Proverbs 24:2
For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.
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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.A lesson given before, now combined with another. True followers after wisdom will admit neither envy of evil on the one hand, nor admiration or fellowship with it on the other. 2. studieth—meditateth.

talk … mischief—Their expressed purposes are to do evil.

Studieth destruction; how they may oppress and destroy others, which yet at last falls upon their own heads.

For their heart studieth destruction,.... To others; to good men, that separate from them, and reprove them, or are in their way; or any ways hinder them in the prosecution of their wicked designs; as Haman's heart studied the destruction of the Jews: or their hearts study to draw men into their destructive methods of living, and therefore should be shunned and avoided. Moreover, their hearts study destruction to themselves; they study what they shall eat and drink, which they pursue to intemperance; and how they shall compass their lewd designs, and which issue in their ruin; destruction and misery are in all the ways they devise and walk in;

and their lips talk of mischief; which they study in their hearts against others; as are their hearts, so are their lips; out of the abundance of the wickedness of their hearts their mouths speak mischievous things; and which, though they design for others, oftentimes fall upon themselves.

For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.
2. destruction] Better, violence, or, oppression. Comp. Proverbs 21:7, where the same Heb. word is rendered robbery, A.V., and violence, R.V.

These Proverbs 24:1-2, as compared with Proverbs 3:31-32, and Proverbs 23:17-18, are an example of the repetition in this Book of the same injunction, supported by a different reason.

Verse 2. - For their heart studieth destruction. The grounds of the warning arc here given, as in Proverbs 1:15. "Destruction" (shod); Vulgate, rapinas, "violence" of all kinds, e.g., robbery, murder. Their lips talk of mischief; utter lies and slanders which may injure other people or bring themselves profit. Admiration of such men and intercourse with them must be repugnant to every religious soul. The LXX. refers the verse to evil imaginations issuing in evil talk; "For their heart meditates falsehoods, and their lips speak mischiefs (πόνους)." Proverbs 24:2After this divergence (in Proverbs 23:29-35) from the usual form of the proverb, there is now a return to the tetrastich:

1 Envy not evil men,

   And desire not to have intercourse with them.

2 For their heart thinketh of violence,

   And their lips speak mischief.

The warning, not to envy the godless, is also found at Proverbs 3:31; Proverbs 23:17; Proverbs 24:19, but is differently constructed in each of these passages. Regarding תּתאו with Pathach, vid., at Proverbs 23:3. אנשׁי רעה (cf. רע, Proverbs 28:5) are the wicked, i.e., such as cleave to evil, and to whom evil clings. The warning is grounded in this, that whoever have intercourse with such men, make themselves partners in greater sins and evil: for their heart broodeth (write כּי שׁד, Munach Dech) violence, i.e., robbery, plunder, destruction, murder, and the like. With שׁד (in the Mishle only here and at Proverbs 21:7, cf. שׁדּד, Proverbs 19:26) connects itself elsewhere חמס, here (cf. Habakkuk 1:3) עמל, labor, molestia, viz., those who prepare it for others by means of slanderous, crafty, uncharitable talk.

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