Proverbs 24:25

But to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them.
– Proverbs 24:25

This verse continues from the previous and gives the alternative to perverted justice, which is right judgment. The word for delight denotes pleasantness and the word for blessing means prosperity. These words describe the reward that comes to those who judge righteous judgment. The rebuke indicated in the verse is given to the guilty from the previous verse.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 24:24

He that saith unto the wicked, Thou art righteous; him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him:
– Proverbs 24:24

The “respect of persons in judgment” from the previous verse is explained as declaring the wicked to be righteous. Declaring the guilty to be innocent is a corruption of justice. Such perverting of justice is an abomination to God (Proverbs 17:15), and also to the general public (Proverbs 11:26). Perverting justice may win power and position, but it will lose the people.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 24:23

These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment.
– Proverbs 24:23

Verse 23 begins an additional collection of wise sayings, which runs through the end of the end of the chapter. Verses 23-26 form a saying concerning just judgment. The phrase respect of persons literally means: look at the face. It is put for showing partiality in judgment. The word for judgment means a verdict, or decision. It has legal connotations. The saying is a warning against perverting justice. We show partiality in giving favor to the rich or powerful. We also show partiality by giving favor the poor or downtrodden. The latter is sometimes called reverse discrimination. Any perversion of justice, regardless of the direction favor is shown, is unjust (Leviticus 19:15; Deuteronomy 1:17; 16:19; Proverbs 18:5; 28:21).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 24:22

For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both?
– Proverbs 24:22

Verse 22 explains the warning in the previous verse. The wording is a little difficult. The word for calamity means ruin and indicates the downfall of the rebels of the previous verse. The word for ruin means destruction. The both referred to is most naturally understood of God and the king in the previous verse. The warning is in light of the judgment coming upon the rebellious (Proverbs 16:14; 20:2).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 24:21

My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change:
– Proverbs 24:21

Verses 21-22 form the last saying in this set of the “Words of the Wise.” The last saying teaches fear, or respect, of authority. We reverence the civil authority as God’s appointed authority (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:17). The word for meddle means to braid. The word for given to change means to alter. Wisdom teaches not to be mixed up with rebels and agitators. Peter gave similar warning (1 Peter 4:15). This saying starts with the fear of Yahweh, which is the beginning of wisdom and the ground for respect of authority.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 24:20

For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.
– Proverbs 24:20

This verse gives the explanation for the warning in the previous verse and takes a deathly serious turn. Commentators vary as to how much the afterlife is in view in Proverbs. Wisdom in Proverbs is concerned with the long view and the end of ways, so it is expected that the end of life, and what’s after, is in view. The word for reward means after part, or end. It is most often translated “end” in this book (Proverbs 5:4; 14:12-13; 16:25; 19:20; 20:21; 23:18; 25:8). Those verses reflect the meaning of outcome, and in many instances it is the outcome of life. When taken with the last phrase, it is plain this verse is talking about death and the loss of expectation or hope for the wicked. The imagery of the candle being put out for the wicked is used consistently to indicate the forfeiture of any good expectation at the death of the wicked (Proverbs 13:9; 20:20).

The saying is a sober warning to realize the end of the wicked and therefore not to envy or begrudge their successes. The prosperity of evil men is temporary, though it may seem to last their entire earthly lives. This warning is echoed throughout Proverbs (Proverbs 5:23; 8:36; 9:18; 11:7; 23:13-14).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 24:19

Fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious at the wicked;
– Proverbs 24:19

Verses 19-20 form the next saying concerning envying the wicked. This saying focuses on the inner attitude. The word for fret means become angry, and the word for envious means to be jealous. Wisdom teaches neither to be angry with the success of the wicked, nor to be jealous of their prosperity. The saying echoes previous sayings (Proverbs 23:17; 24:1).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 24:18

Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him.
– Proverbs 24:18

Verse 18 provides a surprising explanation for the warning in verse 17. Gloating over the downfall of your adversaries is displeasing to the Lord. It doesn’t seem ultimate, divine judgment is in view, but rather the calamities that befall those who oppose you. Wisdom here seems to be along the lines of the words of Jesus when we warned about misinterpreting providential events in Luke 13:1-5. In other words, we don’t know the providence behind a calamity that comes on one. We should not assume such a calamity is a justification of ourselves and a condemnation of those we don’t get along with.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 24:17

Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth:
– Proverbs 24:17

Verses 17-18 form a saying warning against taking pleasure in the adversities of your enemy. The word for enemy means a foe, or adversary. It is expressed in terms of a personal enemy. Falling and stumbling refer to falling down and tottering, but they figuratively express the experience of calamity or adversity. The word for rejoice means to brighten and the word for glad means to rejoice, or cheer up. The first part of this saying warns against gloating over your opponent, or taking delight in their downfalls. The traditional rabbinical teaching was to love your neighbor but hate your enemy (Matthew 5:43). Of course, Jesus corrected this wrong interpretation of the law (Matthew 5:44-48).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Next Page »