Proverbs 17:24
(24) Wisdom is before him that hath understanding--i.e., he can easily find her.

But the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.--He is looking for her everywhere, while all the time she lies straight before him. (For the thought, comp. Deuteronomy 30:11-14.)

Verse 24. - Wisdom is before [the face of] him that hath understanding. The idea is that the intelligent man directs his look towards Wisdom, and therefore she beams upon him with all her light; as the Vulgate puts it, "In the face of the prudent wisdom shines." He has one object to which he directs all his attention (Proverbs 15:14). The Septuagint rendering is not so satisfactory: "The countenance of a prudent man is wise;" he shows in his look and bearing the wisdom that guides him. Thus Ecclesiastes 8:1, "A man's wisdom maketh his face to shine, and the hardness of his face is changed." The eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth. A fool has no one definite object in view; he pursues a hundred different things, as they happen to come in his way, but misses the most important quest of all and fritters away the powers which might have aided him to obtain wisdom.

17:19. If we would keep a clear conscience and a quiet mind, we must shun all excitements to anger. And a man who affects a style of living above his means, goes the way to ruin. 20. There is nothing got by ill designs. And many have paid dear for an unbridled tongue. 21. This speaks very plainly what many wise and good men feel very strongly, how grievous it is to have a foolish, wicked child. 22. It is great mercy that God gives us leave to be cheerful, and cause to be cheerful, if by his grace he gives us hearts to be cheerful. 23. The wicked are ready to part with their money, though loved, that they may not suffer for their crimes. 24. The prudent man keeps the word of God continually in view. But the foolish man cannot fix his thoughts, nor pursue any purpose with steadiness. 25. Wicked children despise the authority of their father, and the tenderness of their mother. 26. It is very wrong to find fault for doing what is duty. 27,28. A man may show himself to be a wise man, by the good temper of his mind, and by the good government of his tongue. He is careful when he does speak, to speak to the purpose. God knows his heart, and the folly that is bound there; therefore he cannot be deceived in his judgment as men may be.Wisdom is before him that hath understanding,.... Is near him, to direct and assist him; it is before him as a rule to walk by, and it is the mark he aims at. A man of spiritual understanding has the book of wisdom before him, the Scriptures of truth, which are able to make a man wise to salvation; and he steers his course according to them; he sets Christ, the Wisdom of God, always before him; and keeps his eye on the mark for the prize, all the while he is running his Christian race: or, "in the face of an understanding man is wisdom" (a); it is to be seen in his countenance, which is grave and composed;

but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth; where wisdom is not to be found, it is far off from him; his mind is wandering after every object, is unsettled and unfixed to anything; and which may be discerned in his eyes, which are rolling about and turning, first one way and then another; and which shows the levity and inconstancy of his mind.

(a) "in facie prudentis (lucet) sapientia", V. L. so Vatablus, Mercerus, Gejerus, Piscator, Noldius, p. 140. No. 665. "in vultu intelligentis sapientia", Schultens.

Proverbs 17:23
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