Proverbs 24:32

Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction.
– Proverbs 24:32

The word for considered it well means to set the mind to. The word for instruction means discipline, correction, and instruction. The previous verse described the scene and this verse describes the sage. Growing in wisdom means growing in discernment to discern between good and evil in the real world (Hebrews 5:14). The instructions of wisdom are used to evaluate reality around us.

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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 24:14

So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off.
– Proverbs 24:14

The figure of eating honey is now applied to the acquiring of wisdom. Just as honey is pleasant to the taste and wholesome to the body, getting wisdom is both pleasant and life-giving to the soul (Proverbs 2:1-5, 10; 3:13-18; 22:18). The last phrase highlights wisdom is its own reward and the benefit of wisdom extends beyond this life (Proverbs 8:35; 10:16; 11:7; 12:28; 14:32; 23:18). The word for reward means end or after part. It would be like us saying, “There’s a future in it.” Commentators vary on how much Proverbs speaks of the afterlife, but this verse at least alludes to it.

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Proverbs 24:13

My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste:
– Proverbs 24:13

Verses 13-14 form a saying on the pleasant benefits of wisdom. Verse 13 uses honey as a figure, which is obvious from the point of the whole saying and the comparison to wisdom in verse 14. Honey as a figure stands for pleasure (Psalm 119:103; Proverbs 16:24; Song of Solomon 4:11; 5:1; Ezekiel 3:3). Honey as a substance itself is sweet and enjoyable, and it can be abused. Wisdom warns of the necessity of moderation (Proverbs 25:16, 27). However, honey as a substance is not the point of this Proverb. As a figure of good pleasure, the saying urges its consumption.

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Proverbs 24:7

Wisdom is too high for a fool: he openeth not his mouth in the gate.
– Proverbs 24:7

Commentators differ on whether verse 7 is its own saying, or if it is part of the saying before it or after it. It seems best to take it on its own as a saying, though connections can be made with the saying before and after. The word for wisdom here is the general term comprehending all aspects of wisdom—knowledge, understanding, discernment, etc. Being too high means it is above, or beyond, a fool. Though a fool may seek wisdom, he cannot find it, or even recognize it when it is before him (Proverbs 14:6; 17:24). The previous saying emphasized the necessity of wise counsel in making war, but this saying shows the fool unable to even speak to high matters. The image of the gate refers to the place of judgment in the city. It is where important matters were discussed and decided, as well the place of deciding legal matters. Wisdom requires opening one’s mouth to come to the defense of the oppressed and plead for judgment for them (Proverbs 31:8-9). Though fools are known for prating foolishness (Proverbs 15:2, 28), they have nothing to say when wisdom is needed.

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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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