The Word Made Fresh
1Don’t be jealous of the wicked
or have any desire to be with them.
2They plot only violence,
and speak only of making trouble.
3Wisdom is needed for building a house,
and it is established through understanding and agreement.
4Knowledge is required to fill the rooms
with precious belongings and pleasant expectations.
5Wise warriors are needed more than strong ones,
and knowledge is more valuable than strength.
6Wisdom is required to guide your war,
and many counselors are needed to insure victory.
7But wisdom is not for fools,
and they have nothing to offer in battle plans.
8Anyone seeking to do evil
will be identified as a mischief-maker.
9Planning foolishness is a sin,
and the planner is an enemy to everyone.
10If you fall back in the day of adversity
because you have little strength;
11if you shrink from trying to rescue those condemned to death
as they go staggering to the slaughter;
12if you claim you knew nothing of what was happening,
do you not know that the One who sees the heart can tell?
The One who weighs the heart can perceive it.
The One who watches over your soul knows it.
And won’t that One repay all of you according to your deeds?
13Honey is good, child. Enjoy it.
The drippings of the comb are sweet to the taste.
14Wisdom is just that to your soul.
If you find it, you will have a future
and your hope will be preserved.
15Do not lie in wait against the home of the upright,
and do no violence against the place where they live.
16Even if they fall seven times they will rise again;
but calamity will overthrow the wicked.
17When your enemies fall don’t celebrate.
Don’t allow yourself to rejoice when they stumble.
18If you do, the LORD will see it and not be pleased,
and God’s anger will be turned away from them.
19Don’t be bothered by those who do bad things,
and don’t be jealous of the wicked.
20Evil people simply have no future,
and their lamp will go dim.
21Children, respect the LORD. Respect the king.
Don’t disobey either of them.
22Disaster can erupt from them suddenly,
and who knows the ruin that both of them can bring?
23These are also sayings of the wise:
Judges cannot be partial and be fair.
24Anyone who tells troublemakers, “You are innocent,”
will be cursed by the people and hated by the nations.
25But those who reprimand evil doers will be respected
and will receive a good blessing.
26An honest answer is like being kissed on the lips.
27Prepare for your labor outside; get everything ready in the field
and then build your house.
28Don’t testify against your neighbor without reason,
and never use your voice for deception.
29Never say you will do to others as they have done to you,
or you will pay them back in revenge.
30I walked by the field of a lazybones
and the vineyard of an idiot,
31and they were overgrown with briars,
the ground covered with weeds,
and the stone wall collapsed.
32I looked, and learned something:
33A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands
34and poverty will steal upon you like a thief
and need will stalk you like an armed warrior.
1-2: This is a warning against admiring others for what they have; they may well have gained it in ways that are not pleasing to God.
3-7: These verses establish the importance of wisdom on the home front and on the battle front. When deep conversations are held, the fool grows silent.
10-12: It is a sin to look the other way and pretend not to notice when someone is suffering.
15-16: The righteous don’t always succeed, they just never give up.
17-18: It is taken for granted that if victory is won it is because God willed it. How different from the perspective in our time!
21-22: The king is right up there with God when it comes to dishing out disasters.
23-26, 28-29: Honesty is necessary if justice is to be done. Too often throughout history the poor and underprivileged have fared poorly in the courts.
27: Interesting that in an ancient agrarian culture the cultivation of the field was indeed more important than having a roof over your head.
30-34: The observation in verses 30-32 undergirds the saying in verses 33-34, which serves to repeat and strengthen 6:10-11.
Chapter 24 is a bit of a departure in form from previous chapters and gives us a little different take on some subjects and situations that have been commented on before. See if you can identify a few of them.