Verses 1-3 God needs not search into any thing; nothing can be hid from him. But it is the honour of rulers to search out matters, ( proverbs 25:4-5 ) to suppress vice, and reform his people, is the best way to ( proverbs 25:6-7 ) self-denial. He who has seen the glory of the Lord in Christ Jesus, will feel his own unworthiness. ( 8-10 ) . To be hasty in beginning strife, will bring into difficulties. War must at length end, and might better be prevented. It is so in private ( proverbs 25:11-12 ) word of counsel, or reproof, rightly spoken, is especially beautiful, as fine fruit becomes still more beautiful in silver baskets. Verse 13 . See what ought to be the aim of him that is trusted with any business; to be faithful. A faithful minister, Christ's messenger, should be thus acceptable to us. Verse 14 . He who pretends to have received or given that which he never had, is like the morning cloud, that disappoints those who look for rain. Verse 15 . Be patient to bear a present hurt. Be mild to speak without passion; for persuasive language is the most effectual to prevail over the hardened mind. Verse 16 . God has given us leave to use grateful things, but we are cautioned against excess. Verse 17 . We cannot be upon good terms with our neighbours, without discretion as well as sincerity. How much better a Friend is God than any other friend! The oftener we come to him, the more welcome. Verse 18 . A false testimony is dangerous in every thing. Verse 19 . Confidence in an unfaithful man is painful and vexatious; when we put any stress on him, he not only fails, but makes us feel for it. Verse 20 . We take a wrong course if we think to relieve those in sorrow by endeavoring to make them merry. (proverbs 25:21-22 ) The precept to love even our enemies is an Old Testament commandment. Our Saviour has shown his own great example in loving us when we were enemies. Verse 23 . Slanders would not be so readily spoken, if they were not readily heard. Sin, if it receives any check, becomes cowardly. Verse 24 . It is better to be alone, than to be joined to one who is a hinderance to the comfort of life. Verse 25 . Heaven is a country afar off; how refreshing is good news from thence, in the everlasting gospel, which signifies glad tidings, and in the witness of the Spirit with our spirits that we are God's children! Verse 26 . When the righteous are led into sin, it is as hurtful as if the public fountains were poisoned. Verse 27 . We must be, through grace, dead to the pleasures of sense, and also to the praises of men. Verse 28 . The man who has no command over his anger, is easily robbed of peace. Let us give up ourselves to the Lord, and pray him to put his Spirit within us, and cause us to walk in his statutes.
Proverbs 25:1-28 .
1. The character of these proverbs sustains the title
also--refers to the former part of the book.
copied out--literally, "transferred," that is, from some other book to this; not given from memory.
2. God's unsearchableness impresses us with awe (compare Isaiah 45:15 , Romans 11:33 ). But kings, being finite, should confer with wise counsellors;
3. Ye wisely keeping state secrets, which to common men are as inaccessible heights and depths.
4, 5. As separating impurities from ore leaves pure silver, so taking from a king wicked counsellors leaves a wise and beneficent government.
5. before--or, "in presence of," as courtiers stood about a king.
6, 7. Do not intrude into the presence of the king, for the elevation of the humble is honorable, but the humbling of the proud disgraceful ( Luke 14:8-10 ).
8. (Compare Proverbs 3:30 ).
lest . . . shame--lest you do what you ought not, when shamed by defeat, or "lest thou art shut out from doing any thing."
9, 10. (Compare Matthew 5:25 , Margin).
secret--that is, of your opponent, for his disadvantage, and so you be disgraced, not having discussed your difficulties with him.
11. a word fitly--literally, "quickly," as wheels roll, just in time. The comparison as apples . . . silver gives a like sense.
apples, &c.--either real apples of golden color, in a silver network basket, or imitations on silver embroidery.
12. Those who desire to know and do rightly, most highly esteem good counsel ( Proverbs 9:9 , 15:31 ). The listening ear is better than one hung with gold.
13. Snow from mountains was used to cool drinks; so refreshing is a faithful messenger ( Proverbs 13:17 ).
14. clouds--literally, "vapors" ( Jeremiah 10:13 ), clouds only in appearance.
a false gift--promised, but not given.
15. Gentleness and kindness overcome the most powerful and obstinate.
long forbearing--or, "slowness to anger" ( Proverbs 14:29 , 15:18 ).
16, 17. A comparison, as a surfeit of honey produces physical disgust, so your company, however agreeable in moderation, may, if excessive, lead your friend to hate you.
18. A false witness is as destructive to reputation, as such weapons to the body ( Proverbs 24:28 ).
beareth . . . witness--literally, "answereth questions," as before a judge, against his neighbor.
19. Treachery annoys as well as deceives.
20. Not only is the incongruity of songs (that is, joyful) and sadness meant, but an accession of sadness, by want of sympathy, is implied.
21, 22. (Compare Matthew 5:44 , Romans 12:20 ). As metals are melted by heaping coals upon them, so is the heart softened by kindness.
23. Better, "As the north wind bringeth forth ( Psalms 90:2 ) or produces rain, so does a concealed or slandering tongue produce anger."
24. (Compare Proverbs 21:9 Proverbs 21:19 ).
25. (Compare Proverbs 25:13 ).
good news--that is, of some loved interest or absent friend, the more grateful as coming from afar.
26. From troubled fountains and corrupt springs no healthy water is to be had, so when the righteous are oppressed by the wicked, their power for good is lessened or destroyed.
27. Satiety surfeits ( Proverbs 25:16 ); so men who are self-glorious find shame.
is not glory--"not" is supplied from the first clause, or "is grievous," in which sense a similar word is used ( Proverbs 27:2 ).
28. Such are exposed to the incursions of evil thoughts and successful temptations.