This proverb isn’t about any specific characters in Proverbs, just another of those good-things-to-know about life wise sayings.
The first phrase says, “Do not wear yourself out to get rich.” We’re not supposed to invest all our thinking, time and energy into getting rich.
First, because all our efforts may just not produce much at all — and it wasn’t a good investment of our time or energy.
Second, we may be able to get riches, but may not be able to hold on to them very long.
Third, wealth isn’t all it is cracked up to be — and very possibly it won’t be able to provide the things that really matter to us.
Fourth, if God wants us to have it, we don’t need to wear ourselves out to try and make it happen. He can handle all that for us!
The second phrase of this wise saying adds some additional information, “Have the wisdom to show restraint.” But, to be honest, this is more of an explanation than a translation.
This phrase actually it consists of just two words in Hebrew: “from-your-own-understanding cease!”
It reminds me of one of my favorite verses in Proverbs (3:5), where the second clause says (in four Hebrew words) “…and lean not on your own understanding.”
Today’s verse suggests we should curb both our actions (“wear yourself out”) and our attitudes (“have the wisdom’). We’re not supposed to succumb to focusing on and going after wealth.
In the end, wisdom is way better than riches — because wisdom will bring sufficient riches along with it…and wisdom will help us appreciate what we do have more…and wisdom will empower us to be able to share our of what we have with others.
Just good things to know!