Proverbs 24:6

For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war; and in multitude of counsellors there is safety.
– Proverbs 24:6

The word for counsel means steerage and is put for guidance. The word for safety means rescue, or deliverance. It is most often translated “salvation.” Receiving wise counsel is part of being wise, or walking in the way of wisdom (Proverbs 11:14; 15:22; 20:18). This saying highlights the alien nature of wisdom, which we must receive through varying channels. It is not a leaning on our own hearts, but a leaning on the Lord (Proverbs 3:5-6).

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Proverbs 24:5

A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.
– Proverbs 24:5

Verses 5-6 form the next saying on the importance of wisdom. Obviously, an increase in wisdom does not mean an increase in muscular strength. The figure speaks of the value of wisdom in terms of perception, skill, and strategy. Wisdom makes the best use of the strength available, and also exploits the weaknesses of the opponent. Therefore, wisdom strengthens and is better than greater strength with less wisdom (Proverbs 8:14; 21:22; Ecclesiastes 7:19).

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Proverbs 24:4

And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
– Proverbs 24:4

This verse completes the saying and the metaphor of house building. A house is not really beautiful and useful until furnished and lived in. God created the world through wisdom and furnished it for the life, learning, flourishing, and joy of man to bring glory to his Creator. We image God and walk in his way when we build through wisdom. Through wisdom we equip our families for this vocation, and wisdom is certainly not only about material possessions. Wealth laid up is symbolic of walking in wisdom (Proverbs 15:6; 21:20).

The word for knowledge means cunning, or understanding. It is one of words in Proverbs under the umbrella of wisdom. It refers to acquired knowledge. It can be used in the negative sense of a lack of knowledge, such as ignorance. The instruction and correction of wisdom gives knowledge (Proverbs 1:4; 2:6). Knowledge acquired is worth more than silver and gold stored (Proverbs 8:10).

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Proverbs 24:3

Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established:
– Proverbs 24:3

Verses 3-4 form the next saying, which is a metaphor illustrating the positive, constructive power of wisdom. The imagery of wisdom building a house is elsewhere in the Proverbs and it provides an excellent illustration of lasting success (Proverbs 9:1; 14:1). The word for wisdom means skill, like that of a craftsman. This word functions like an umbrella term over other words that are more like components of the whole picture of wisdom. The word for understanding means intelligence, sense, or discernment. The word for builded means to build up and the word for established means to be made firm, or secure. Wisdom begins the building on a sure footing and completes the structure with lasting stability.

This saying also touches upon the ontological realities of vocation within the created cosmos. God has created and established with wisdom (Proverbs 3:19-20; 8:22-31). As image bearers of God, we are to build, or work, with wisdom. It is easy to see then why building, or working, with folly is destructive, because it gives false witness to the Creator, will not be established, and cannot stand. When we work and build with God-fearing wisdom, our work is established and we give faithful witness to the Creator and are walking in his way.

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Proverbs 24:2

For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.
– Proverbs 24:2

The warning of verse 1 is explained is this verse, which completes the saying. The warning against the company of evil men is not considered here in terms of the consequences of their behavior, but rather the deficiencies of their character. The word for studieth means to ponder, or meditate. The word for destruction means violence. Their heart, or mind, is fixed on violence and doing evil. Their speech comes from their heart, which is obsessed with mischief, or trouble. The energies of evil men are devoted to violence and trouble (Proverbs 6:14). They are not thinking, speaking, and doing wisdom. Wisdom is neither prized nor sought with them. If we are to seek wisdom (Proverbs 2:4), then we will not seek the company of evil men for they are bent away from it (Proverbs 2:12-15; 16:28-30).

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Proverbs 24:1

Introduction
Chapter 24 continues the “words of the wise” in verses 1-22 and adds an appendix of wise sayings in verses 23-34. The sayings cover various topics such as, envy, wisdom, fools, perseverance, futility, enemies, good citizenry, judgment, false witness, and learning wisdom. There is no apparent structure beyond the usual verse pairs that form a saying.

Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them.
– Proverbs 24:1

Verses 1-2 form a saying warning against envying evil men. The word for envious means to be jealous. The word for desire means to wish for. Wisdom instructs not to envy the prosperity of evil men, nor want to be with them. Wisdom has elsewhere warned of the folly of making bad companions (Proverbs 1:11-15; 13:20; 23:20). The warning starts with envy, which is an inner desire or jealousy that sees something desirable in the lives of the wicked. To one without wisdom, the life of evil men looks free, exciting, and prosperous. Wisdom knows better, because wisdom takes the long view (Proverbs 23:18; 24:20).

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Proverbs 23:35

They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.
– Proverbs 23:35

The saying concludes with the words of the drunkard. It’s a pathetic picture of the self-destruction a man is brought to who indulges and feeds his addictions and compulsions. The drunkard is senseless and painless toward all remedial efforts. He says, “I was not sick,” and, “I felt it not.” The drunkard is truly a particular type of fool, heedless of correction (Proverbs 27:22). In true proverbial fashion, he says, “I will seek it yet again.” The fool who will not learn wisdom, will only continue on hardened against correction and senseless of the consequences (Proverbs 26:11).

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Proverbs 23:34

Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast.
– Proverbs 23:34

This verse continues the ill effects of intoxication. It describes drunkenness and the resulting dizziness and sickness. Though man stand upon the earth, drunkenness makes him feel tossed about on the sea.

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Proverbs 23:33

Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.
– Proverbs 23:33

This verse continues with the effects of excessive drinking. One’s perception of reality and judgment are impaired. Kings and leaders are not to be indulgent drinkers because they need soberness of mind not to pervert justice (Proverbs 31:5; 1 Timothy 3:3). Of course, wine and strong drink are not the only mind altering substances. The first phrase speaks of the eyes, as in what will attract your attention while under the influence that you would not otherwise consider. The second phrase speaks of the heart, or mind, and what you utter, or speak. Clearly, under the influence of intoxicating drinks, you will think, say, and do things you would not when thinking clearly.

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