25 These are also the proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied:
2 It is the glory of God to conceal a thing, but the glory of kings is to search out a thing.
3 As the heavens for height and the earth for depth, so the hearts and minds of kings are unsearchable.
4 Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth [the material for] a vessel for the silversmith [to work up].
5 Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne will be established in righteousness (moral and spiritual rectitude in every area and relation).
6 Be not forward (self-assertive and boastfully ambitious) in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men;
7 For better it is that it should be said to you, Come up here, than that you should be put lower in the presence of the prince, whose eyes have seen you.
8 Rush not forth soon to quarrel [before magistrates or elsewhere], lest you know not what to do in the end when your neighbor has put you to shame.
9 Argue your cause with your neighbor himself; discover not and disclose not another’s secret,
10 Lest he who hears you revile you and bring shame upon you and your ill repute have no end.
11 A word fitly spoken and in due season is like apples of gold in settings of silver.
12 Like an earring or nose ring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is a wise reprover to an ear that listens and obeys.
13 Like the cold of snow [brought from the mountains] in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to those who send him; for he refreshes the life of his masters.
14 Whoever falsely boasts of gifts [he does not give] is like clouds and wind without rain.
15 By long forbearance and calmness of spirit a judge or ruler is persuaded, and soft speech breaks down the most bonelike resistance.
16 Have you found [pleasure sweet like] honey? Eat only as much as is sufficient for you, lest, being filled with it, you vomit it.
17 Let your foot seldom be in your neighbor’s house, lest he become tired of you and hate you.
18 A man who bears false witness against his neighbor is like a heavy sledgehammer and a sword and a sharp arrow.
19 Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth or a foot out of joint.
20 He who sings songs to a heavy heart is like him who lays off a garment in cold weather and like vinegar upon soda.
21 If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;
22 For in doing so, you will [a]heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord will reward you.
23 The north wind brings forth rain; so does a backbiting tongue bring forth an angry countenance.
24 It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop than to share a house with a disagreeing, quarrelsome, and scolding woman.
25 Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far [home] country.
26 Like a muddied fountain and a polluted spring is a righteous man who yields, falls down, and compromises his integrity before the wicked.
27 It is not good to eat much honey; so for men to seek glory, their own glory, causes suffering and is not glory.
28 He who has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls.
Proverbs 25:22This is not to be understood as a revengeful act intended to embarrass its victim, but just the opposite. The picture is that of the high priest (Lev. 16:12) who, on the Day of Atonement, took his censer and filled it with “coals of fire” from off the altar of burnt offering, and then put incense on the coals to create a pleasing, sweet-smelling fragrance. The cloud or smoke of the incense covered the mercy seat and was acceptable to God for atonement. Samuel Wesley wrote:/ “So artists melt the sullen ore of lead,/ By heaping coals of fire upon its head:/ In the kind warmth the metal learns to glow,/ And pure from dross the silver runs below.”
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