|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
24:17,18. The pleasure we are apt to take in the troubles of an enemy is forbidden. 19,20. Envy not the wicked their prosperity; be sure there is no true happiness in it. 21,22. The godly in the land, will be quiet in the land. There may be cause to change for the better, but have nothing to do with them that are given change. 23-26. The wisdom God giveth, renders a man fit for his station. Every one who finds the benefit of the right answer, will be attached to him that gave it. 27. We must prefer necessaries before conveniences, and not go in debt.
Verse 27. - Prepare thy work without. The proverb enjoins a man to look well to his resources before he undertakes to build a house or to establish a family. "Without" (chuts) (Proverbs 7:12; Proverbs 8:26); in the fields. Put in due order all immediate work in thy farm. And make it fit for thyself in the field; and get ready for what has to come next. That is, in short, steadily and with due foresight cultivate your land; provide abundant means of subsistence before you attempt to build up your house. A suitor had, as it were, to purchase his bride from her relations by making considerable presents; it was therefore necessary to provide a certain amount of wealth before contemplating matrimony. And afterwards build thy house. This is, indeed, the meaning of the passage; but the Hebrew makes a difficulty, as it is literally, "afterwards and thou shalt build." Some have supposed that some words have dropped out of the text (Cheyne, 'Job and Solomon'). But vav in וּבָנִיתָ, coming after a date or notification of time, as here after אַהַר (comp. Genesis 3:5), "has the future signification of a perfect consecutive" (Delitzsch), equivalent to "after that, then, thou mayest build." Septuagint, "Prepare thy works for thy going forth (εἰς τη,ν ἔξοδον), and get ready for the field, and come after me, and thou shalt build up thine house." In a spiritual sense, the heart must be first cleared of thorns, and opened to genial influences, before the man can build up the fabric of virtuous habits, and thus arrive at the virtuous character.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Prepare thy work without,.... As Solomon did for the building of the temple; timber and stones were prepared, hewed, squared, and fitted for the building before brought thither, 1 Kings 5:18; or diligently attend to thy business without doors, whatever it is, that thou mayest provide for thyself and family the necessaries and conveniences of life, which are in the first place to be sought after;
and make it fit for thyself in the field; let nothing be wanting in managing the affairs of husbandry, in tilling the land, in ploughing and sowing, and reaping, and gathering in the increase, that there may be a sufficiency for the support of the family;
and afterwards build thine house; when, though the blessing of God upon thy diligence and industry, thou art become rich, or however hast such a competent substance as to be able to build a good house, and furnish it in a handsome manner, then do it; but first take care of the main point, that you have a sufficiency to finish it; see the advice of Christ, Luke 14:28; necessaries are first to be sought after, before things ornamental and superfluous; first take care to live, and then, if you can, build a fine house. Jarchi interprets this of a man's first getting fields, vineyards, and cattle, something beforehand in the world, and then take a wife, when he is able to maintain her, whereby his house may be built up; see Ruth 4:11.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
27. Prepare … in the field—Secure, by diligence, a proper support, and then build; provide necessaries, then comforts, to which a house rather pertained, in a mild climate, permitting the use of tents.
Proverbs 24:27 Parallel Commentaries
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