Be not envious of evil men,
nor desire to be with them,
for their hearts devise violence,
and their lips talk of trouble.
By wisdom a house is built,
and by understanding it is established;
by knowledge the rooms are filled
with all precious and pleasant riches.
A wise man is full of strength,
and a man of knowledge enhances his might,
for by wise guidance you can wage your war,
and in abundance of counsellors there is victory.
The thought in 1,2 is similar to that in 23:17 (see Note). There, the long-term view was advocated, but here we have a close-up view: and from it we see that the so-called attraction of the evil life is a very negative thing. By contrast, we see in 3 and 4 the godly alternative. The seeming - and even the real, worldly - advantages of evil men are not to be compared with the solid joys and lasting pleasures of Zion's children. This building process can be applied literally to house building (cf Christ's parable in Matthew 7) or perhaps more probably metaphorically - to the building of a family, or of character, or of anything of lasting worth. As Ironside says 'Storing the mind with wisdom, knowledge and understanding, is like building a mansion on a solid foundation, and beautifying and enriching it with.' He can never be poor who has the wisdom that cometh down from above. See James 3:17, 18. 5 and 6 follow in thought from 3 and 4, and echo a note already struck, in 11:14 and 20:18. A man who is wise is not above asking and heeding the advice of other wise men. It is the man who is lacking in wisdom that thinks he can dispense with the multitude of counsellors that can give him a true direction in the way he takes. 'Make thy war' in 6 is evidently 'make successful war' and may be taken in general terms to denote a prosperous issue in what we are engaged in.