1 Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them.
2 For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.
“studieth destruction” – plans and devises violence (see 1:10-11; 6:14; Job 15:45; Ps 38:12).
3 Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established:
“house” – symbolic of the life of an individual or a family.
4 And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
“precious and pleasant riches” – wisdom promises to bestow wealth on those who lover her (8:21).
5 A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.
6 For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counselors there is safety.
7 Wisdom is too high for a fool: he openeth not his mouth in the gate.
“in the gate” – the normal meeting place for official business.
8 He that deviseth to do evil shall be called a mischievous person.
“deviseth to do evil” – see v 2, see also Job 15:35; Ps 38:12.
“mischievous person” – a schemer; called a “man of wicked devices” in 12:2; 14:17.
9 The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men.
“The thought of foolishness” – the plotting to do evil.“scorner is an abomination to men” – because he is proud, dishonoring (9:7) and contentious (22:10).
10 If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.
11 If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain;
“them that are drawn unto death” – perhaps innocent men condemned to die (cf 17:15; Is 58:6-7).
12 If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render
to every man according to his works?
13 My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste:
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.
“the knowledge of wisdom…unto thy soul” – it nourishes and brings healing (see 16:24).“expectation” – hope for the future (see Ps 9:18; 37:37; Jer 29:11).
15 Lay not wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; spoil not his resting place:
16 For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.
“seven times” – many times (see 6:16; Job 5:19). “riseth up again” – God promises to uphold and rescue the righteous (cf, Ps 34:19; 37:24; Mic 7:8).
17 Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth:
18 Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him.
“turn away his wrath from him” – Edom was made desolate because she rejoiced over Israel’s destruction (see Ez 35:15).
19 Fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious at the wicked;
20 For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.
“no reward” – for himself or his posterity (see Ps 37:2, 28, 38; contrast v 14; 23:18).
“fear thou the LORD and the king” – submission to civil authority is also commanded in Ecc 8:2-5. 1 Pet says, “Fear God. Hono r the king,” and Rom 13:1-7 urges the same obedience. These passages all view the king as a terror to the wicked (cf 20:8, 26).
22 For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both?
“calamity shall rise suddenly; And…ruin” – God’s Judgment is more common (see 6:15; 11:3, 5), but the power of the king is seen in 20:26.
“them both” – God and the king.
23 These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in Judgment.
“Verses 23-34 – am appendix to 22:17-24:22, giving a few additional sayings of the wise.
“It is not good…respect of persons” – showing favoritism or partiality is condemned (see 18:5).
24 He that saith unto the wicked, Thou art righteous; him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him:
“Thou art righteous” –see 17:15. ”Him shall the people curse” – just as they curse the man who “withholden corn” (see 11:26).
25 But to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them.
26 Every man shall kiss his lips that giveth a right answer.
“kiss his lips” – cf the “pleasant words” that are “sweet to the soul” in 16:24.1
27 Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.
“make it fit…in the field” – plan carefully and acquire the means as you build your house.
28 Be not a witness against thy neighbor without cause; and deceive not with thy lips.
29 Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.
“I will do so to him” – a spirit of revenge is discouraged also in 20:22; cf 25:21-22; Matt 5:43-45; Rom 12:1.
30 I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding;
31 And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.
32 Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction.
33 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
34 So shall thy poverty come as one that travaileth; and thy want as an armed man.