18 Plans are established by seeking advice;
so if you wage war, obtain guidance.
19 A gossip betrays a confidence;
so avoid anyone who talks too much.
20 If someone curses their father or mother,
their lamp will be snuffed out in pitch darkness.
Those who want their plans to succeed ought to base them on the best available advice. It is much better for the weaknesses of a plan to emerge in discussion than in practice, even the best plans are often subject to revision. Whether by pride or by passion, it is usually foolish to act in haste. This is true of war on every scale, from the battles we fight with temptation to the great campaigns of nations. “To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.”
“A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much.” Gossip ruins relationships. It separates close friends (16:28), pollutes the heart (18:8) and intensifies conflict (26:20). Whatever benefit there is of befriending a gossip is far outweighed by the complications, it is much simpler to avoid such people altogether than to risk being entangled in their webs. This is especially crucial when seeking advice, who you listen to is just as important as what they say.
“If someone curses their father and mother, their lamp will be snuffed out in pitch darkness.” Unreconciled relationships can have serious consequences, both spiritually and physically. Bitterness does no good for anyone, and it is especially harmful within a family. There are of course justifiable reasons for resentment, but they do not remedy its harm. When you are wronged you must make a decision: how long will you let the past poison your future? It may be painful to forgive, but it is crippling not to.