Proverbs 19:20

Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.
– Proverbs 19:20

The fatherly addresses in the early part of Proverbs give repeated admonition to hear and receive wisdom (Proverbs 1:8; 2:1-9; 8:34-35). This proverb fits with general tenor of Proverbs that wisdom is accessible and offered to all (Proverbs 9:4-6). Though freely offered, wisdom is costly to acquire (Proverbs 2:3-5). Acquiring wisdom requires humbling oneself to hear counsel and receive instruction (Proverbs 2:1-2). The word for counsel means advice and the word for instruction means discipline. Both come to us from others and we must be willing to receive them. Ultimately, wisdom comes from God and he stores it up for the righteous (Proverbs 2:6-7). Being willing to receive counsel and instruction from others does not mean we merely take in all men’s opinions (Proverbs 14:15; 15:14). Acquiring wisdom is a lifelong pursuit and not a one-time event, but it does lead to blessedness (Proverbs 8:32-35).

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Proverbs 15:22

Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.
– Proverbs 15:22

The word for counsel means a company of persons in close deliberation. The assumption about the counsel is that it is wise counsel. Proverbs treats bad counsel in other places (Proverbs 1:10-19; et al.). Fools are marked by either refusing all counsel or foolishly gorging all advice (Proverbs 15:14; 26:12). The word for multitude means abundance and is put over against having no counsellors. The word for established means to set upright, like the erecting of a statue. The essential truth of this proverb is seeking and receiving wise counsel makes our plans better and increases the likelihood of success (Proverbs 11:14; 20:18).

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Proverbs 13:10

Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.
– Proverbs 13:10

The word for contention means a quarrel or strife. The first phrase reveals how it comes by pride, or stubborn arrogance. The proud bringer of strife is identified as a scorner (Proverbs 21:24). They will not receive counsel because they know best (Proverbs 12:15; 1:7). This is shown to be foolish by the contrast with wisdom in the last phrase. Wisdom is frequently described as instruction or correction (Proverbs 1:2-3, 23; 3:11). Acquiring wisdom necessarily means listening to and receiving good counsel, instruction, and correction (Proverbs 19:20; 20:18; 25:8).

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Proverbs 12:15

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.
– Proverbs 12:15

The fool in Proverbs isn’t necessarily unintelligent but rather he refuses instruction and correction. In fact, he despises it (Proverbs 1:7; 15:5). Solomon uses another description that parallels this proverb when he speaks of not being “wise in thine own eyes” (Proverbs 3:7). The fool stubbornly clings to his own thoughts and ways. If he is willing to receive any counsel, it will only be that he already agrees with. The word for hearkeneth means to hear intelligently. This is exactly what Solomon admonished his son to do and thus be wise. The only path presented to acquiring wisdom is to receive correction and instruction (Proverbs 1:5; 9:9; 19:20).

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Proverbs 11:14

Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.
– Proverbs 11:14

The word for counsel literally means steerage, and so direction or guidance. The fool is depicted as one who will neither seek nor receive counsel (Proverbs 1:7; 10:8; 12:15; 15:5). The end of their folly is falling. The word for safety indicates a rescue or some deliverance. In this case, a multitude of counselors rescues or delivers from the fall in the first phrase. The proverb assumes the counselors to give wise counsel. The emphasis is the multitude, or abundance, which brings some different perspectives. The wisdom in this is echoed through Proverbs (Proverbs 15:22; 20:18; 24:6). No matter how knowledgeable a man is, he doesn’t know everything. Every man also has biases and blind spots. A multitude of counselors help to see what we don’t and help us to think through things from different angles.

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Proverbs 8:14

Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.
– Proverbs 8:14

Verses 14-21 describes various physical and spiritual benefits wisdom brings to those who have it. Wisdom has counsel and so advises the recipient in the ways of life. Sound wisdom is proper judgment or good sense. Understanding refers to discernment. Strength is might or power. It is not typically listed with wisdom, but it is the force for good actions. We might contrast it with the halting steps of the uncertain or doubting man. He who goes in the straight path of wisdom, goes with strength of conviction.

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