Proverbs Chapter 25
Starting in (Proverbs 25:1 and going to 29:27), we find Hezekiah’s collection of Solomon’s proverbs.
Proverbs 25:1 “These [are] also proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied out.”
This collection of 137 Proverbs was spoken by Solomon and most likely copied into a collection during the reign of Judah’s king, Hezekiah (715-686 B.C.), over 200 years later. This was consistent with Hezekiah’s efforts to bring revival to Judah as he elevated the forgotten wisdom of David and Solomon.
Proverbs 25:2 “[It is] the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings [is] to search out a matter.” “The heaven for height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings [is] unsearchable.”
In verses 2 and 3 the roles of God and the king are compared. God, whose knowledge is above all human knowledge and whose ways are unsearchable, keeps things to Himself because He needs no counsel.
We know there is a secret of God that will not be revealed till the end of the world. We know that the Lord revealed himself in part to the disciples and to all believers in Christ. He reveals to each of us what He desires us to understand.
We read a little of this in Romans:
Romans 16:25-26 “Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,” “But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:”
You see, God is a mystery. Jesus revealed the mystery somewhat in coming to the earth and telling us about God. All will not be known until we live in heaven with Him. A king, on the other hand, tells us what he knows. It makes him appear smarter.
A king has to get to the bottom of the facts so that he can judge a matter fairly. Kings should rightly seek to know what they must know in order to rule righteously.
A man can never search out all the heavens and cannot go to the center of the earth, neither can he really know what is in the heart of a king.
Proverbs 25:4 “Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.” “Take away the wicked [from] before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness.”
When extreme heat is applied to silver and it is melted down, the trash will come to the top and can be skimmed off and leave pure silver. This is very similar to a Christian. Sometimes God applies the heat (problems), to purify us. We are purged in the fire and made pure.
Verse 5 is associated with verse 4 above. Just as heat is applied to the silver and the silver is made pure, so is the kingdom made pure, so is the kingdom made righteous when the wicked are removed. The king has it in his power to remove whomever he will and to purify wickedness.
Proverbs 25:6-7 “Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great [men]:” “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.”
Don’t pretend to be great and try to take the best places with the highest seat near the king. If he sees you and you do not belong there, he will tell you to sit in a lower place and that would embarrass you. If you stand in the background and the prince calls you up closer, then you feel really good.
This is just another way to say don’t think too much of yourself as self-seeking and pride will bring a person down.
Proverbs 25:8 “Go not forth hastily to strive, lest [thou know not] what to do in the end thereof, when thy neighbor hath put thee to shame.”
Quick anger causes embarrassment. The end to quick anger is repentance for what is said.
Proverbs 25:9 “Debate thy cause with thy neighbor [himself]; and discover not a secret to another:”
This is telling us how to solve a problem with a neighbor. If you have a peeve, go and tell the neighbor. Have prayer with the neighbor, treat him as you would want to be treated yourself, and your argument will be over.
Don’t go gossiping to other neighbors. Settle it between just the one the argument is with and yourself. You will gain a closer friend.
Proverbs 25:10 “Lest he that heareth [it] put thee to shame, and thine infamy turn not away.”
This is speaking of your being faithful in your witness. An unreasonable person who will not talk out his problems, winds up ashamed by all his neighbors because of his or her unreasonable attitude.
Proverbs 25:11 “A word fitly spoken [is like] apples of gold in pictures of silver.”
These “words fitly spoken” mean that these words come from a pure heart. Apples are fruit much desired and gold has to do symbolically with the purity of God. We see here, the fruit of these lips come from a heart filled with the pureness of God. These “pictures of silver” are beautiful in symbolism as well. Silver symbolizes redemption. When we see a person who speaks beautiful Godly words, we see a person we know has been redeemed.
Proverbs 25:12 “[As] an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, [so is] a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.”
We see here, that the message this reprover brings is a pure message. We also see here, the listener takes the good advice as part of his body, because an earring is attached to the body. This “ornament of fine gold” means that this pure message is ever before him. He has hung it around his neck.
Proverbs 25:13 “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.”
We see here, a refreshing coolness which helps in the time of harvest. A heavy snow would bring disaster, but this is just a cooling off and refreshing. A faithful messenger is refreshing to his master. His master can depend on him to carry a true message.
Proverbs 25:14 “Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift [is like] clouds and wind without rain.”
Clouds and wind ordinarily bring rain. To expect rain and it not to come is very disappointing. We see that someone who promises a gift and then doesn’t give it, is disappointing as well.
Proverbs 25:15 “By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.”
We see in this a person who remains calm and speaks without anger and prejudice; a king will listen to and be persuaded. Soft words will have more influence than force. You can break a person’s bones and still not convince him, but a soft word is easy to listen to and will be more acceptable.
This tells us that patience is a mighty weapon.
Proverbs 25:16 “Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.”
A certain amount of sweetness is wonderful, but after you are full, extra sweetness can make you sick.
This could go with verse 17 that instructs the wise not to overdo anything that may lead to disgust and rejection, including overstaying or being overbearing with a friend who may begin to resent him.
Proverbs 25:17 “Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbor’s house; lest he be weary of thee, and [so] hate thee.”
We see in this that we are not to wear our welcome out with our neighbors. Close friends enjoy each other, but they also know when it’s time to go home.
Proverbs 25:18 “A man that beareth false witness against his neighbor [is] a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow.”
He is a very destructive person who bears false witness against his neighbor. He is as destructive to reputation as those weapons are to the body.
The sword shows what his cutting words can do. The maul shows how it beats others down with words of falsehoods (maul), and then we see the piercing effect of sharp words as sharp arrows. A person who does these vicious things is more destructive than any of these weapons.
Proverbs 25:19 “Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble [is like] a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.”
We would be hard pressed to depend upon a foot that was out of joint to get you anywhere. When you were stepping on it, it would hurt so badly you would not be able to walk.
You would not be able to eat because of a broken tooth. It would be a painful situation to depend on someone who was unfaithful.
Proverbs 25:20 “[As] he that taketh away a garment in cold weather, [and as] vinegar upon nitre, so [is] he that singeth songs to a heavy heart.”
Untimely cheerfulness is unbearable. When you have a heavy heart, you are in no mood to sing or have someone to sing to you. To take away someone’s coat when it is cold, would be a cruel thing to do.
To pour vinegar upon nitre (Baking soda), is to cause it to effervesce and lose its constituent power. Vinegar stings when applied wrongly.
When our brothers and sisters are sad, it is cruel to rejoice in their sorrow.
Proverbs 25:21-22 “If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink:” “For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee.”
This is what Jesus taught that believers should do to their enemies. Be good to those who persecute you. Our rewards are not for this world, Jesus said over and over, “In as much as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40).
Jesus even taught that if your enemy slaps you on the one cheek, turn to him the other also. Christians are to be Christ like. While Jesus was in great pain on the cross, He said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
It is not the natural (fleshly), thing to do to be good to someone who is cursing you, but it is the way of the Spirit. Jesus fights our battles for us. Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord. The Lord will punish them, we do not have to.
Coals of fire does not refer to revenge or punishment but to the pangs of shame that will lead to reconciliation.
Proverbs 25:23 “The north wind driveth away rain: so [doth] an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.”
This theme here is one of cause and effect. As surely as a North wind drives away the rain cloud, so then will an angry look will sometimes stop a person from saying slanderous things about someone else.
Proverbs 25:24 “It is] better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.”
We see here that what makes a home is not the size of the house, but it is the peace and rest there. To live with an angry brawling (fighting), person (man or woman), is miserable (see 19:13 or 21:9).
Proverbs 25:25 “[As] cold waters to a thirsty soul, so [is] good news from a far country.”
When you are hot and thirsty, there is no better drink that money can buy than a cool drink of water. Or (as we saw in verse 13), a refreshing coolness which helps in the time of harvest. To receive good news is always nice, but to hear from a distant land is even better.
Proverbs 25:26 “A righteous man falling down before the wicked [is as] a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring.”
Christians are supposed to stand up for what is right. An attack on a Christian is actually an attack upon their Lord. For a Christian to be degraded by the wicked is like a beautiful spring of water that has been corrupted.
Christians’ words come from a pure heart which is sometimes spoken of as a river which never has an end. This river from within is pure, because it comes from God.
Proverbs 25:27 “[It is] not good to eat much honey: so [for men] to search their own glory [is not] glory.”
A conceited person is not admired by anyone. In 2nd Timothy, we shall read of a person in the end times who does just that.
2 Timothy 3:2 “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,”
This is sin. If you eat too much honey, you will get sick at your stomach. If you brag on yourself, others will get sick at their stomach.
Eating honey here is analogous to enjoying the sweetness of your own self glory.
Proverbs 25:28 “He that [hath] no rule over his own spirit [is like] a city [that is] broken down, [and] without walls.”
A city without a wall is in peril. It has no protection. A man’s spirit is what he is. If he loses control of the spirit, he has lost control of himself. The spirit of a man must control the flesh, or else, the man will go the way of the flesh.
Such are exposed and vulnerable to the incursion of evil thoughts and successful temptations which leads them to hell.
Proverbs Chapter 25 Questions
- Whose men copied out some of Solomon’s proverbs?
- It is the glory of God to ________ a thing.
- It is the honor of the kings to _______ _______ a matter.
- What does the Lord reveal to us?
- How long has God’s secret been kept?
- Why does the king reveal what he knows?
- What three things are unsearchable?
- When the dross is removed from the silver, what does it make the silver?
- How are the impurities removed from the silver?
- Take away the wicked from before the king, and he shall be established in _________
- When you are in the king’s presence, where is it better for you to stand until called?
- Quick anger causes what?
- What is the end of quick anger?
- Who are you to discuss your neighbor’s problems with?
- A word fitly spoken is like ________ of gold in pictures of_____.
- What is verse 11 really trying to say?
- What is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear compared to?
- What is a faithful messenger compared to in verse 13?
- When someone promises a gift and doesn’t deliver it, what is it compared to?
- A soft tongue breaketh the ______.
- If you eat too much honey, what will happen?
- What does it mean by a neighbor being weary of you?
- A man who bears false witness is compared to what three instruments?
- Confidence in an unfaithful man is compared to what 2 hurtful things?
- When a person sings songs to someone with a heavy heart, what is it compared to?
- What are we to do if our enemy is hungry?
- What will God do to your enemies when you are good to them?
- What drives away a biting tongue?
- What is good news from a far country compared to?
- A righteous man falling down before the wicked is compared to what?
- What is a man called who glories himself?
- Which should rule us, our spirit or our flesh?