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Proverbs chapter 24

New International Version

1 Do not envy the wicked, do not desire their company; 2 for their hearts plot violence, and their lips talk about making trouble. 3 By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; 4 through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. 5 The wise prevail through great power, and those who have knowledge muster their strength. 6 Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers. 7 Wisdom is too high for fools; in the assembly at the gate they must not open their mouths. 8 Whoever plots evil will be known as a schemer. 9 The schemes of folly are sin, and people detest a mocker. 10 If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength! 11 Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. 12 If you say, 'But we knew nothing about this,' does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done? 13 Eat honey, my son, for it is good; honey from the comb is sweet to your taste. 14 Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. 15 Do not lurk like a thief near the house of the righteous, do not plunder their dwelling place; 16 for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes. 17 Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice, 18 or the LORD will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from them. 19 Do not fret because of evildoers or be envious of the wicked, 20 for the evildoer has no future hope, and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out. 21 Fear the LORD and the king, my son, and do not join with rebellious officials, 22 for those two will send sudden destruction on them, and who knows what calamities they can bring?
23 These also are sayings of the wise: To show partiality in judging is not good: 24 Whoever says to the guilty, 'You are innocent,' will be cursed by peoples and denounced by nations.
25 But it will go well with those who convict the guilty, and rich blessing will come on them.
26 An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.
27 Put your outdoor work in order and get your fields ready; after that, build your house. 28 Do not testify against your neighbor without cause-- would you use your lips to mislead?
29 Do not say, 'I'll do to them as they have done to me; I'll pay them back for what they did.' 30 I went past the field of a sluggard, past the vineyard of someone who has no sense; 31 thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins. 32 I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw: 33 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest-- 34 and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.
English Standard Version

1 Be not envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them, 2 for their hearts devise violence, and their lips talk of trouble. 3 By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; 4 by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. 5 A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might, 6 for by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory. 7 Wisdom is too high for a fool; in the gate he does not open his mouth. 8 Whoever plans to do evil will be called a schemer. 9 The devising of folly is sin, and the scoffer is an abomination to mankind. 10 If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. 11 Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. 12 If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work? 13 My son, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste. 14 Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off. 15 Lie not in wait as a wicked man against the dwelling of the righteous; do no violence to his home; 16 for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity. 17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, 18 lest the LORD see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him. 19 Fret not yourself because of evildoers, and be not envious of the wicked, 20 for the evil man has no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out. 21 My son, fear the LORD and the king, and do not join with those who do otherwise, 22 for disaster will arise suddenly from them, and who knows the ruin that will come from them both? 23 These also are sayings of the wise. Partiality in judging is not good.
24 Whoever says to the wicked, “You are in the right,” will be cursed by peoples, abhorred by nations, 25 but those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, and a good blessing will come upon them. 26 Whoever gives an honest answer kisses the lips. 27 Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house. 28 Be not a witness against your neighbor without cause, and do not deceive with your lips. 29 Do not say, “I will do to him as he has done to me; I will pay the man back for what he has done.” 30 I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, 31 and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down. 32 Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction. 33 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, 34 and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.
King James Version

1 Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them. 2 For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.
3 Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: 4 And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches. 5 A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength. 6 For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellers there is safety.
7 Wisdom is too high for a fool: he openeth not his mouth in the gate. 8 He that deviseth to do evil shall be called a mischievous person. 9 The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men.
10 If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.
11 If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; 12 If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?
13 My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste: 14 So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off.
15 Lay not wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; spoil not his resting place: 16 For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.
17 Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: 18 Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him.
19 Fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious at the wicked; 20 For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.
21 My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change: 22 For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both?
23 These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment. 24 He that saith unto the wicked, Thou art righteous; him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him: 25 But to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them. 26 Every man shall kiss his lips that giveth a right answer.
27 Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.
28 Be not a witness against thy neighbour without cause; and deceive not with thy lips. 29 Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.
30 I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; 31 And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. 32 Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. 33 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: 34 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.
New American Standard Bible

1 Do not be envious of evil people, Nor desire to be with them; 2 For their minds plot violence, And their lips talk of trouble. 3 By wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established; 4 And by knowledge the rooms are filled With all precious and pleasant riches. 5 A wise man is strong, And a person of knowledge increases power. 6 For by wise guidance you will wage war, And in an abundance of counselors there is victory. 7 Wisdom is too exalted for a fool, He does not open his mouth at the gate. 8 One who plans to do evil, People will call a schemer. 9 The devising of foolishness is sin, And the scoffer is an abomination to humanity. 10 If you show yourself lacking courage on the day of distress, Your strength is meager. 11 Rescue those who are being taken away to death, And those who are staggering to the slaughter, Oh hold them back! 12 If you say, 'See, we did not know this,' Does He who weighs the hearts not consider it? And does He who watches over your soul not know it? And will He not repay a person according to his work? 13 My son, eat honey, for it is good; Yes, the honey from the comb is sweet to your taste; 14 Know that wisdom is the same for your soul; If you find it, then there will be a future, And your hope will not be cut off. 15 Do not lie in ambush, you wicked person, against the home of the righteous; Do not destroy his resting place; 16 For a righteous person falls seven times and rises again, But the wicked stumble in time of disaster. 17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart rejoice when he stumbles, 18 Otherwise, the LORD will see and be displeased, And turn His anger away from him. 19 Do not get upset because of evildoers Or be envious of the wicked; 20 For there will be no future for the evil person; The lamp of the wicked will be put out. 21 My son, fear the LORD and the king; Do not get involved with those of high rank, 22 For their disaster will rise suddenly, And who knows the ruin that can come from both of them? 23 These also are sayings of the wise: To show partiality in judgment is not good. 24 One who says to the wicked, 'You are righteous,' Peoples will curse him, nations will scold him; 25 But for those who rebuke the wicked there will be delight, And a good blessing will come upon them. 26 One who gives a right answer Kisses the lips. 27 Prepare your work outside, And make it ready for yourself in the field; Afterward, then, build your house. 28 Do not be a witness against your neighbor for no reason, And do not deceive with your lips. 29 Do not say, 'I shall do the same to him as he has done to me; I will repay the person according to his work.' 30 I passed by the field of a lazy one, And by the vineyard of a person lacking sense, 31 And behold, it was completely overgrown with weeds; Its surface was covered with weeds, And its stone wall was broken down. 32 When I saw, I reflected upon it; I looked, and received instruction. 33 'A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest,' 34 Then your poverty will come like a drifter, And your need like an armed man.
New Living Translation

1 Don't envy evil people or desire their company. 2 For their hearts plot violence, and their words always stir up trouble.
3 A house is built by wisdom and becomes strong through good sense. 4 Through knowledge its rooms are filled with all sorts of precious riches and valuables.
5 The wise are mightier than the strong, and those with knowledge grow stronger and stronger. 6 So don't go to war without wise guidance; victory depends on having many advisers.
7 Wisdom is too lofty for fools. Among leaders at the city gate, they have nothing to say.
8 A person who plans evil will get a reputation as a troublemaker. 9 The schemes of a fool are sinful; everyone detests a mocker.
10 If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small.
11 Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to die; save them as they stagger to their death. 12 Don't excuse yourself by saying, 'Look, we didn't know.' For God understands all hearts, and he sees you. He who guards your soul knows you knew. He will repay all people as their actions deserve.
13 My child, eat honey, for it is good, and the honeycomb is sweet to the taste. 14 In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, you will have a bright future, and your hopes will not be cut short.
15 Don't wait in ambush at the home of the godly, and don't raid the house where the godly live. 16 The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked.
17 Don't rejoice when your enemies fall; don't be happy when they stumble. 18 For the LORD will be displeased with you and will turn his anger away from them.
19 Don't fret because of evildoers; don't envy the wicked. 20 For evil people have no future; the light of the wicked will be snuffed out.
21 My child, fear the LORD and the king. Don't associate with rebels, 22 for disaster will hit them suddenly. Who knows what punishment will come from the LORD and the king?
23 Here are some further sayings of the wise: It is wrong to show favoritism when passing judgment. 24 A judge who says to the wicked, 'You are innocent,' will be cursed by many people and denounced by the nations. 25 But it will go well for those who convict the guilty; rich blessings will be showered on them.
26 An honest answer is like a kiss of friendship.
27 Do your planning and prepare your fields before building your house.
28 Don't testify against your neighbors without cause; don't lie about them. 29 And don't say, 'Now I can pay them back for what they've done to me! I'll get even with them!'
30 I walked by the field of a lazy person, the vineyard of one with no common sense. 31 I saw that it was overgrown with nettles. It was covered with weeds, and its walls were broken down. 32 Then, as I looked and thought about it, I learned this lesson: 33 A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest-- 34 then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.
Christian Standard Bible

1 Don't envy the evil or desire to be with them,
2 for their hearts plan violence, and their words stir up trouble. 3 A house is built by wisdom, and it is established by understanding;
4 by knowledge the rooms are filled with every precious and beautiful treasure. 5 A wise warrior is better than a strong one, and a man of knowledge than one of strength;
6 for you should wage war with sound guidance -- victory comes with many counselors.
7 Wisdom is inaccessible to a fool; he does not open his mouth at the city gate. 8 The one who plots evil will be called a schemer.
9 A foolish scheme is sin, and a mocker is detestable to people. 10 If you do nothing in a difficult time, your strength is limited. 11 Rescue those being taken off to death, and save those stumbling toward slaughter.
12 If you say, "But we didn't know about this," won't he who weighs hearts consider it? Won't he who protects your life know? Won't he repay a person according to his work? 13 Eat honey, my son, for it is good, and the honeycomb is sweet to your palate;
14 realize that wisdom is the same for you. If you find it, you will have a future, and your hope will never fade. 15 Don't set an ambush, you wicked one, at the camp of the righteous man; don't destroy his dwelling.
16 Though a righteous person falls seven times, he will get up, but the wicked will stumble into ruin. 17 Don't gloat when your enemy falls, and don't let your heart rejoice when he stumbles,
18 or the Lord will see, be displeased, and turn his wrath away from him. 19 Don't be agitated by evildoers, and don't envy the wicked.
20 For the evil have no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out. 21 My son, fear the Lord, as well as the king, and don't associate with rebels,
22 for destruction will come suddenly from them; who knows what distress these two can bring? 23 These sayings also belong to the wise: It is not good to show partiality in judgment. 24 Whoever says to the guilty, "You are innocent" -- peoples will curse him, and nations will denounce him;
25 but it will go well with those who convict the guilty, and a generous blessing will come to them.
26 He who gives an honest answer gives a kiss on the lips.
27 Complete your outdoor work, and prepare your field; afterward, build your house. 28 Don't testify against your neighbor without cause. Don't deceive with your lips.
29 Don't say, "I'll do to him what he did to me; I'll repay the man for what he has done." 30 I went by the field of a slacker and by the vineyard of one lacking sense. 31 Thistles had come up everywhere, weeds covered the ground, and the stone wall was ruined. 32 I saw, and took it to heart; I looked, and received instruction: 33 a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the arms to rest, 34 and your poverty will come like a robber, and your need, like a bandit.

What does Proverbs chapter 24 mean?

This continues Solomon's record of thirty wise sayings (Proverbs 22:17–21). It's important for godly people to avoid jealousy towards sinful people. True success is found in wisdom (Proverbs 1:7), leading to strength and a good reputation. Also crucial is acting on behalf of the disadvantaged. A person cannot fool God by pretending not to know about the plight of others (Proverbs 24:1–12).

All things God gives have a good and valuable purpose (1 Timothy 4:4). It's appropriate to enjoy those things and seek them out in the right way. In the same sense, we ought to recognize the pleasure and value of godly wisdom. What's not appropriate is to seek to harm others by taking advantage of them. Neither is it godly to feel glee when an enemy suffers. To appreciate God's justice is one thing; being giddy when anyone else is in pain is sinful. In general, believers should seek God's will rather than being overly worried about the schemes of evil people. Respecting authority—both moral and legal—helps a person avoid the natural consequences of disobedience (Proverbs 24:13–22).

The next passage begins more wise statements. At least some of these seem to come directly from Solomon, but their sources are not as clear as in other chapters. Solomon again stresses the importance of fair judgment, both in the official sense, and in the lives of common persons. He also warns against cutting others down—even when the criticism is true—unless one has a good reason to do so. Revenge, especially, is to be avoided. The chapter ends with an extensive example of the consequences of laziness. Solomon passes a field which shows obvious signs of neglect. He uses this as an opportunity to learn, himself, and apply what he sees to his own wisdom (Proverbs 24:23–34).