Proverbs 11:14
Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.
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(14) In the multitude of counsellors there is safetyi.e., where there are plenty to guide the state.

Proverbs 11:14. Where no counsel is, the people fall — “Where prudent counsellors are wanting a nation goes to wreck, as certainly as a ship doth without a pilot; but a country is safe when there are many wise men to govern affairs; that if one fail, there may enough still remain; or what one or two see not, others may be able to discern.”11:1 However men may make light of giving short weight or measure, and however common such crimes may be, they are an abomination to the Lord. 2. Considering how safe, and quiet, and easy the humble are, we see that with the lowly is wisdom. 3. An honest man's principles are fixed, therefore his way is plain. 4. Riches will stand men in no stead in the day of death. 5,6. The ways of wickedness are dangerous. And sin will be its own punishment. 7. When a godly man dies, all his fears vanish; but when a wicked man dies, his hopes vanish. 8. The righteous are often wonderfully kept from going into dangerous situations, and the ungodly go in their stead. 9. Hypocrites delude men into error and sin by artful objections against the truths of God's word. 10,11. Nations prosper when wicked men are cast down. 12. A man of understanding does not judge of others by their success. 13. A faithful man will not disclose what he is trusted with, unless the honour of God and the real good of society require it. 14. We shall often find it to our advantage to advise with others. 15. The welfare of our families, our own peace, and our ability to pay just debts, must not be brought into danger. But here especially let us consider the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ in becoming Surety even for enemies. 16. A pious and discreet woman will keep esteem and respect, as strong men keep possession of wealth. 17. A cruel, froward, ill-natured man, is vexatious to those that are, and should be to him as his own flesh, and punishes himself. 18. He that makes it his business to do good, shall have a reward, as sure to him as eternal truth can make it. 19. True holiness is true happiness. The more violent a man is in sinful pursuits, the more he hastens his own destruction. 20. Nothing is more hateful to God, than hypocrisy and double dealing, which are here signified. God delights in such as aim and act with uprightness. 21. Joining together in sin shall not protect the sinners. 22. Beauty is abused by those who have not discretion or modesty with it. This is true of all bodily endowments. 23. The wicked desire mischief to others, but it shall return upon themselves. 24. A man may grow poor by not paying just debts, not relieving the poor, not allowing needful expenses. Let men be ever so saving of what they have, if God appoints, it comes to nothing. 25. Both in temporal and spiritual things, God commonly deals with his people according to the measure by which they deal with their brethren. 26. We must not hoard up the gifts of God's bounty, merely for our own advantage. 27. Seeking mischief is here set against seeking good; for those that are not doing good are doing hurt, even to themselves.Counsel - See Proverbs 1:5 note. This precept may well be thought of as coming with special force at the time of the organization of the monarchy of Israel. Compare 1 Kings 12:6. 14. counsel—the art of governing (Pr 1:5).

counsellors—literally, "one giving counsel"; the participle used as a collective.

No counsel; or, no wise counsel, as the word properly signifies, as Job 37:12 Proverbs 1:5.

In the multitude of counsellors, to wit, of wise and good counsellors, for such will employ and unite their counsels together for the public good. Where no counsel is, the people fall,.... Where there is no wise and prudent, sound and good counsel, as the word signifies; where that is not, there had as good be none, or better; a people, a kingdom, a commonwealth, nation, or city, fall into ruin and destruction, or into schemes which bring them to it; they are like a ship without a pilot, or without a helm, or one to steer it: the Targum, Syriac, and Vulgate Latin versions, render it,

"where there is no governor;''

and the Arabic version,

"they that have no providence (or forecast) fall as a leaf falls;''

and so the Septuagint version,

"they that have no government fall as leaves,''

as leaves fall in autumn; and the word signifies the helm of government (o), in allusion to a ship;

but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety; because what one may miss another may hit upon; and, if they agree in their advice, it may be the more depended upon; and, if not, yet their different sentiments being compared together, and the reasons of them, a person may the better judge which is best to follow, and what is fit to be done: it may be rendered, "in the greatness" or "largeness of a counsellor" (p), for the word is in the singular number; that is, in the large capacity or endowments of a counsellor; in one that is abundantly qualified for a counsellor; whose abilities are not to be questioned; in the advice of such an one a man may safely confide; and who that answers to this character as Jesus Christ, the wonderful Counsellor? in whose counsel we may rest with the greatest safety; and which may be found in his word, in the Scriptures, which David says should be the men of his counsel, Psalm 119:24; see Isaiah 9:6.

(o) "gubernationes", Schultens. (p) "in amplitudine consiliarii", Junius & Tremellius.

Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of {g} counsellors there is safety.

(g) Where God gives store of men of wisdom and counsel.

14. counsel] See Proverbs 1:5 note. The same Heb. word is there rendered wise counsels, A.V. and sound counsels, R.V. Here R.V. renders wise guidance, with reference perhaps to the root-meaning of the word, steering a ship, κυβέρνησις, LXX. Comp. Proverbs 15:22.Verse 14. - Where no counsel is. The word properly means "steersmanship," "pilotage" (Proverbs 1:5; Proverbs 12:5; Proverbs 24:6). So Vulgate, gubernator; Septuagint, κυβέρνησις, "They who have no government fall like leaves," reading alim instead of am. In the multitude of counsellors (Proverbs 15:22; Proverbs 20:18; Proverbs 24:6). This would go to prove the superiority of a popular government over the despotism of a single ruler. But the caution of our homely proverb is net inopportune, "Too many cooks spoil the broth." 8 The righteous is delivered from trouble,

   And the godless comes in his stead.

The succession of the tenses gives the same meaning as when, periodizing, we say: while the one is delivered, the other, on the contrary, falls before the same danger. נחלץ (vid., under Isaiah 58:11) followed by the historical tense, the expression of the principal fact, is the perfect. The statement here made clothes itself after the manner of a parable in the form of history. It is true there are not wanting experiences of an opposite kind (from that here stated), because divine justice manifests itself in this world only as a prelude, but not perfectly and finally; but the poet considers this, that as a rule destruction falls upon the godless, which the righteous with the help of God escapes; and this he realizes as a moral motive. In itself תּחתּיו may also have only the meaning of the exchange of places, but the lxx translate αντ ̓ αὐτοῦ, and thus in the sense of representation the proverb appears to be understood in connection with Proverbs 21:18 (cf. the prophetico-historical application, Isaiah 43:4). The idea of atonement has, however, no application here, for the essence of atonement consists in the offering up of an innocent one in the room of the guilty, and its force lies in the offering up of self; the meaning is only, that if the divinely-ordained linking together of cause and effect in the realms of nature and of history brings with it evil, this brings to the godless destruction, while it opens the way of deliverance for the righteous, so that the godless becomes for the righteous the כּפר, or, as we might say in a figure of similar import, the lightning conductor.

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