The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Proverbs 25

Pro 25:2

The types of the Law: to teach righteousness.

"We should not have anticipated this thought, but all experience shows that it is fundamentally true. Men have often found that all their attempts to understand the laws of Nature have only opened up a vista of increased complexity. Last century the materialists were in the ascendant and for a time imagined that they were on the point of explaining everything. Now they are discredited and it is acknowledged that the universe is far more mysterious than our forefathers ever imagined. Last century the food experts thought that they knew all about the subject of nutrition; then, through the practical failure of their theories, vitamins were discovered, and now experts who certainly know far more than their predecessors, admit as Mr. Eustace Miles once wrote: 'We really know very little about the matter.' At one time the ductless glands of the body were regarded as useless, now they are found to be so mysteriously important that some investigators have claimed that they are practically everything.

"As in Nature so in the written Word, God has concealed things and has called upon His servants to exercise their minds in searching for the treasures of divine wisdom. It has always been 'line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little.' Faithful men and women try to put the littles together and in the process find the mental exercise which brings their minds nearer to God" (PrPr).

"The Bible is the Word of God. Inspired men wrote as God gave them the message. The word of God is perfect. There are no mistakes in it, and it has been preserved for thousands of years and translated into our native languages so that we are able to read the message God had given us. But it is more than just a message from God to man -- it is an invitation to become part of the family of God and to live with Him through eternity. Every page and every letter of this amazing book is there for a reason; it carries the signature of God. All the way through the Bible are patterns, types and prophecies that God has hidden from plain view and urges us to search out. The whole message of the Bible can be seen in what seem like simple stories in the text. Even lists of people's ancestors can tell their own incredible story if we just take the time to search out the jewels that God has hidden. Show your worth, honour and glory by searching his word today" (RP).

Pro 25:4

Faith as gold that has been refined: 1Pe 1:7; Lam 4:1,2. Cp Mal 3:8; Lev 6:28; 2Co 4:10,11.

Pro 25:6

Take the lowest place: Luk 14:8-10; cp Mat 23:12.

Pro 25:8

DO NOT BRING HASTILY TO COURT: Be careful, like a king going to war: Luk 14:31.

Pro 25:11

APTLY SPOKEN: "Revolving around", or "encircling". Making the word of God the center of one's life, around which everything revolves. Cp idea of cherubim/chariot wheels.

APPLES OF GOLD IN SETTINGS OF SILVER: Prob carvings of fruit in gold, in settings of silver.

APPLES: The Heb "tappuwach" is prob derived from the Hebrew root meaning "scent, breath" which is related to the Arabic root meaning "fragrant scent" (HAL). Hence, the term ref to a fruit with a fragrant scent. The term occurs 4 times in Song (Song 2:3,5; 7:8; 8:5) and twice outside (Pro 25:11; Joe 1:12). It may ref to "apples" or "apricots" -- known esp for their fragrance. "...Sometimes associated with the 'apple' tree, but while domesticated apple trees are now found in Israel, wild specimens are not believed to have grown there in biblical times since it is a tree native to the northern hemisphere. Apricots, however, grow in warmer climes and are native to China; they have long been abundant in Israel and most prob were introduced in Bible times. Apricots in Cyprus are still known as 'golden apples' [poss ref to Pro 25:11?]" (ABD).

Pro 25:13

Seasons controlled by God (Gen 8:21,22), as a token of God's plan for the earth.

COOLNESS: Refreshing: v 25.

MESSENGER: Or angel: Rev 3:15.

Pro 25:15

"There is no incongruity in these apparently opposing thoughts. The gentle and reasonable answer to angry declamation will calm the storm. The fire of anger will die down for lack of fuel, or the irate man will make an effort to calm himself for very shame. At the same time the reasonable appeal, gently stated, will sometime prevail even against ossified determination" (PrPr). See Lesson, Prov and strife.

"The fact is that most men judge the value of an argument from the wrong side. They appraise the efforts of their spokesman by their own reactions instead of trying to determine what the effect will be in the opposite camp. It may be pleasant to hear vigorous and emphatic declamation in the presentation of ideas that we hold. It may be even pleasanter to hear biting sarcasm at the expense of those who hold doctrines that we repudiate. On the other hand, it may seem disappointing to hear our cherished beliefs presented in mild and temperate language, or to hear a perfectly fair and sympathetic review of that which we detest. If, however, we desire to persuade men and to turn them from darkness to light, the exercise of a little imagination ought to teach us that the declamation and the sarcasm are worse than useless, while the sympathetic understanding will pave the way for conversion and the mildly stated argument will linger in the memory and be a moving force long after the dust of controversy has cleared away. It is the soft answer that breaketh the bone" (PrPr).

Pro 25:17

Temperance: Gal 5:23; 2Pe 1:6.

Pro 25:18

See Lesson, Double negative, Hebrew.

Pro 25:22

Cited Rom 12:20.

BURNING COALS: Sym judgments of God: Psa 11:6; 140:10; 2Sa 22:13.

ON HIS HEAD: Where brazier might be carried when going to a neighbor's house to borrow a fire (Str Scr 32). Heaping burning coals on your enemy's head figuratively describes doing good that results in the conviction and shame of the enemy. The expression alludes to the old custom of carrying burning coals in a pan. When one's fire went out at home, a person would have to go to a neighbor and request hot coals that he or she would then carry home on the head. Carrying the coals involved some danger, discomfort, and uneasiness for the person carrying them. Nevertheless they were the evidence of the neighbor's love. Likewise the person who receives good for evil feels uncomfortable because of his neighbor's love. This guilt may convict the wrongdoer of his or her ways in a gentle manner.

Pro 25:27

See Lesson, Double negative, Hebrew.

Seek God's honor, not one's own: 2Co 12:1; Luk 14:7-11; 18:10-14.

Pro 25:28

"Bring body into subjection" (1Co 9:27).

SELF-CONTROL: "One of the best business exhortations I ever read was on the subject of habits. It was not merely a condemnation of bad habits on the lines of ordinary moral maxims. It pointed out that habits of many kinds may be developed; and the subconscious powers of the brain furnish us with a whole army of servants, which may be so well trained as to become most efficient helps, or so mismanaged as to become our masters. Cultivate good habits, and the higher part of the brain is left free to perform the work which it alone can accomplish. The right thing is done at the right time as a matter of routine, regular duties are performed with the same instinctive certainty that calls us to the breakfast table in the morning, and the higher part of the brain is able to devote itself more thoroughly to the realm of pure thought" (ConCon 139).

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