Proverbs 25 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Proverbs 25)

Verse 1

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

These — Which are contained in this and the following chapters.

The men — Certain persons appointed by Hezekiah for that work. Many of them are political precepts, and such as in a special manner concerned Hezekiah, and other princes, for the conduct of their house and kingdom.

Copied — Out of the historical records which were then extant.

Verse 2

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

The glory — It is agreeable to the nature of God; it is a testimony of his infinite wisdom, and of his absolute power and sovereignty.

To conceal — To keep his counsels, and the reasons of his actions in his own breast.

Search out — To communicate their counsels to others, that so they may search and find out the right way.

Verse 3

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

The heart — Though wise kings will search out other men, yet their inward thoughts and purposes are hardly discoverable.

Verse 4

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

Take away — Then, and not 'till then it is fit for that use.

Verse 6

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

Stand not — Do not affect frequent and familiar society with greater persons than thyself.

Verse 9

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

Debate — If thou hast any quarrel with him, first try to compose it by private discourse with him.

Discover not — Let not heat of contention provoke thee to divulge any of his secrets committed to thy trust.

Verse 10

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

Lest he — Reproach thee for thy gross violation of the laws of prudence, justice and friendship.

Verse 11

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

Of silver — Which it seems was usual in those times, and was grateful to the eye for the beauty and variety both of the colours and figures, the golden apples appearing through net-work of silver.

Verse 13

[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.

Cold of snow — As drink cooled with ice or snow, as is usual in hot countries.

Verse 14

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

Boasteth — Promising what he never intends to give.

Is like — Like empty clouds carried about with wind, and not affording that rain which they promise.

Verse 15

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

Forbearing — By patient submission and expectation.

Breaketh — Softens the hardest heart.

Verse 16

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

Honey — By honey he understands, not only all delicious meats, but all worldly delights, which we are here taught to use with moderation.

Verse 17

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

Withdraw — Visit him not too frequently.

Verse 18

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

A sword — Is as cruel and pernicious as any instrument of death.

Verse 20

[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.

As vinegar — Which dissolves the nitre, and makes it useless and ineffectual.

Verse 21

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

Bread — By bread and water he understands all things necessary for his subsistence.

Verse 22

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

For — In so doing, which words are expressed Romans 12:20, where this text is quoted. Thou shalt melt him into repentance, and love.

Verse 25

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

So — Because it comes more rarely and difficultly, after it hath been long expected.

Verse 26

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

Falling — When righteous men are oppressed by the wicked, the state of that common-wealth is as deplorable, as if the publick fountains were corrupted.

Verse 27

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

Not good — For health.

To search — Industriously to seek for applause.

Is not — Is not only sinful, but shameful also.