Proverbs 24:27

Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field: and afterwards build thine house.
– Proverbs 24:27

Verse 27 is a standalone saying. A house is a common figure in Proverbs for a family (Proverbs 11:29; 14:1; 15:27). In general, wisdom teaches forethought, planning, and proper ordering of things in life. So a house is only filled with good things by wisdom (Proverbs 24:3-4).

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Proverbs 24:26

Every man shall kiss his lips that giveth a right answer.
– Proverbs 24:26

This verse closes the saying on just judgment. The word for right means straight and the word for answer means word, or something said. Giving a straight answer is likened to a kiss, which was a sign of loyalty and affection. Though the wording seems a little obscure, the proverb suggests a true kinship with one who speaks straight. This saying accords with the value of wise speech taught elsewhere (Proverbs 15:23; 16:13; 25:11-12).

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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).

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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.

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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).

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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).

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