These also are proverbs of Solomon which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied.
It is the glory of God to conceal things,
but the glory of kings is to search things out.
As the heavens for height, and the earth for depth,
so the heart of kings is unsearchable.
Take away the dross from the silver,
and the smith has material for a vessel;
take away the wicked from the presence of the king,
and his throne will be established in righteousness.
Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence
or stand in the place of the great,
for it is better to be told, “Come up here,”
than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.
What your eyes have seen
do not hastily bring into court,
for what will you do in the end,
when your neighbour puts you to shame?
Argue your case with your neighbour himself,
and do not reveal another’s secret,
lest he who hears you bring shame upon you,
and your ill repute have no end.
A word fitly spoken
is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.
Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold
is a wise reprover to a listening ear.
Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest
is a faithful messenger to those who send him;
he refreshes the soul of his masters.
Like clouds and wind without rain
is a man who boasts of a gift he does not give.
Comment: From the first sentence of this passage it is obvious that the book of Proverbs as we read it wasn’t put together at least until about 700BC, when Hezekiah was alive, whereas Solomon died in 931 BC. I don’t know where these gems were stored and how well known they were before this ‘copying’, but they still have good wisdom for our era.
- Kings are considered very important. Certainly God has hidden much in His Creation but it is up to others to find the secrets of his work. We consider it the work of scientists today rather than of kings. They don’t always get it right and they show us the mechanisms and not the Worker who did it.
- Poetically said here, but we can understand that a king will not get far if the dross of wickedness isn’t driven from his court so that his rule can be silver and not rubbish.
- Humility never goes astray, whereas self-importance is deceptive.
- Gossip and bearing false witness may lead to your downfall.
- Well-chosen words and faithful messengers are as refreshing as snow in the hottest weather.
Prayer: Let Your Word be a light on the way I walk, please.