|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
24:1,2 Envy not sinners. And let not a desire ever come into thy mind, Oh that I could shake off restraints! 3-6. Piety and prudence in outward affairs, both go together to complete a wise man. By knowledge the soul is filled with the graces and comforts of the spirit, those precious and pleasant riches. The spirit is strengthened for the spiritual work and the spiritual warfare, by true wisdom. 7-9. A weak man thinks wisdom is too high for him, therefore he will take no pains for it. It is bad to do evil, but worse to devise it. Even the first risings of sin in the heart are sin, and must be repented of. Those that strive to make others hateful, make themselves so. 10. Under troubles we are apt to despair of relief. But be of good courage, and God shall strengthen thy heart. 11,12. If a man know that his neighbour is in danger by any unjust proceeding, he is bound to do all in his power to deliver him. And what is it to suffer immortal souls to perish, when our persuasions and example may be the means of preventing it? 13,14. We are quickened to the study of wisdom by considering both the pleasure and the profit of it. All men relish things that are sweet to the palate; but many have no relish for the things that are sweet to the purified soul, and that make us wise unto salvation. 15,16. The sincere soul falls as a traveller may do, by stumbling at some stone in his path; but gets up, and goes on his way with more care and speed. This is rather to be understood of falls into affliction, than falls into actual sin.
Verses 7-10. - Some distichs now follow, concerned with wisdom and its opposite. Verse 7. - Wisdom is too high for a fool. It is beyond his reach, he cannot follow its lead, and has nothing to say when his counsel is asked, and no ability to judge of any question presented to him. "Wisdom" (chochmoth) is in the plural number, intimating the various attributes connoted by it, or the different aspects in which it may be regarded (see note on Proverbs 1:20). "Too high" (ראמות, ramoth) is also plural; and Delitzsch and Nowack take it to mean, not so much "high things" as "precious things," such as pearls or precious stones, in accordance with Job 28:18, "No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal; yea,. the price of wisdom is above rubies." In this sense Delitzsch translates, "Wisdom seems to the fool to be an ornamental commodity," a costly and unnecessary appendage, which is not worth the sacrifices entailed by its pursuit. Whichever way we take it, the point is the rarity and inaccessibility of wisdom, and the repugnance of fools to make any exertion in order to obtain it. St. Augustine thus sums up the steps by which wisdom is reached: fear of God, piety, knowledge, fortitude, mercifulness, sincerity ('De Doctr. Christ.,' 2:7). He openeth not him month in the gate. When men gather in the usual place of assembly (Proverbs 8:3; Proverbs 22:2), to take counsel on public matters, he has nothing to say; he listens fatuously, and is silent. Septuagint, "Wisdom and good thought are in the gates of the wise; the wise turn not aside from the mouth of the Lord, but reason in assemblies."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Wisdom is too high for a fool,.... It is out of his reach, he cannot attain it; natural wisdom, or the knowledge of many things in nature; at least it seems so to himself, and therefore will not take any pains, or make use of any means, to obtain it; as the knowledge of human laws; of medicine, of philosophy, of languages, or of any of the liberal arts and sciences; or he has not really a capacity for it. This is more especially true of spiritual wisdom, or of the knowledge of divine things in a spiritual way; or of the things Of the Spirit of God, which a natural man cannot know, because they are spiritually discerned; it is God only makes men to know this kind of wisdom in the hidden part, 1 Corinthians 2:14; for as a "fool" here denotes a wicked man, let his natural parts be what they will; so wisdom spiritual knowledge, and experience of divine things, which is too high for an unregenerate man to reach; see a like phrase in Psalm 139:6;
he openeth not his mouth in the gate; he is not qualified far it; and if he has any knowledge of himself, he will not venture to speak in a public assembly, in the house of parliament, in a court of judicature, or in the company of men of knowledge and sense; and indeed it is his highest wisdom to keep silence, and not betray his ignorance: and so with regard to spiritual things; a man that wisdom is too high for, and he has no share of it, shall not or ought not to open his mouth where Wisdom cries; even in the gates of the cities, or in the public assemblies of the saints, Proverbs 1:21.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
7. (Compare Pr 14:16).
in the gate—(Compare Pr 22:22).
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