If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct.
The homely adage in the first part of this verse prepares for the broad general statement by which it is followed.
I. IN MECHANICAL UNDERTAKINGS THE SUPERIORITY OF SKILL TO BRUTE FORCE IS MOST APPARENT. This is obvious in the superiority of the workmanship of the civilized and cultured to that of the barbarian.
II. WISDOM HAS A VAST ADVANTAGE IN THE ORDINARY AFFAIRS OF HUMAN LIFE. The old fairy stories usually represented the muscular giant as a simpleton easily outwitted by the youth or the dwarf; the lesson being that mere strength avails but little for those ends which men most seek and prize. It is wisdom which is profitable to direct - a truth which applies not merely to mechanics, but to the various arts which men cultivate. What vocation is there in which thought, investigation, the adaptation of means to ends, a calm deliberate judgment, are not serviceable? It is the wise who reap the harvest of life, who sway the realm of humanity.
III. WISDOM IS PRE-EMINENTLY OF SERVICE IN ALL TRUE RELIGIOUS LIFE AND ENTERPRISE. It is true that human wisdom is depreciated in some passages of Holy Writ. But careful attention will show that it is only the lower type of wisdom which inspiration disparages. They who have only "the wisdom of this world," who are "wise in their own conceit," are indeed condemned. But, on the other hand, they are approved who receive the wisdom of God in Christ, and who are wise unto salvation. It is the enlightening influence of God's Holy Spirit that leads to an appreciation of the gospel itself, and that directs those whose endeavor and aim it is to bring their fellow-men into the enjoyment of those blessings which that gospel secures. - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct.