Prov 25:1 These are more proverbs of Solomon, copied by the men of Hezekiah king of Judah:
Prov 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.
This verse a motto for Hezekiah, cf v1.
How little we know about God, Job 26:14. We praise him for what he has revealed of himself; but we leave his secrets to himself, Deut 29:29.
Prov 25:3 As the heavens are high and the earth is deep, so the hearts of kings are unsearchable.
Prov 25:4 Remove the dross from the silver, and out comes material for the silversmith;
Prov 25:5 remove the wicked from the king’s presence, and his throne will be established through righteousness.
Prov 25:6 Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence, and do not claim a place among great men;
There is, of course, a false humility, which shrinks from duty or responsibility; but we are here warned against striving for recognition, or reputation, or power. See Mt 18:1-4; Lk 14:11; 3 Jn 9.
Prov 25:7 it is better for him to say to you, “Come up here,” than for him to humiliate you before a nobleman. What you have seen with your eyes
Prov 25:8 do not bring hastily to court, for what will you do in the end if your neighbor puts you to shame?
Think before you quarrel: you may not know the whole story; you may have misinterpreted the facts; it may not be worth the effort; you may come away with mud on your face yourself. Far better a quiet face-to-face talk than a public hue and cry. See Mt 5:25f; 18:15-17; cf Gen 13:8ff.
We are often too ready to tell our neighbour’s faults to others, whereas, if they should be told at all, they should be told to him.
If I tell tales about A to B, and about B to A, sooner or later they will compare notes, and then what?
Prov 25:9 If you argue your case with a neighbor, do not betray another man’s confidence,
Prov 25:10 or he who hears it may shame you and you will never lose your bad reputation.
Prov 25:11 A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.
v11f – The details of this simile are uncertain, but the main thoughts are of attractiveness, value, and craftsmanship.
Truth has a beauty all of its own; but it has a double attractiveness when adorned with eloquence. See Isa 50:4.
‘We may think to relieve our conscience by speaking our mind. But to do it rudely and harshly, may put a stumbling-block in our brother’s way’ (Bridges). See 2 Sam 12:1-13. We need to learn, not only how to deliver a reproof, but (even more difficult) how to receive it.
Prov 25:12 Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is a wise man’s rebuke to a listening ear.
Prov 25:13 Like the coolness of snow at harvest time is a trustworthy messenger to those who send him; he refreshes the spirit of his masters.
Prov 25:14 Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of gifts he does not give.
Prov 25:15 Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.
Prov 25:16 If you find honey, eat just enough– too much of it, and you will vomit.
Prov 25:17 Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house– too much of you, and he will hate you.
Prov 25:18 Like a club or a sword or a sharp arrow is the man who gives false testimony against his neighbor.
Prov 25:19 Like a bad tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in times of trouble.
Prov 25:20 Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on soda, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.
Prov 25:21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
Cf. Rom 12:20
Prov 25:22 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.
Prov 25:23 As a north wind brings rain, so a sly tongue brings angry looks.
Prov 25:24 Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.
Many proverbs need a bit of ‘cultural translation’, and this one is no exception. Fee & Stuart suggest the paraphrase: ‘It’s better to live in a garage than in a spacious house with a woman you never should have married.’ These authors add that ‘the proverb is not intended to suggest literally what to do it you, a male, find your wife to be quarrelsome. It is intended to advise that people be careful in the selection of a mate. Such a selection is a transcultural decision for which the proverb, correctly understood, provides sounjd, godly advice (cf. Mt 19:3-11; 1 Cor 7:1-14, 25-40). Everybody should recognise that a hasty marriage, based largely on physical attraction, can turn out to be an unhappy marriage.’ (How To Read The Bible For All Its Worth, 2nd ed., p225)
Prov 25:25 Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.
Prov 25:26 Like a muddied spring or a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way to the wicked.
Prov 25:27 It is not good to eat too much honey, nor is it honorable to seek one’s own honor.
Prov 25:28 Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.