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Asbury Bible Commentary – IV. Sayings of The Wise (22:17–24:23)
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IV. Sayings of The Wise (22:17–24:23)
Chapter 22

Vv. 17-21. These verses form an introduction to this section and are similar to 1:1-6. They encourage the student to memorize the sayings so that they might be a guide for responding to questions. The students were to know their homework and trust in Yahweh to succeed. The following sayings are molded on the thirty sayings of the Egyptian Amen-em-Opet.

Vv. 22, 23. One must not use one's power to oppress the poor, for Yahweh will avenge them.

Vv. 24, 25. See commentary on 13:20.

Vv. 26, 27. See commentary on 6:1-5.

V. 28. Land was marked by boundary stones established by earlier generations. To change them was to steal from one's neighbor and defy one's ancestors' decisions.

V. 29. Excellence in performance brings a rich reward.

Chapter 23

Vv. 1-3. Observe table manners and discipline oneself in the presence of one in higher authority. To act as if one were accustomed to such food could be interpreted as grasping at the host's position.

Vv. 4, 5. Wealth is elusive. One must not make it one's ultimate goal.

Vv. 6-8. One should not work for a stingy man, for he will get little; and what little he gets, the man will take back.

V. 9. Do not waste words on one incapable of understanding them.

Vv. 10, 11. See commentary on 22:28.

V. 12. This verse contains advice to a student to pursue instruction and knowledge.

Vv. 13, 14. See commentary on 13:24.

Vv. 15, 16. The instructor takes pride in the achievements of the pupil.

Vv. 17, 18. The success of the wicked was a problem. The student was to trust in Yahweh, who brings justice and gives a hope that in the future he will succeed.

Vv. 19-21. The student should guard against drunkenness and gluttony, which lead to poverty. See commentary on 20:1.

Vv. 22-25. In ancient Israel the parents' hope for immortality was bound up with their children. Thus they took great pride in their achievements, especially in their wise and righteous deeds.

Vv. 26-28. See commentary on chs. 5 and 7.

Vv. 29-35. This is a vivid and humorous description of the alcoholic who seeks only after drink and does not learn from his physical and psychological deterioration. This one is the ultimate fool.

Chapter 24

Vv. 1, 2. See commentary on 23:17, 18.

Vv. 3, 4. In contrast to 23:29-24:2 the person who follows wisdom gains life's treasures, both literally in wealth and figuratively in character.

Vv. 5, 6. See commentary on 16:32; 21:22.

V. 7. The fool has no standing in the community and thus will not be listened to.

Vv. 8, 9. Those who scheme evil are despised by the community.

Vv. 10-12. The responsibility of the wise extends to helping those in need of legal defense. Ignorance can be no excuse for the wise, who will be judged by Yahweh.

Vv. 13, 14. Enjoined to indulge in pleasure, the student should find the highest pleasure in wisdom, which provides hope for a better life.

Vv. 15, 16. The Sustainer of the righteous is Yahweh, who will make them ultimately to triumph.

Vv. 17, 18. One should not gloat over the misfortunes of even one's enemies. Yahweh gives justice to all.

Vv. 19, 20. See commentary on 23:17, 18.

Vv. 21, 22. The wise are conservative and are taught to support their rulers. Not only does one remain loyal to Yahweh, but also to the ruler lest one suffer destruction.