20 The wise store up choice food and olive oil,
but fools gulp theirs down.
21 Whoever pursues righteousness and love
finds life, prosperity and honor.
22 One who is wise can go up against the city of the mighty
and pull down the stronghold in which they trust.
At first glance it may seem that the wise are opposed to pleasure, but in fact they are committed to the lasting pleasures of living responsibly. The great irony of Gluttony and Lust is that those who seek pleasure directly experience it less and less, and in the end have nothing to show for their efforts. Those who fail to limit their consumption will be limited by it; the path that begins with pleasure often ends in regret.
“Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.” It is not only pleasure that is best experienced as a byproduct of wisdom, but also life, prosperity and honor. It is tempting to compromise righteousness and love in the pursuit of other things, to sacrifice values on the altar of success. But this is as unnecessary as it is self-defeating, as values are the foundation on which everything else is established.
“One who is wise can go up against the city of the mighty and pull down the stronghold in which they trust.” Wisdom is greater than might. The wise person doesn’t rush into conflict against the fortified defenses of his opponent. Instead he contemplates the point of vulnerability and maneuvers to bring it down. While an enemy’s outer defenses may be well considered and prepared, the assumed stronghold may be overlooked. Goliath was heavily armored to defend against sword and spear, but in his arrogance he was vulnerable to sling and stone.