|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
14:18. Sin is the shame of sinners; but wisdom is the honour of the wise. 19. Even bad men acknowledge the excellency of God's people. 20. Friendship in the world is governed by self-interest. It is good to have God our Friend; he will not desert us. 21. To despise a man for his employment or appearance is a sin. 22. How wisely those consult their own interest, who not only do good, but devise it! 23. Labour of the head, or of the hand, will turn to some good account. But if men's religion runs all out in talk and noise, they will come to nothing. 24. The riches of men of wisdom and piety enlarge their usefulness. 25. An upright man will venture the displeasure of the greatest, to bring truth to light. 26,27. Those who fear the Lord so as to obey and serve him, have a strong ground of confidence, and will be preserved. Let us seek to this Fountain of life, that we may escape the snares of death. 28. Let all that wish well to the kingdom of Christ, do what they can, that many may be added to his church. 29. A mild, patient man is one that learns of Christ, who is Wisdom itself. Unbridled passion is folly made known. 30. An upright, contented, and benevolent mind, tends to health. 31. To oppress the poor is to reproach our Creator. 32. The wicked man has his soul forced from him; he dies in his sins, under the guilt and power of them. But godly men, though they have pain and some dread of death, have the blessed hope, which God, who cannot lie, has given them. 33. Wisdom possesses the heart, and thus regulates the affections and tempers. 34. Piety and holiness always promote industry, sobriety, and honesty. 35. The great King who reigns over heaven and earth, will reward faithful servants who honour his gospel by the proper discharge of the duties of their stations: he despises not the services of the lowest.
Verse 24. - The crown of the wise is their riches. This is taken by some ('Speaker's Commentary') to mean the glory of the wise man, the fame and splendour which surround him, constitute his wealth; but it is better to interpret it thus: Riches are an ornament to a wise man; they enhance and set off his wisdom in the eyes of others, enable him to use it to advantage, and are not the snare which they might be because they are employed religiously and profitably for the good of others. Ecclesiastes 7:11, "Wisdom is good together with an inheritance, and profitable to them that see the sun." The Septuagint has, "The crown of the wise is the clever man (πανοῦργος)," for which has been substituted by some editors, in agreement with the present Hebrew text, πλοῦτους αὐτῶν, " their wealth." The Greek translators, according to their reading, denote that one eminently clever man is a glory to the whole body of wise men. But the folly of fools is only folly; that is, even though it were accompanied with riches. Decorate folly as you may, trick it out in gaud and ornament, it is still nothing but folly, and is discerned as such, and that all the more for being made conspicuous. Schultens, followed by Wordsworth, finds a play of words here. The words rendered "fool" and "folly" imply "fatness," like the Greek παχὺς and the Latin crassus, which have also this double meaning. So the sentence reads, "Riches are a crown to the wise; but the abundant fatness of fools is only fatness." The last clause is translated by the LXX., "But the fools' way of life (διατριβὴ) is evil." St. Gregory ('Moral.,' 22:8) comments on this verse thus: "It was these riches of wisdom that Solomon having before his eyes, saith, 'The crown of the wise is their riches.' Which same person, because it is not metals of earth, but understanding, that he calls by the name of riches, thereupon adds by way of a contrary, 'But the foolishness of fools is imprudence.' For if he called earthly riches the crown of the wise. surely he would own the senselessness of fools to be poverty rather than imprudence. But whereas he added, 'the foolishness of fools is imprudence,' he made it plain that he called prudence 'the riches of the wise'" (Oxford tran cf.).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The crown of the wise is their riches,.... Riches being used by them to increase and improve their knowledge and wisdom, and for the good of men, are an honour to them, and give them credit and reputation among men of sense and goodness; see Ecclesiastes 7:11;
but the foolishness of fools is folly; mere folly, extreme folly, just the same as it was; riches make them never the wiser; yea, their folly is oftentimes made more manifest through the ill use they make of their riches; spending them in the gratification of their sinful lusts; and making no use of them for their own improvement in knowledge, or for the good of their fellow creatures. The Targum is,
"the glory of fools is their folly;''
and that is no other than their shame, and in which they glory; such fools are wicked men.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
24. (Compare Pr 3:16).
foolishness … folly—Folly remains, or produces folly; it has no benefit.
Proverbs 14:24 Parallel Commentaries
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