Proverbs 25

Principal lesson (v. 21, 22): The way to turn an enemy into a friend is to act friendly towards him.
If it does not gain him it will aggravate his sin and punishment, and will heap the coals of God’s wrath upon his head.

1 These are also proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied out.

2 It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.

3 The heaven for height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings is unsearchable.

4 Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.

5 Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness.

6 Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men:

7 For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen.

8 Go not forth hastily to strive, lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof, when thy neighbour hath put thee to shame.

9 Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself; and discover not a secret to another:

10 Lest he that heareth it put thee to shame, and thine infamy turn not away.

11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

12 As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.

13 As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refresheth the soul of his masters.

14 Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain.

15 By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.

16 Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.

17 Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour’s house; lest he be weary of thee, and so hate thee.

18 A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow.

19 Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.

20 As he that taketh away a garment in cold weather, and as vinegar upon nitre, so is he that singeth songs to an heavy heart.

21 If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink:

22 For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee.

23 The north wind driveth away rain: so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.

24 It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.

25 As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.

26 A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring.

27 It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory.

28 He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.

Proverbs 25:1-14 – ​Words Fitly Spoken

   This collection of proverbs was made 250 years after the time of Solomon by the scribes of King Hezekiah. The glory of God is too great to be disclosed to the vulgar eye of mere curiosity, but it will be unfolded to royal souls that seek for it as for hid treasure…. The great rulers of the world must have their secret counsels, but they should be freed from evil counselors, as gold from dross…. Compare Proverbs 25:6 and Proverbs 25:7 with Luke 14:8-10…. Second thoughts are best; sleep over your plan or letter; be deliberate in planning and prompt in acting on the plan when formed…. Don’t reveal to another a cause of offense that should be adjusted between yourself and your neighbor, Matthew 18:15…. A word happily adapted to a circumstance is like an apple of gold, that is, an orange, in a basket of silver filigree-work.… As drink cooled with snow refreshes the thirsty reaper, so is a messenger who faithfully executes his errand to the master who sent him. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Proverbs 25:15-28 – ​Self-Control and Kindliness

   In this paragraph we have good advice as to our dealings with the varied characters with whom we are forced into daily contact. Here is a man hard as a bone—try gentleness, for a soft tongue will win his heart, just because it finds a new and unexpected way of approach which no one else has tried for long years…. Beware of honeyed words; you may get stung.… Do not make yourself too common, or pry into your neighbor’s affairs, or ask his help too often…. Keep clear of the tale-bearer.… Be very careful to whom you confide your troubles…. Vinegar poured on potash makes it effervesce; so joyous mirth is incongruous to a heavy heart…. Even if your love fails to meet your enemy, the Lord will reward you by revealing and communicating His own perfection, Matthew 5:43-48.… If you frown on a backbiter, you will silence him.… Do not give way to the wicked, lest you become a corrupted spring…. Rule over your spirit—nay, better, hand over its keys to Emmanuel, and let Him be crowned in Mansoul. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Proverbs 25:21-22—If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat.

​   The pagan ideal of a manly life was to succeed in doing as much good to your friends, and as much injury to your enemies, as possible. A few exceptions to this rule are recorded; but the wonder at them proves that the sentiments of forgiveness and mercy were foreign to popular morality and public opinion. How different is the teaching of the Bible! and in this have we not an evidence of its Divine authority? Our Lord went further even than this noble maxim; He said (Matthew 5:44), “Love your enemies… and pray for them which… persecute you.”
   We are not taught to be entirely indifferent to the moral qualities of actions. The perception of sin and evil is necessary to a holy soul. And it is not required that we should abjure that holy resentment to wrong-doing, to which the apostle alludes when he says (Ephesians 4:26), “Be ye angry, and sin not.” We must always resent wrong as wrong, though we must carefully eliminate any vindictive feeling towards the wrong-doer.
   Do you think that others have wronged you? Pity them; pray for them; seek them out; show them their fault, humbly and meekly; wash their feet; take the mote out of their eye; seek to restore them in a spirit of meekness, remembering that you may be tempted; heap coals of loving-kindness on their heads; bring them if possible into such a broken and tender frame of mind, that they may seek forgiveness at your hand and God’s. If you cannot act thus with all the emotion you would feel, do it because it is right, and the emotion will inevitably follow. It was said of Archbishop Leighton, that to do him an injury was to secure his lasting friendship. —Our Daily Homily