At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16: 11)
For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: And in multitude of counsellers there is safety.Proverbs 24:6
Precisely because this is a proverb, and not a proof in geometry, there is a way to apply it in folly and a way to apply it in wisdom. A proof in geometry is something that you either do right or do wrong. And in order to do it wrong, you must depart from the way.
But with a proverb, you can veer off the point while technically staying true to the words. Not only is this the way to abuse a proverb, but it is also the foundation of bad humor and lame excuses. “Did you wipe the server?” “Like what? With a rag?”
The proverb teaches us that going to war is a big deal, and that the decision makers in such an enterprise should seek out wise counsel as they are making that decision. It then goes on to tell us one way of insuring that the counsel for such an undertaking will be wise—get a lot of it, Solomon says.
This is an application of a principle found elsewhere in Proverbs (18:17). One person’s case seems really reasonable until you hear the other side. When debating whether or not to go to war, there should be a debate, and there are different arguments to be considered. You need to take care to hear from every relevant side. This does not guarantee that the king will make the right decision, but it will help to guarantee that he had to at least pass by the right decision. The right decision was at least presented to him.
The way to abuse this proverb is to listen to a cacophony of voices until you don’t know up from down. A man with a watch knows what time it is, while a man with three watches is never sure.