Additional Sayings of the Wise
Text: Proverbs 24:23-34
This a short section dealing with other proverbs from unnamed wise men. The KJV and NKJV take this as sayings directed to wise men, while most other translations see this as sayings from wise men.
When you are called upon to make a judgment, remember that it is not right to show partiality (John 7:24; Leviticus 19:15; Proverbs 18:5). Each person should be judged according to what he has done or said. Who he is should not matter.
The standard of right and wrong must not be changed. To acquit the evil will have society rejecting you because there is no standard being used for judgment (Proverbs 17:15; Isaiah 5:23). Acquitting the evil will only encourage more evil. However, to rebuke evil will bring delight to the populace and blessings from them (Proverbs 28:23; Leviticus 19:17). Too often people try to avoid harsh rebukes, but they are necessary (Titus 1:13; 2:15; II Timothy 4:2).
Appreciation is given to the person who speaks honestly and rightly (literally “in plain words”).
Proper Way to Start
Proper order is important in financial dealings. First get your income in order, then work on a place to live (your expenses). In farming, it takes time for the crops to come in, so plant first and use the time when you are waiting to build your home.
- Why do you need to establish your income first?
Things Not to Say
Don’t testify against another person unless there is a reason. This is one of the failings of gossiping, it tears down another person without need (Leviticus 19:16; Psalm 35:7; John 15:25).
Don’t tell lies (Revelation 21:8).
Don’t say you’ll get revenge or pay someone back in kind (Proverbs 20:22; Romans 12:17,19).
Notice that no reason is given for why you should not do these things. But these things reveal the character of a person who bears a grudge against another person.
Lessons from the Lazy
You can learn even from people who are doing wrong. "That wise men profit more by fools than fools by wise men; for wise men will avoid the faults of fools, but fools will not imitate the virtues of wise men" [Cato Major].
These verses are divided into observations (Proverbs 24:30-31), reflection (Proverbs 24:32), and conclusion (Proverbs 24:33-34).
The prophet noticed the property of a lazy, foolish man. It was in decay from neglect. But what he realized is that this state didn’t come about all at once. It was a small problem here and another one there that wasn’t addressed. Over time it accumulated to become an overwhelming set of problems (Proverbs 6:9-11). The state wasn’t due to a conscious decision to create problems, but from years of choices to put off solving issues.
- What applications can be made from these observations in daily life?
- What solution is implied by the way the problems arose?