Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them.CHAPTER 24 Instructions Continued
In the final instructions of this chapter we find first a description of the evil men. Their heart studieth destruction; their lips talk mischief. This theme is repeatedly referred to in this chapter. In Proverbs 24:15 the evil man is addressed not to lay wait for the righteous and not to spoil his resting place. The Lord takes care of the righteous; he may be overcome by misfortunes seven times, yet will he rise again. Different it is with the wicked when he falls into mischief. Yet there must be no rejoicing over the fall of the enemy, nor gladness when he stumbled. This displeaseth the Lord. Still higher is the command of the New Testament, “Love your enemies; ... recompense no man evil for evil; ... overcome evil with good.” There is to be no fretting because of evil men nor envy (Proverbs 24:1 and Proverbs 24:19). Why should the righteous be envious at the wicked in their prosperity? The Thirty-seventh Psalm enters more fully into this; but here the same answer is given in a terse way. The wicked have no reward; their candle will be put out. Their calamity riseth suddenly, and who knoweth the ruin of them both? which means that the Lord and the king, will deal with the wicked. Another proverb of this chapter we mention: “If thou faint in the day of adversity thy strength is small” Proverbs 24:10). The hour of trial is the hour which brings the test. When adversity brings despondency, and even worse, murmuring, it is an evidence that the heart does not fully trust the Lord.
The last section of this chapter is introduced by the statement, “These things also belong to the wise,” or as it may be rendered, “These also are sayings of the wise.” The chapter ends with a vivid description of the slothful. His field and vineyard bear witness to his character. They are grown over with thorns and covered with nettles and the stone wall is broken down. And why all this? “Yet a little Sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands in sleep.” An illustration of this sluggard can be found a thousand times over again in our own land.