Proverbs 20:18
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.20:7. A good man is not liable to uneasiness in contriving what he shall do, or in reflecting on what he has done, as those who walk in deceit. And his family fare better for his sake. 8. If great men are good men, they may do much good, and prevent very much evil. 9. Some can say, Through grace, we are cleaner than we have been; but it was the work of the Holy Spirit. 10. See the various deceits men use, of which the love of money is the root. The Lord will not bless what is thus gotten. 11. Parents should observe their children, that they may manage them accordingly. 12. All our powers and faculties are from God, and are to be employed for him. 13. Those that indulge themselves, may expect to want necessaries, which should have been gotten by honest labour. 14. Men use arts to get a good bargain, and to buy cheap; whereas a man ought to be ashamed of a fraud and a lie. 15. He that prefers true knowledge to riches, follows the ways of religion and happiness. If we really believed this truth, the word of God would be valued as it deserves, and the world would lose its tempting influence. 16. Those ruin themselves who entangle themselves in rash suretiship. Also those who are in league with abandoned women. Place no confidence in either. 17. Wealth gotten by fraud may be sweet, for the carnal mind takes pleasure in the success of wicked devices; but it will be bitter in the reflection. 18. Especially we need advice in spiritual warfare. The word and Spirit of God are the best counsellors in every point. 19. Those dearly buy their own praise, who put confidence in a man because he speaks fairly. 20. An undutiful child will become very miserable. Never let him expect any peace or comfort. 21. An estate suddenly raised, is often as suddenly ruined. 22. Wait on the Lord, attend his pleasure, and he will protect thee."To eat gravel" was a Hebrew Lam 3:16, and is an Arabic, phrase for getting into trouble. So "bread," got by deceit, tastes sweet at first, but ends by leaving the hunger of the soul unsatisfied. There is a pleasure in the sense of cleverness felt after a hard bargain or a successful fraud, which must be met by bidding men look on the after consequences. 18. (Compare Pr 15:22). Be careful and considerate in important plans. 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. Every purpose is established by counsel,.... Or "the thought" (f) of a man, everyone of them, what he has thought to do, formed a scheme of in his mind, and resolved upon, by taking advice of his friends, and especially by asking counsel of God, who gives, wisdom liberally, and upbraids not; he is confirmed in his good designs; and he cheerfully pursues them, and they are ordered and directed to the glory of God, his own good and the good of others; for this can only be understood of wise and good thoughts and purposes;

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.

(f) "cogitationes", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Cocceius, Gejerus; "unaquaeque cogitationum", Piscator, Mercerus, Michaelis.

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.) 12 The hearing ear and the seeing eye -

     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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