At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16: 11)
Where no counsel is, the people fall: But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.Proverbs 11:14
Before you do something significant, you should take counsel. When the rulers of a society do not do so, we are told, the people fall. On the opposite side, which would be in the realm of safety, a multitude of counselors is much to be desired.
This is yet another area where we find a ditch on both side of the road. A man with a watch knows what time it is, but a man with two watches is never sure. A king with one counselor knows what to do, and a king with two counselors might find himself pulled this way, and then that. And if the king has a multitude of counselors, might not the result be paralysis?
Not necessarily. First, we should note that this proverb tells us unambiguously which option should be preferred. When there is no counsel, there is danger. On the other hand, where there are many counselors, there is safety. So we should know that if we are in positions of responsibility—parents, pastors, business owners, and so on—and a big decision is coming up, we should want to gather up input from many.
But we shouldn’t want to get that input from a yelling mob, right? It says a multitude of counselors, not from simply “a multitude.”
In order to keep the multitude of counselors functioning in an orderly way, they should not be allowed to think of themselves as a rudimentary democracy. They are advisors, not voters. Wise counselors (which would be the only kind you should want) should understand that their role is to get all the best options out on the table before the person who must make the decision. And when that decision is made, the advisors step back, knowing their task has been completed.
Those who are privileged to occupy this position should also labor to avoid using tactics other than their counsel. In other words, they should want to be part of a body of advisors, and to do this without getting dragged into palace intrigues. That kind of thing is no good—unless of course you are Hushai thwarting the evil schemes of Ahithophel (2 Sam. 17).