Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Proverbs 20:18. Every purpose is established by counsel — “Rashness spoils the best designs, which must be carried on prudently, and with good advice, if we would have them to prove successful.” And with good advice make war — Warlike expeditions are not to be undertaken without great deliberation. It should be maturely considered, whether the war ought to be begun or not; whether it be just, whether it be prudent. And, when it is begun, how, and by what arts, it may be successfully prosecuted: for skill is as necessary as courage. Going to law is a kind of going to war, and therefore should not be done without good advice.Every purpose is established by counsel; the way to bring our purposes and desires to a good effect, is to manage them with serious consideration and good advice. And; or, therefore. This is necessary in every common undertaking, and much more in a thing of such high importance as war is.
and with good advice make war; this should not be entered upon rashly, without first considering whether there is a just and lawful cause of it; and without consulting the necessary charge and expense of it; whether there is a sufficiency of men and money to carry it on; and what may probably be the issue of it. It is right in a king to advise with his privy council, or with the chief council of the nation; but, above all, both he and his people should seek advice of the Lord on such an occasion; see Luke 14:31. This may be applied to our spiritual warfare with sin, Satan, and the world; not that it should be any doubt with whether we should engage in such a war; but we should advise with experienced soldiers, and especially with God and his word, what weapons to take, and how to use them; and consider in whose name and strength we are to fight; and inquire and learn the force, methods, and designs of the enemy, and where to guard against them or attack them. Jarchi interprets it of making war with Satan by repentance, prayer, and fasting.Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)18. with good advice] or, by wise guidance, R.V., make war. Comp. Luke 14:31-32.Verse 18. - Every purpose is established by counsel (comp. Proverbs 15:22, where see note). The Talmud says, "Even the most prudent of men needs friends' counsels;" and none but the most conceited would deem himself superior to advice, or would fail to allow that, as the Vulgate puts it, cogitationes consillis roborantur. This is true in all relations of life, in great and small matters alike, in peace, and, as our moralist adds, in war. With good advice make war; Vulgate, Gubernaculis tractanda sunt bella; Revised Version, By wise guidance make thou war. The word here used is takebuloth, for which see note, Proverbs 1:5. It is a maritime metaphor, rightly retained by the Vulgate, and might be rendered "pilotings," "steerings." War is a necessary evil, but it must be undertaken prudently and with a due consideration of circumstances, means, etc. Our Lord illustrates the necessity of due circumspection in following him by the case of a threatened conflict between two contending kings (Luke 14:31, etc.). Grotius quotes the gnome -
Γνῶμαι πλέον κρατοῦσιν η} σθένος χερῶν.
"Titan strength of hands availeth counsel more." To which we may add -
Βουλῆς γὰρ ὀρθῆς οὐδὲν ἀσφαλέστερον.
"Good counsel is the safest thing of all." (Comp. Proverbs 24:6, where the hemistich is re-echoed.)
Jahve hath created them both.
Lwenstein, like the lxx: the ear hears and the eye sees - it is enough to refer to the contrary to Proverbs 20:10 and Proverbs 17:15. In itself the proverb affirms a fact, and that is its sensus simplex; but besides, this fact may be seen from many points of view, and it has many consequences, none of which is to be rejected as contrary to the meaning: (1.) It lies nearest to draw the conclusion, vi eminentiae, which is drawn in Psalm 94:9. God is thus the All-hearing and the All-seeing, from which, on the one side, the consolation arises that everything that is seen stands under His protection and government, Proverbs 15:3; and on the other side, the warning, Aboth ii.:1: "Know what is above thee; a Seeing eye and a Hearing ear, and all thy conduct is marked in His book." (2.) With this also is connected the sense arising out of the combination in Psalm 40:7 : man ought then to use the ear and the eye in conformity with the design which they are intended to subserve, according to the purpose of the Creator (Hitzig compares Proverbs 16:4); it is not first applicable to man with reference to the natural, but to the moral life: he shall not make himself deaf and blind to that which it is his duty to hear and to see; but he ought also not to hear and to see with pleasure that from which he should turn away (Isaiah 33:15) - in all his hearing and seeing he is responsible to the Creator of the ear and the eye. (3.) One may thus interpret "hearing" and "seeing" as commendable properties, as Fleischer suggests from comparison of Proverbs 16:11 : an ear that truly hears (the word of God and the lessons of Wisdom) and an eye that truly sees (the works of God) are a gift of the Creator, and are (Arab.) lillhi, are to be held as high and precious. Thus the proverb, like a polished gem, may be turned now in one direction and now in another; it is to be regarded as a many-sided fact.
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