More Proverbs of Solomon
25 These are more proverbs of Solomon, copied by the men of Hezekiah king of Judah:
2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter;
to search out a matter is the glory of kings.
3 As the heavens are high and the earth is deep,
so the hearts of kings are unsearchable.
4 Remove the dross from the silver,
and out comes material for the silversmith;
5 remove the wicked from the king’s presence,
and his throne will be established through righteousness.
6 Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence,
and do not claim a place among great men;
7 it is better for him to say to you, “Come up here,”
than for him to humiliate you before a nobleman.
What you have seen with your eyes
8 do not bring hastily to court,
for what will you do in the end
if your neighbor puts you to shame?
9 If you argue your case with a neighbor,
do not betray another man’s confidence,
10 or he who hears it may shame you
and you will never lose your bad reputation.
11 A word aptly spoken
is like apples of gold in settings of silver.
12 Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold
is a wise man’s rebuke to a listening ear.
That is easy advice to give but tough to take. Yet if I get wise criticism from others I am hurting myself to ignore it. I find that it is easier to take “criticism” when reading it in books or the Bible, as it is less personal then. I don’t get as defensive because I don’t have another human there to see my immediate reactions.
13 Like the coolness of snow at harvest time
is a trustworthy messenger to those who send him;
he refreshes the spirit of his masters.
14 Like clouds and wind without rain
is a man who boasts of gifts he does not give.
15 Through patience a ruler can be persuaded,
and a gentle tongue can break a bone.
16 If you find honey, eat just enough—
too much of it, and you will vomit.
17 Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house—
too much of you, and he will hate you.
18 Like a club or a sword or a sharp arrow
is the man who gives false testimony against his neighbor.
19 Like a bad tooth or a lame foot
is reliance on the unfaithful in times of trouble.
God puts a high priority on honesty in regular life and in court. Having a trusted friend is of great value.
20 Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day,
or like vinegar poured on soda,
is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.
21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
22 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the Lord will reward you.
This advice runs counter to what the world will tell you. Christianity (and at this time, Judaism) turns the world upside down, which is really to say it puts it back the way God intended it.
23 As a north wind brings rain,
so a sly tongue brings angry looks.
24 Better to live on a corner of the roof
than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.
People usually chuckle at that verse but consider its truth. You could marry an extremely attractive person, but how wise is that if they treat you poorly or are unfaithful?
25 Like cold water to a weary soul
is good news from a distant land.
26 Like a muddied spring or a polluted well
is a righteous man who gives way to the wicked.
27 It is not good to eat too much honey,
nor is it honorable to seek one’s own honor.
28 Like a city whose walls are broken down
is a man who lacks self-control.
Self control is a key success factor in life. You’ll do and say far fewer stupid things which cause pain for yourself and others. And seeking glory for ourselves usually turns out badly.
The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.