5948 shrewdness
Dictionary of Bible Themes

Dictionary of Bible Themes  »  5000 Humanity  »  5760 Human attitudes and behaviour  »  5948 shrewdness

Astuteness or craftiness in dealings with others, especially in using one's understanding and judgment to one's own advantage. Scripture commends it when it is seen in wise words and actions directed towards a worthy goal, but condemns it when it takes the form of cunning and deceitful scheming for sinful and selfish ends.

Shrewdness as astuteness

It is encouraged in believers

Matthew 10:16; Luke 16:8-9 Jesus Christ explains the parable of the dishonest manager (Lk 16:1-7) and urges his disciples to be shrewd in their use of worldly wealth.

Practical demonstrations of astuteness

Matthew 7:24-25 pp Luke 6:47-48 See also Proverbs 12:23; Proverbs 14:15; Proverbs 15:5; Proverbs 18:15; Matthew 24:45-47 pp Luke 12:42-44

Jesus Christ's wisdom in answering his enemies

Matthew 22:18-22 pp Mark 12:15-17 pp Luke 20:23-26 on the matter of paying taxes to Caesar; Matthew 22:31-32 pp Mark 12:26-27 pp Luke 20:37-38 on the question of the resurrection; John 8:7 regarding the woman caught in adultery

Further examples of astuteness

1 Samuel 23:22-23 David's shrewdness in fleeing from Saul; 2 Samuel 14:1-3 Joab's ruse to persuade David to call Absalom back from exile; 1 Kings 3:28 Solomon's wise judgment; 2 Chronicles 11:23 Rehoboam acts wisely to secure his kingdom; Daniel 1:11-13 Daniel avoids eating royal food and wine; Matthew 2:16 Herod is outwitted by the Magi; Mark 7:27-29 pp Matthew 15:26-28 the Syro-Phoenician woman's wise response

Shrewdness as crafty and deceitful scheming

It demonstrates human sinfulness

Psalm 64:6 See also Job 15:5; Psalm 83:3; Psalm 140:1-3; Proverbs 7:10; Acts 13:10; Ephesians 4:14

It is condemned by God

2 Samuel 22:26-27 pp Psalm 18:25-26 God is shrewd in dealing with those who cleverly deceive others ; Job 5:12-13 See also Psalm 94:11; Proverbs 6:12-15; Proverbs 12:2; Isaiah 5:21; Isaiah 44:24-25; 1 Corinthians 1:19; Isaiah 29:14; 1 Corinthians 3:19-20

Others dislike it

Proverbs 14:17; Proverbs 25:23

It is a characteristic of Satan

2 Corinthians 11:3 See also Genesis 3:1; 2 Corinthians 2:11; Corinthians 11:13-15

The craftiness of Jesus Christ's enemies

Matthew 22:15-17 pp Mark 12:13-15 pp Luke 20:20-22 The Pharisees try to trap Jesus Christ over paying taxes; Matthew 26:3-4 pp Mark 14:1-2 pp Luke 22:1-2 The religious leaders plot Jesus Christ's death.

Further examples of crafty scheming

Genesis 25:31-33 Jacob buys Esau's birthright; Genesis 27:15-16 Isaac is tricked into blessing Jacob; Exodus 1:10 Pharaoh plans to reduce the number of Israelites; Joshua 9:3-6 The Gibeonites deceive Joshua; 2 Samuel 13:3 Jonadab plots for Amnon against Tamar; Nehemiah 6:2-13 schemes against Nehemiah; 2 Corinthians 12:16 Paul sarcastically echoes the slander against him that he tricked people into giving him money.

See also

2081  Christ, wisdom
5407  merchants
5922  prudence
6145  deceit
6186  evil scheming
8365  wisdom, human

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