Brit-Am/Hebrew Nations Notes and Commentary
Proverbs 24: 1-3. Keep Away from Bad People Because they Breed Badness
1 Do not be jealous of men of evil, and do not lust to be with them.
2 For their minds contemplate robbery and their lips speak oppression.
3 Through wisdom shall the house be built, and with understanding shall it be prepared.
Proverbs 24:4-9. Correct Thinking is Obligatory
4 And by knowledge the rooms are filled
With all precious and pleasant wealth.
5 A wise man has strength
And a man of knowledge is better than one who exerts force.
6 For by stratagems let yourself wage wage
Salvation comes through much counsel.
7 Wise insights are too exalted for the criminally irresponsible.
He will not open his mouth in the gate [of judgment].
8 One who plans to do evil,
Shall be called a deviser of malice.
9 The devising of folly is sin,
And an abomination to Man is the Scoffer.
Proverbs 24:10-12 God Knows Who You Are Better than You Know Yourself!
10 You have been lax on the day of trouble?
Your resilience shall be troubled.
Do what you can when you can when it is needed.
This is for your own good.
11 Save those being taken away to slaughter.
And for those in danger of death do not restrain yourself.
The whole State of Israel is in danger from Iran and Muslims, and others.
12 If you say, Behold, we did not know this,
Does He not know the plannings of the heart?
The ONE who keeps you alive HE knows.
HE recompenses man according to his work.
Proverbs 24: 13-16 The End Result is the Decisive One!
13 Eat, my son, honey for it is good;
And the honey-comb is sweet to the palate.
14 So, if you have found it, is knowledge of wisdom for your soul, there will be a future and your hope will not be cut off.
Learn wise things and good counsel. Internalize it. If you do so there will always be a chance for you even if you make mistakes along the way.
Unlike sweet honey, too much of which may make you sick (Proverbs 25:16), the aftermath of wisdom and good deeds is always beneficial.
Rabbi Abraham Iben Ezra says that the reference to a future (24:14) means your old age and children both of which will be blessed by wise deeds done earlier.
15 Do not lie in ambush O wicked person at the dwelling of the righteous, do not bespoil his resting place.
16 For seven times will the righteous fall, and rise again.
But the wicked fail through evil.
This is a warning to the evil person not to take advantage of the weakness of the righteous.
It is also a caution to all of us as normal people. There is an evil person in all of us. We all have a tendency to want to take advantage of the failings or vulnerabilities of others. This may not be noticeable and only work subconsciously.
The Evolutionary Theory of Darwin is rubbish and discounted. Nevertheless, we have been created with an animalistic element within us that we need for survival.
Wolves hunt in packs. When one of the wolves is sick or wounded the others are liable to turn around and eat him. So too with humans. This is the wicked person inside of us that pushes us to do things we might not otherwise do.
We are being warned against this.
"For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again" (Proverbs 24:16). Better not to make mistakes. Try not to act in such a way that you will regret it later BUT if you do, keep trying. Work your way back to what you once were or should have been.
Proverbs 24:17-18 Restrain Your Emotions
17 When your enemy falls, Do not be happy
And when he stumbles let not your heart be glad;
18 Lest the LORD see it and it be bad in his eyes,
And HE retract His anger from him.
The word translated above as 'falls' is "nafal" from the root "FaL" i.e. Fall.
The word translated above as 'be glad' is "yagail" from the root "GiL" i.e. which means "glad, happy, rejoice"
and gives the English words "glad" and "glee".
Proverbs 24: 19- 22. "We all want a revolution. We all want to change the world",
(Popular song heard in my youth and sang by "The Beetles").
Below we are bringing the NASB translation which reflects that of the mainstream versions.
This is followed by the translation of Yair from the Hebrew as he understands it. There are subtle but important differences.
19 Do not fret because of evildoers
Or be envious of the wicked;
20 For there will be no future for the evil man;
The lamp of the wicked will be put out.
19 Do not strive to equal the doers of evil.
Do not be envious of the wicked.
20 For there will be no remnant from evil.
The wick of the wicked will go out.
We all want to succeed. Everyone has needs. It happens that we see others getting ahead in some field or other like we would like to but cannot.
It may be that the successful people in question live lives that are not up to standard.
We are being advised to do our own thing as well as we can and let God sort things out.
We should not wish to emulate the negative aspects of those we are envious of.
21 My son, fear the Lord and the king;
Do not associate with those who are given to change,
22 For their calamity will rise suddenly,
And who knows the ruin that comes from both of them?
21 Be fearful of the LORD, my son, and of the ruler. Do not intermix with the Revolutionaries.
22 For suddenly their calamity rises up.
And who knows [when will be] the termination of both.
Fear God. Be respectfully cautious of the authorities and the powers that be.
In general keep away from revolutionaries and the like. It may be that some kind of change in some places is needed.
It could be that revolution is the only way the change can take place.
Nevertheless more than ninety per cent of all revolutions bring something worse.
Everything has an appointed end.
So too with tyranny and whatever replaces it.
The word we have translated as "revolutionaries" (rendered in the NASB as "those who are given to change") in Hebrew is "shonim" from the root "ShNH" i.e. change.
"Change" is from an Old French word. The suffix "-ge" in "change" is a common ending. The root of the word is "chan" and it is pronounced like the Hebrew "shana" and means the same as in the Hebrew i.e. change.
We have rendered the Hebrew "shonim" here as "revolutionaries" in the light of a comment by the Natziv (Rabbi Naphtali Tzevi Judah Berlin, 1817-1893) referring to the situation in his place and time i.e. shortly before the Russian Revolution.
It should pointed out that the Bible is not against revolution per se.
Wicked rulers were sometimes violently replaced by better ones.
We also had the case of the Maccabees against the Hellenists in Second Temple times.
Nevertheless, revolution should be a last resort and not a general rule.
Proverbs 24: 23-26 The Need to Reprove Wrong-Doing!
23 These also are sayings of the wise.
To show partiality in judgment is not good.
24 He who says to the wicked, 'You are righteous,'
Peoples will curse him, nations will abhor him;
25 But to those who rebuke the wicked will be delight,
And a good blessing will come upon them.
26 He kisses the lips
Who gives a right answer.
23 These too are addressed to the Sages,
To show partiality in judgment is not good.
24 He who says to the evil one, 'You are righteous,'
will be cursed by the people, nations will be angry at him;
25 But for those who rebuke will it be pleasant,
upon them will come a blessing of goodness.
26 The lips will be kissed of he
who replies with direct words.
"a blessing of goodness" in Hebrew "bircat-tov" connoting the ability to do good, cause good to others, and have good come to him.
"direct words" : This may also connote "words of reproof."
We should avoid trying to toe the line of what is "politically correct."
We should see things for what they are.
What is bad should be described as such.
People who go around approving promiscuity, drug abuse, etc, in the long run cause misfortune to others. They will ultimately be blamed for it.
Proverbs 24: 27-34 Do What You Can with Good Intention
27 Do Life-Changing things in their correct order.
27 Prepare your work outside
And make it ready for yourself in the field;
Afterwards, then, build your house.
27 Make ready on the outside your work,
And reserves for yourself in the field afterwards,
and then build your house.
The Sages recommended that a person do what you they have to do according to the order of its priority and each stage in its own time.
They said that ideally a may should first have a livelihood, then build a house, and afterwards marry a woman.
I was told that in our time conditions are a little different and in some cases this prioritization may not necessarily comprise an impediment.
28-29 Do not be needlessly spiteful and officious.
28 Do not be a witness against your neighbor without cause,
And do not deceive with your lips.
29 Do not say, 'Thus I shall do to him as he has done to me;
I will render to the man according to his work.'
28 Do not be a witness without reason against your neighbor,
Do not seduce with your lips.
29 Do not say, "As was done unto me so will I do unto him."
[So] I will requite a man as his work.
This attitude of "As was done unto me [by others] so will I do unto him," is familiar to us from our childhood.
We probably think we have grown out of it but such is not necessarily the case. We are sometimes needlessly spiteful to others because we are still carrying baggage, attitudes, and resentments around with us acquired in infancy.
We have rendered the second part of this verse as if God is saying,
"[So] I will requite a man as his work."
This is how it seems to us but the rendition of the NASB is also possible.
Proverbs 24: 30-34 Do What is Needed
30 I passed by the field of the sluggard
And by the vineyard of the man lacking sense,
31 And behold, it was completely overgrown with thistles;
Its surface was covered with nettles,
And its stone wall was broken down.
32 When I saw, I reflected upon it;
I looked, and received instruction.
33 'A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to rest,'
34 Then your poverty will come as a robber
And your want like an armed man.
30 By the field of a lazy man I passed
And by the vineyard of a man without a heart [i.e. without sense].
31 Behold there were thistles all over it, and its face covered with weeds.
Its wall of stones had been destroyed.
32 And I beheld, I set my heart to it, I saw, I took reproof.
33 A little sleep, a little drowsing off, a little folding of the arms to lie down.
34 And your poverty comes as a new arrival, your lacking like an armored man.
One should do what needs to be done when one can. Prepare yourself for contingencies. Otherwise you may not have what you need when you need it.
The Hebrew uses the expression of lacking heart as meaning lacking sense. We may extend this in so far as someone who acts foolishly and does not do they should is in effect being cruel to themselves to those dependent on them or otherwise connected with them. They lack heart.
(Translation and Commentary by Yair)