corner graphic

Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 14:24

 

 

The crown of the wise is their riches, But the folly of fools is foolishness.

Adam Clarke Commentary

But the foolishness of fools is folly - The Targum reads, The honor of fools is folly. The fool, from his foolishness, produces acts of folly. This appears to be the meaning.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:24". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/proverbs-14.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

“The crown,” i. e., the glory of the wise man constitutes his wealth. He alone is truly rich even as he alone (compare Proverbs 14:18 note) is truly king.

The seeming tautology of the second clause is really its point. Turn “the foolishness of fools” as you will, it comes back to “foolishness” at last.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:24". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/proverbs-14.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"The crown of the wise is their riches; But the folly of fools is only folly."

There is a purely earthly sense, of course, in which this is true; and it is exactly the type of proverb that should have been expected of him who was the richest man of his entire age; but the true crown of a rich man is not his money, but his integrity and his faithfulness to God. The Book of Proverbs becomes a little monotonous with its constant emphasis upon getting rich.


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:24". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/proverbs-14.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

The crown of the wise is their riches,.... Riches being used by them to increase and improve their knowledge and wisdom, and for the good of men, are an honour to them, and give them credit and reputation among men of sense and goodness; see Ecclesiastes 7:11;

but the foolishness of fools is folly; mere folly, extreme folly, just the same as it was; riches make them never the wiser; yea, their folly is oftentimes made more manifest through the ill use they make of their riches; spending them in the gratification of their sinful lusts; and making no use of them for their own improvement in knowledge, or for the good of their fellow creatures. The Targum is,

"the glory of fools is their folly;'

and that is no other than their shame, and in which they glory; such fools are wicked men.


Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:24". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-14.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

(Compare Proverbs 3:16).

foolishness … folly — Folly remains, or produces folly; it has no benefit.


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:24". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/proverbs-14.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

24 It is a crown to the wise when they are rich;

But the folly of fools remains folly.

From Proverbs 12:4, 31; Proverbs 17:6, we see that עטרת חכמים is the predicate. Thus it is the riches of the wise of which it is said that they are a crown or an ornament to them. More than this is said, if with Hitzig we read, after the lxx, ערמם , their prudence, instead of עשׁרם . For then the meaning would be, that the wise need no other crown than that which they have in their prudence. But yet far more appropriately “riches” are called the crown of a wise man when they come to his wisdom; for it is truly thus that riches, when they are possessed along with wisdom, contribute not a little to heighten its influence and power, and not merely because they adorn in their appearance like a crown, or, as we say, surround as with a golden frame, but because they afford a variety of means and occasions for self-manifestation which are denied to the poor. By this interpretation of 24a, 24b comes out also into the light, without our requiring to correct the first אוּלת , or to render it in an unusual sense. The lxx and Syr. translate the first אולת by διατριβή (by a circumlocution), the Targ. by gloria , fame - we know not how they reach this. Schultens in his Com. renders: crassa opulentia elumbium crassities , but in his Animadversiones he combines the first אולת with the Arab. awwale , precedence, which Gesen. approves of. But although the meaning to be thick (properly coalescere ) appertains to the verbal stem אול as well as the meaning to be before (Arab. âl , âwila , wâl ), yet the Hebr. אוּלת always and everywhere means only folly,

(Note: Ewald's derivation of אויל from און = אוין , null, vain, is not much better than Heidenheim's from אולי : one who says “perhaps” = a sceptic, vid ., p. 59, note.)

from the fundamental idea crassities (thickness). Hitzig's אוּלת (which denotes the consequence with which the fool invests himself) we do not accept, because this word is Hitzig's own invention. Rather לוית is to be expected: the crown with which fools adorn themselves is folly. But the sentence: the folly of fools is (and remains) folly (Symmachus, Jerome, Venet ., Luther), needs the emendation as little as Proverbs 16:22, for, interpreted in connection with 24a, it denotes that while wisdom is adorned and raised up by riches, folly on the other hand remains, even when connected with riches, always the same, without being either thereby veiled or removed - on the contrary, the fool, when he is rich, exhibits his follies always more and more. C. B. Michaelis compares Lucian's simia est simia etiamsi aurea gestet insignia .


Copyright Statement
The Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.

Bibliography
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:24". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/proverbs-14.html. 1854-1889.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Observe, 1. If men be wise and good, riches make them so much the more honourable and useful: The crown of the wise is their riches; their riches make them to be so much the more respected, and give them the more authority and influence upon others. Those that have wealth, and wisdom to use it, will have a great opportunity of honouring God and doing good in the world. Wisdom is good without an inheritance, but better with it. 2. If men be wicked and corrupt, their wealth will but the more expose them: The foolishness of fools, put them in what condition you will, is folly, and will show itself and shame them; if they have riches, they do mischief with them and are the more hardened in their foolish practices.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Proverbs 14:24". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/proverbs-14.html. 1706.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

The riches of men of wisdom and piety enlarge their usefulness.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Proverbs 14:24". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary

on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mhn/proverbs-14.html. 1706.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

The crown of the wise is their riches: but the foolishness of fools is folly.

Riches — They are a singular advantage and ornament to them.

But — As for rich fools, their folly is not cured, but made worse and more manifest by their riches.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:24". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/proverbs-14.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Proverbs 14:24 The crown of the wise [is] their riches: [but] the foolishness of fools [is] folly.

Ver. 24. The crown of the wise is their riches.] An ornament, an encouragement in well doing, and an instrument of doing much good, if God give a heart thereto; for quid cervo ingentia cornua, cum desit animus? To what end is a treasure, if a man have lost the key that leads to it?

“Vel mihi da clavem, vel mihi tolle seram.”

But the foolishness of fools is folly.] That is, Of rich fools, such as was Pope Clemens V, of whom the historian saith, Papa hic ditior quam sapientior that he was more wealthy than wise. The crown of the wise is their riches; but yet give them to a fool, you put a sword into a madman’s hand; the folly of such fools will soon be foolishness. Why, was it not foolishness before they were rich? Yes, but now it is become egregious foolishness. Aφορητος εστι μαστιγιας ευτυχων, the earth cannot bear the insolence of such. Set a beggar on horseback, &c.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:24". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-14.html. 1865-1868.

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

v. 24. The crown of the wise is their riches, their possessions, gained by dint of hard work, serve to honor them; but the foolishness of fools is folly, no matter how much show and pomp he makes, how anxiously be strives to offer a magnificent appearance.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:24". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/proverbs-14.html. 1921-23.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Proverbs 14:24. But the foolishness of fools is folly But their fortunes are a curse to fools. Houbigant; thus preserving the opposition with the preceding clause.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:24". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/proverbs-14.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The crown of the wise is their riches; they are a singular advantage and ornament to them, partly as they make their wisdom more regarded, when the poor man’s wisdom is despised, Ecclesiastes 9:16; and partly as they give a man great opportunity to discover and exercise his wisdom or virtue by laying out his riches to the honour and service of God, and to the great and manifold good of the world; which also highly tends to his own glory and happiness.

But the foolishness of fools is folly; but as for rich fools, for to them the general word is to be restrained from the opposite clause, their folly is not cured, but made worse and more manifest by their riches. Their riches find them fools, and leave them fools; they are not a crown, but a reproach to them, and an occasion of their greater contempt. For the phrase, we have the like in the Hebrew text, 1 Samuel 1:21. The child Samuel was a child. It is an elegant figure called antanaclasis, used in all authors.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 14:24". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/proverbs-14.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

24. The crown of the wise — Namely, their “knowledge,” see Proverbs 14:18, is their riches; their wisdom is their wealth.

But the foolishness of fools is folly — Foolishness and nothing else. Turn it as you will, it comes to that. It is neither riches, nor honour, nor any thing else desirable. So, substantially, Speaker’s Commentary, Furst, and Conant.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:24". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/proverbs-14.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The ends of the wise and the foolish are in view.

"The wise are crowned, that Isaiah , blessed with wealth (cf. Proverbs 3:16; Proverbs 8:18; Proverbs 8:21; Proverbs 15:6; Proverbs 22:4) because of their diligence ( Proverbs 14:23), but foolish conduct results not in blessing but in more folly (cf. Proverbs 14:18)." [Note: Sid S. Buzzell, " Proverbs ," in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament, p936. Cf. Toy, p296; and McKane, p466.]


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:24". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/proverbs-14.html. 2012.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Proverbs 14:24. The crown of the wise is their riches — They are a singular advantage and ornament to them, partly as they make their wisdom more regarded, while the poor man’s wisdom is despised, Ecclesiastes 9:16; and partly as they give a man great opportunity to exercise wisdom or virtue, by laying out his riches in the service of God, to the great good of mankind; which also tends to his own glory and happiness; but the foolishness of fools, &c. — But as for rich fools, their folly is not cured, but made worse and more manifest by their riches. Their riches find them fools, and leave them fools; they are not a crown, but a reproach to them, and an occasion of greater contempt.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:24". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/proverbs-14.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

CHAPTER XIV.

Imprudence. This they always betray, while the wise use their riches to assist their fellow-creatures, and receive a crown of glory. (Haydock)


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:24". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/proverbs-14.html. 1859.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

The crown of the wise is their riches: but the foolishness of fools is folly.

The crown of the wise (is) their riches; (but) the foolishness of fools (is) folly. Not riches, but "wisdom, gives a crown of glory" (Proverbs 4:9). "The prudent are crowned with knowledge," not with riches (Proverbs 14:18). Therefore the sense is, Wisdom (the opposite of 'folly'), being "the crown of the wise," constitutes their true 'riches,' and results in the heavenly riches; "but the foolishness of fools" is not "riches" to them, as 'the wise man's crown' of wisdom is to him, but is and continues "folly" - i:e., emptiness-neither an ornamental 'crown' nor enriching wisdom.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:24". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/proverbs-14.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(24) The crown of the wise is their riches.—They adorn and set off the wisdom of the wise, and bring it more prominently into notice; but the “foolishness of fools” remains folly. The rich fool only displays his folly all the more from being set in a conspicuous position.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:24". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/proverbs-14.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

The crown of the wise is their riches: but the foolishness of fools is folly.
crown
Psalms 112:9; Ecclesiastes 7:11,12; Isaiah 33:6; Luke 16:9
foolishness
27:22; Psalms 49:10-13; Luke 12:19,20; 16:19-25

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:24". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-14.html.

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

CRITICAL NOTES.—

Pro . Or, "It is a crown to the wise when they are rich, but the folly of fools remains folly" (Delitzsch).

MAIN HOMILETICS OF Pro

WEALTH WITH AND WITHOUT WISDOM

I. Both a wise man and a fool may attain to wealth. The intellectually wise, and the man who lacks mental ability, may both possess great riches. There are many who have vast estates and no more wisdom to manage them than an infant, and there are those whose ability is equal to their wealth and position. So with moral wisdom. Abraham, the friend of God, "was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold" (Gen ). Job, who had the Divine testimony to his "perfectness" and "uprightness," was "the greatest of all the men of the east" (Job 1:3). But many godless men like those mentioned in our Lord's parables (Luk 12:16; Luk 12:20; Luk 16:19-24) have "much goods laid up for many years," and "are clothed in purple and fine linen, and fare sumptuously every day." God is no respecter of persons in the distribution of temporal good in the shape of riches, but if there is any leaning to one class of character more than to another, He would seem rather to favour the ungodly. Because such "have their portion in this life" (Psa 17:14) and in this life only; because they have only this heaven upon earth; because they have no desire and conception of anything higher; it seems as if the Ruler of the universe often gives them the only good they are capable of appreciating. Some of the most miserable specimens of humanity that the world has ever seen have sat upon thrones, and a few of the greatest of God's human children have likewise wielded sceptres. So with the crown of wealth; it has been and is worn by men quite irrespective of moral character, but the preponderance seems to be in favour of the moral fool. Looked at in the light of eternity there is no injustice or even mystery in this.

II. But wealth is an adornment to the wise man only. If you dress an Ethiopian in pure white linen you will not change the colour of his skin. The man is what he was though his raiment is changed, and the whiteness of his garments makes his skin look all the blacker. If a tree is barren, the most costly and perfect artificial fruit placed among its leaves will not add to its beauty. It will only produce an incongruity which will be altogether distasteful to the spectator. Its barrenness is only made the more conspicuous. So no wealth can give any dignity to a mental and moral fool. Wealth will not hide the intellectual barrenness, nor cover the black stains upon the man's moral character. Nay, the wealth only brings them more prominently into view. However rich a fool is "the foolishness of fools is folly," and nothing else. But a man who is wise enough to know how to use wealth—especially if he is good enough to put it to the highest and best uses—even though he be neither intellectually great or highly polished, will make his riches a crown—will so use them as to merit and receive the respect and goodwill of his fellow creatures. Wealth looks best upon the head of one who possesses both intelligence and goodness, but whenever it is studded with the gems of a wise and sympathetic liberality it is a royal diadem—it makes its wearer a king.

OUTLINES AND SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS

The Christian is rich in this world. We read in the 18th verse of the "prudent making a crown of knowledge." Aladdin was rich when he had nothing but his lamp. If a ray of faith puts creation in bondage to a saint, then not only is his "knowledge a crown," but "his crown is his wealth." What needs Aladdin further than his lamp? The sovereignty of saints, even in a forlorn world, makes a perfect opulence; while "the folly of fools," seeing that it could give place to this; seeing that he also could have the lamp; seeing that the crowned princes, the very best of them, were fools like him; and therefore, that it can only be because he is a fool that he does not throw off his folly;—all this explains the closing clause, which is terse in its very quaintness; for, for the very reason that "the crown of the wise is their wealth, the foolishness of fools is folly."—Miller.

Though, as a fearful temptation (Mat ; Mat 19:23), no wise man would desire riches; yet as the gift of God (1Ki 3:13; Psa 112:3)—the gift, indeed, of His left hand (chap. Pro 3:16)—they may become His crown. What a crown they were to David and his wise son, as the materials for building the temple (1Ch 29:1-5; 2Ch 5:1); and to Job, as employed for the good of his fellow-creatures (Job 29:6-17). So that, though wisdom under all circumstances is a blessing, it is specially pronounced to be "good with an inheritance" (Ecc 7:11-12). It is necessary to distinguish between the thing itself and the abuse of it. Wealth is in fact a blessing, when honestly acquired and conscientiously employed. And when otherwise, the man is to be blamed, and not his treasure.—Bridges.

What is the most gorgeous and dazzling earthly crown compared with a diadem of which the component parts are the blessings of the destitute relieved, the ignorant instructed, the vicious reclaimed, the afflicted comforted, the dying cheered with the hope of life, the perishing rescued from perdition and brought to God!—Wardlaw.

If good men are spoiled of their wealth, they need not lament, as if they had lost their crown. For riches are an ornament of grace to the head of wise men, even when they are lost. Job's patience in the loss of everything, did as much honour to him as his extraordinary beneficence whilst he was the richest man in the East. We honour his memory still more, when he sewed sackcloth upon his skin, and defiled his horn in the dust, than at the time when judgment was his robe and his diadem.—Lawson.

As a horse is of no use without the bridle, so are riches without reason.—Cawdray.

Not riches but wisdom gives a crown of glory (chap. Pro ). "The prudent are crowned with knowledge," not with riches; therefore, the sense is, Wisdom (the opposite of folly), being the crown of the wise constitutes their true riches," and results in the heavenly riches; but the foolishness of fools is not riches to them, as the wise man's crown of wisdom is to him, but is, and continues folly, i.e., emptiness—neither an ornamental crown nor enriching wisdom.—Fausset.

The seeming tautology of the second clause is really its point. "The foolishness of fools is.…" We expect something else, but the subject is also the predicate. "The foolishness of fools is foolishness." That is the long and the short of it. Turn it as you will, it comes to that.—Plumptre.

Wisdom in a poor man is but a petty lord. He may rule himself well, but he shall have little command or power over others. Riches make a wise man a king, and as they crown him with honour by being well used by him, so do they extend his dominion far and wide. Many are subject to the law of his discretion, and the force of his wise authority prevaileth many ways. Well, therefore, doth the crown of riches sit upon his head, whose wise head it is that makes them to be riches. But riches in a fool are his bauble, whereby he maketh himself and others sport.… The wise being crowned by them are kings over their riches. They command them to their pleasure and use them to their honour. Whereas it is the folly of fools that they are galley-slaves to their own wealth.—Jermin.

Give riches to a fool and you put a sword into a madman's hand; the folly of such fools will soon be foolishness. Why, was it not foolishness before? Yes, but now it is become egregious foolishness. To what end is a treasure, if a man have lost the key that leads to it.—Trapp.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:24". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/proverbs-14.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology