The Words of the Wise

Discovery for Students

The Words of the Wise


Proverbs 22:17 through 24:34

“Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.” (Proverbs 22:28)


Our text contains two collections of moral and religious teachings applicable to people of all ages and walks of life: the first and longer collection is found in Proverbs 22:17 through Proverbs 24:22, and the second collection in Proverbs 24:23-34.

The plural form of the word “wise” in the phrase “hear the words of the wise” (Proverbs 22:17) is an indicator that wise men other than King Solomon authored the first section, although he collected the sayings. Proverbs 24:23 marks the start of the second collection with the statement, “These things also belong to the wise” No reference is made to Solomon in either of these collections.

Three groups of teachers comprised the wise men of Israel: the priests, sages, and prophets. Each of these groups had a different purpose. The priests were responsible for instruction regarding the Torah (Israel’s written and oral law), the sages gave counsel, and the prophets proclaimed the words of God. It is the counsel of the sages that is recorded in this section of Proverbs.

This portion of Proverbs more closely resembles the father/son or teacher/student style of teaching in chapters 1-9 than the two-line couplets of the Proverbs 10:1 through 22:16 section covered in the previous lesson. There are frequent calls to attention scattered throughout the text (see Proverbs 22:17; 23:19, 22, 26). Most of the proverbs reflect a tone of admonition which is indicated by imperative verbs and direct address.


  1. In Proverbs 22:28, our key verse, a prohibition was given regarding moving established landmarks. When the Israelites conquered Canaan, each tribe was given a portion of land with defined boundaries. Prior to that time, Moses had warned the people not to move the landmarks establishing property boundaries once they reached the Promised Land (see Deuteronomy 19:14; 27:17). The landmarks were how each family would maintain possession of the exact property allotted to them. How can the principle in this verse apply to our Christian lives?
  2. Proverbs 22:24-25 mentions an “angry” man. How would you define the word angry in this context? Why do you think we are told not to spend much time with such people?
  3. The wise men of Israel warned against envying sinners. What reason is given (Proverbs 23:17-18)? How can this help shape the focus for our lives?
  4. How can we buy the truth and then refuse to sell it? Proverbs 23:23
  5. What do you think the “house” referenced in Proverbs 24:3-4 represents? What principle is this proverb teaching?
  6. Proverbs 24:6 points to the benefits that accrue to the one who listens to the counsel of the wise. When attempting to find God’s will in important decisions, why can it be helpful to seek advice from those we know are godly people? Proverbs 24:6
  7. In Proverbs 24:10 we read the observation, “If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.” The sage was reminding his hearers that the time of crisis reveals our true mettle. How can we refrain from fainting or becoming discouraged when we face adversity?
  8. Throughout the Book of Proverbs we find numerous warnings against laziness, and encouragement to diligence. One example of such admonition is found in Proverbs 24:30-34, where the field of the sluggard is described as being overgrown with nettles and thorns. While diligence is unquestionably beneficial in physical labors, this word picture has application to our spiritual lives as well. Why is diligence necessary spiritually?


As we heed the wisdom offered by the godly, we will find our lives enriched on this earth. And there will be even greater treasure awaiting us in Heaven.