Starting with Chapter 25, these proverbs were written by Solomon, but were found about 250 years later by King Hezekiah’s sages. Overall, Scripture tells us that Solomon authored 3,000 proverbs (1 Kings 4:32) as well as over a thousand songs.
These proverbs speak less of God than the previous proverbs, and are mostly similes (sayings that use “like” or “as” for comparison).
Some may argue that these proverbs don’t belong in the Bible, as they were found so much later. But yet, New Testament writers (Luke, Peter, Paul) all quote from these proverbs, giving authenticity to their inclusion in the Bible.
Here are today’s selections:
“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter;
to search out a matter is the glory of kings.”
(Proverbs 25:2 NIV)
Solomon reminds us that God knows all, and our tiny understanding of ourselves and of the world we live in is insignificant in His sight. Earthly kings like to solve issues by investigation. They also have the resources available to support research of new ideas and concepts (and get the credit for the discovery). But the Lord knew the answer long before the king began his quest to find an answer to the question.
“Like apples of gold in settings of silver
Is a word spoken in right circumstances.”
(Proverbs 25:11 NASB)
Solomon reminds us of the beauty and artistry of a well constructed thought that was skillfully delivered at just the right time. This could be a tribute to another as a speech, or a truth shared with a small group, or even a word of empathy or encouragement with a friend. All are fitting, and have lasting value. Solomon compares these well-spoken words to the beauty of golden apples in a silver bowl.
The keys to speaking in such a manner are understanding the situation, knowing the person being spoken to, and considering the timing of the circumstances. Jesus and Paul were masters at this. Peter, before Jesus’ crucifixion, was the opposite of this, but through humility and transformation after Christ’s resurrection, also learned this skill.
“If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the Lord will reward you.”
(Proverbs 25:21-22 NIV)
Solomon knows that if we treat our enemies with respect, and help them in their time of need, their conscience will weigh heavily on their hearts and minds about their unkindness to us. Our natural reaction is to respond like for like, unkind word for unkind word, evil deed for evil deed. But yet, Solomon says there is a better way, not taking the path of violence, but of peace and kindness to win someone over.
Paul gives credence to this proverb, as he quotes it in Romans 12:20. This proverb is easier said than done, but Solomon tells us that it comes with a reward from God when we practice it.
“Like cold water to a weary soul
is good news from a distant land.”
(Proverbs 25:25 NIV)
How good it is to hear from a long-time family member or friend! Truly our hearts are revived when we hear from them. Have you ever noticed that a long time may have gone by, but yet, you are able to pick up the conversation like it was just yesterday? That’s the beauty of friendships, just as God intended.
I also think back to the story of Jacob hearing that his son Joseph is still alive, after giving him up for dead so long ago. Scripture says that Jacob’s spirit was revived (Genesis 45:27). Imagine the energy and urgency Jacob must have had to go see his long-lost son, and the joy of seeing him face-to-face again.
May we be refreshed with time spent with our Lord, hearing His good news through His Word. And may we encourage and bless one another through all our interactions and prayers for one another.