It is the Divine plan that he work for his own substance, and that of others, Genesis 3:17-19; 2 Thessalonians 3:10.
2) Because it is left untended, the slothful man’s field and vineyard is soon overgrown by thorns and nettles (Genesis 3:18) and the protective fence of stones crumbles and falls, permitting animals to forage on any remaining produce.
3) The passer-by observes this condition and gleans from it the lesson that repeated procrastination of necessary activity in order to sleep, loaf or avoid the rain and cold leads inevitably to absolute poverty, Proverbs 6:10-11; Proverbs 10:4; Proverbs 13:4; Proverbs 18:9; Proverbs 20:4; Proverbs 21:25.
NOTE: The N. T. warns of the more tragic waste of the life of the spiritual sluggard who is dull of hearing (fails to listen to and study the WORD); and fails to recognize the urgency of time which requires faithful obedience to the Scriptures, Hebrews 5:11; Hebrews 6:12; Romans 13:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8.
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Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Proverbs 24". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/
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