Verses 11–12

Solomon here shows how much it becomes a man, 1. To speak pertinently: A word upon the wheels, that runs well, is well-circumstanced, in proper time and place—instruction, advice, or comfort, given seasonably, and in apt expressions, adapted to the case of the person spoken to and agreeing with the character of the person speaking—is like golden balls resembling apples, or like true apples of a golden colour (golden rennets), or perhaps gilded, as sometimes we have gilded laurels, and those embossed in pictures of silver, or rather brought to table in a silver network basket, or in a silver box of that which we call filigree—work, through which the golden apples might be seen. Doubtless in was some ornament of the table, then well known. As that was very pleasing to the eye, so is a word fitly spoken to the ear. 2. Especially to give a reproof with discretion, and so as to make it acceptable. If it be well given, by a wise reprover, and well taken, by an obedient ear, it is an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold, very graceful and well becoming both the reprover and the reproved; both will have their praise, the reprover for giving it so prudently and the reproved for taking it so patiently and making a good use of it. Others will commend them both, and they will have satisfaction in each other; he who gave the reproof is pleased that it had the desired effect, and he to whom it was given has reason to be thankful for it as a kindness. That is well given, we say, that is well taken; yet it does not always prove that that is well taken which is well given. It were to be wished that a wise reprover should always meet with an obedient ear, but often it is not so.