Pastor Bill Farrow
“Wisdom is before him that hath understanding: but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.” - Proverbs 17:24.
       Solomon often spends time speaking of the contrast between the wise and the fool.  Many times, he speaks of focus and result of what the two pursue.  In particular he ties wisdom with proper and full understanding of the world around us.  Set against this is often set the differing and contrasting aspects and results of the actions and perceptions of what he calls fools.
       Here he ties together the gaining or possessing of wisdom with the having of understanding.  “…him who has understanding” is a single word in the Hebrew text. It is “me̅bȋn” (mee beuhn) which speaks of the basic idea of seeing, perceiving of arriving  at a conclusion as a result accurate perception.  The idea that Solomon is seeking to get us to “perceive” is that there is a difference between the world view of the wise and that of the fool.
       This is what he means when he adds such a broad statement after the two definitions:





  • He says, first, that “wisdom” is in the “eyes” of the one who understands.        
  • We’ve looked several times before this at the basic idea of wisdom as Solomon uses it.  It refers basically to technical skill or the basic to work through a thing and accomplish a goal properly and effectively.  In other places it speaks of shrewdness or experience, both of which lend the ability to do a thing, or accomplish one’s goal or desire effectively.
  • “Eyes” of course refers to the capacity to see; and, in this context the mental perception and understanding that is a function of that seeing.  In this case the implication is that this “seeing” is both accurate and proper.
        That is why Solomon says that “understanding” is the result of it.  The individual in view has understanding and, because of that understanding, he/she realizes and is able to make use of God’s wisdom.  It is this that enables them to view all that is around them in a godly fashion.  
        By contrast, Solomon sets a contrast with the world view of the fool.  Notice that this second part of the verse begins with a “contrastive” conjunction, one that contrasts the two sections of the verse against each other.  He refers to their “eyes” as well and in this context, this speaks of the same basic idea as it did earlier in the verse.  This idea is here connected with the perceptions and realized knowledge; but in this case, it is those of a fool and not a wise person. 

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