1. The character of these proverbs sustains the title
also--refers to the former part of the book.
copied out--literally, "transferred," that is, from some other book to this; not given from memory.
2. God's unsearchableness impresses us with awe (compare Isa 45:15; Ro 11:33). But kings, being finite, should confer with wise counsellors;
3. Ye wisely keeping state secrets, which to common men are as inaccessible heights and depths.
4, 5. As separating impurities from ore leaves pure silver, so taking from a king wicked counsellors leaves a wise and beneficent government.
5. before--or, "in presence of," as courtiers stood about a king.
6, 7. Do not intrude into the presence of the king, for the elevation of the humble is honorable, but the humbling of the proud disgraceful (Lu 14:8-10).
lest . . . shame--lest you do what you ought not, when shamed by defeat, or "lest thou art shut out from doing any thing."
9, 10. (Compare
secret--that is, of your opponent, for his disadvantage, and so you be disgraced, not having discussed your difficulties with him.
11. a word fitly--literally, "quickly," as wheels roll, just in time.
The comparison as apples . . . silver gives a like sense.
apples, &c.--either real apples of golden color, in a silver network basket, or imitations on silver embroidery.
12. Those who desire to know and do rightly, most highly esteem good counsel (Pr 9:9; 15:31). The listening ear is better than one hung with gold.
13. Snow from mountains was used to cool drinks; so refreshing is a faithful messenger (Pr 13:17).
14. clouds--literally, "vapors"
clouds only in appearance.
a false gift--promised, but not given.
15. Gentleness and kindness overcome the most powerful and obstinate.
long forbearing--or, "slowness to anger" (Pr 14:29; 15:18).
16, 17. A comparison, as a surfeit of honey produces physical disgust, so your company, however agreeable in moderation, may, if excessive, lead your friend to hate you.
18. A false witness is as destructive to reputation, as such
weapons to the body
beareth . . . witness--literally, "answereth questions," as before a judge, against his neighbor.
19. Treachery annoys as well as deceives.
20. Not only is the incongruity of songs (that is, joyful) and sadness meant, but an accession of sadness, by want of sympathy, is implied.
21, 22. (Compare Mt 5:44; Ro 12:20). As metals are melted by heaping coals upon them, so is the heart softened by kindness.
23. Better, "As the north wind bringeth forth (Ps 90:2) or produces rain, so does a concealed or slandering tongue produce anger."
24. (Compare Pr 21:9, 19).
good news--that is, of some loved interest or absent friend, the more grateful as coming from afar.
26. From troubled fountains and corrupt springs no healthy water is to be had, so when the righteous are oppressed by the wicked, their power for good is lessened or destroyed.
28. Such are exposed to the incursions of evil thoughts and successful temptations.