Proverbs – Chapter 24

The Bible – Old Testament


Chapter 24


1 Be not emulous of evil men, and desire not to be with them;


For their hearts plot violence, and their lips speak of foul play.


By wisdom is a house built, by understanding is it made firm;


And by knowledge are its rooms filled with every precious and pleasing possession.


A wise man is more powerful than a strong man, and a man of knowledge than a man of might;


For it is by wise guidance that you wage your war, and the victory is due to a wealth of counselors.


2 For a fool, to be silent is wisdom; not to open his mouth at the gate.


He who plots evil doing –  men call him an intriguer.


Beyond intrigue and folly and sin, it is arrogance that men find abominable.


3 If you remain indifferent in time of adversity, your strength will depart from you.


4 Rescue those who are being dragged to death, and from those tottering to execution withdraw not.


If you say, «I know not this man!» does not he who tests hearts perceive it? He who guards your life knows it, and he will repay each one according to his deeds.


If you eat honey, my son, because it is good, if virgin honey is sweet to your taste;


Such, you must know, is wisdom to your soul. If you find it, you will have a future, and your hope will not be cut off.


Lie not in wait against the home of the just man, ravage not his dwelling place;


5 For the just man falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble to ruin.


Rejoice not when your enemy falls, and when he stumbles, let not your heart exult,


Lest the LORD see it, be displeased with you, and withdraw his wrath from your enemy.


Be not provoked with evildoers, nor envious of the wicked;


For the evil man has no future, the lamp of the wicked will be put out.


6 My son, fear the LORD and the king; have nothing to do with those who rebel against them;


For suddenly arises the destruction they send, and the ruin from either one, who can measure?


7 These also are sayings of the wise: To show partiality in judgment is not good.


He who says to the wicked man, «You are just» –  men will curse him, people will denounce him;


But those who convict the evildoer will fare well, and on them will come the blessing of prosperity.


8 He gives a kiss on the lips who makes an honest reply.


9 Complete your outdoor tasks, and arrange your work in the field; afterward you can establish your house.


Be not a witness against your neighbor without just cause, thus committing folly with your lips.


10 Say not, «As he did to me, so will I do to him; I will repay the man according to his deeds.»


I passed by the field of the sluggard, by the vineyard of the man without sense;


And behold! it was all overgrown with thistles; its surface was covered with nettles, and its stone wall broken down.


And as I gazed at it, I reflected; I saw and learned the lesson:


A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the arms to rest – 


Then will poverty come upon you like a highwayman, and want like an armed man.


1 [1-22] These verses continue an exhortation to wisdom (⇒ Proverb 24:3-7, ⇒ 13-14), and against: violence (⇒ Proverb 24:1-2), pride and intrigue (⇒ Proverb 24:8-9), callousness (⇒ Proverb 24:10-12), injustice (⇒ Proverb 24:15-16), joy in the failure of others (⇒ Proverb 24:17-18) or scandal at their success (⇒ Proverb 24:19-20), and rebellion against authority (⇒ Proverb 24:21-22).
2 [7] At the gate: of the city, where justice was administered and public affairs discussed; see note on ⇒ Ruth 4:1. Cf also ⇒ Psalm 69:13; ⇒ 127:5; ⇒ Proverb 22:22; ⇒ 31:23, ⇒ 31.

3 [10] Indifferent: to those who suffer unjustly.

4 [11] Rescue . . . death: most probably refers to the legal rescue of those unjustly condemned to death.
5 [16] The just man overcomes every misfortune which oppresses him. Seven times: i.e., an indefinite number; cf ⇒ Matthew 18:21- 22; ⇒ Luke 17:4.
6 [21-22] One owes obedience to God and to supreme civil authority (⇒ Matthew 22:21; ⇒ Romans 13:1-3; ⇒ 1 Peter 2:13-14). The punishments for failure in either duty transcend the limits of private justice.
7 [23-34] This collection of sayings continues in the same vein as the preceding: it instructs in fairness (⇒ Proverb 24:23-26) and preparation for the future (⇒ Proverb 24:27); and warns against vengeance (⇒ Proverb 24:28-29) and slothfulness (⇒ Proverb 24:30-34).
8 [26] He gives a kiss on the lips: shows himself a true friend.
9 [27] This verse is commonly interpreted as advocating careful and practical preparation for marriage.
10 [29] This verse indicates great progress from the principle of the law of Talion (see note on ⇒ Exodus 21:23-25) toward the teaching found in ⇒ Romans 12:17-19. Cf also ⇒ Proverb 25:21-23.