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1 These are also proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied out.
2 It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.
3 The heaven for height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings is unsearchable.
4 Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.
5 Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness.
6 Put not forth [exalt] thyself in the presence of the king [Melech], and stand not in the place [makom] of great men [gedolim]:
7 For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince [noble] whom thine eyes [eynayim] have seen.
It is better to be humble...as the Lord also taught (Luke 14: 7-11)
But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room
8 Go not forth hastily to strive [bring a lawsuit], lest thou know not what to do in the end [acharit] thereof, when thy neighbour [re'a] hath put thee to shame.
9 Debate [Plead] thy cause with thy neighbour [re'a] himself; and discover not a secret [betray not a sod (confidence)] to another:
The Lord prescribes the same remedy
"Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother". (Matt 18: 15)
10 Lest he that heareth it put thee to shame, and thine infamy turn not away.
11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.
12 As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.
13 As the cold of snow [sheleg] in the time of harvest [yom katzir (day of harvest)], so is a faithful messenger [tzir ne'eman] to them that send him: for he refresheth the soul of his masters [nefesh of his adonim].
A snow shower in summer time would bring refreshing relief from the hot Syrian sun, as a faithful messenger would bring refreshing tidings to gladden the heart.
14 Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain.
In dry and hot countries the appearance of the cloud brings the welcome expectation of refreshing and much needed rain. How bitterly disappointing when the cloud passes over but does not deliver its promised blessing.
We think of the Latter rain which refreshes the Kingdom in Israel when its sons and daughter shall prophecy.
And so the psalmist sought spiritual blessings - his adoration foreshadowing the plant of renown who loved his heavenly father and with all his heart, soul and mind.
O Elohim, thou art my El;
early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee,
my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; (63:1)
In Jude (12) counterfeit brethren are described as clouds without water. They appear in the ecclesial heavens having come to prominence.
[Bro Roberts engaged the help of brethren who boasted false gifts and subsequently divided the ecclesias].
They have all the appearance but none of the substance. Hence the disappointment when rather than delivering spiritual refreshment for the sustenance of the tender plant community, they bring only a dark shadow and vexation of spirit in the form of contentions, winds of false doctrine, and shameful behaviour.
15 By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.
16 Hast thou found honey [devash]? Eat [only] so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it [out].
Something has been found! In our opinion honey in this verse is representing the gratification that results from searching the scripture and gaining knowledge.
Wisdom is sweet to the wise, so is compared in the proverbs with the delightful flavour of honey. But our weak and feeble constitution is limited in capacity. The guidance is to avoid over-indulgence. Consistent, and regular feeding upon the spirit word is better than an occasional marathon study session, just as regular, smaller meals are more suited to digestion of the natural food.
17 Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour's house; lest he be weary of thee, and so hate thee.
18 A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow.
19 Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.
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.
20 As he that taketh away a beged (garment) on a cold day, and as chometz (vinegar) upon lye, so is he that singeth shirim (songs) to a lev rah (heavy heart, i.e., depressed person).
Not nitre. Lye - a strongly alkaline caustic used in manufacturing soap and paper and aluminum and various sodium compounds i.e. caustic soda See note Jer 2: 22
21 If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink:
22 For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and Yahweh shall reward thee.
Hot conscience - melt his manner.
23 The north wind driveth away rain: so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.
24 It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.
25 As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.
26 A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring.
27 It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory.
A different emphasis from verse 16 but continuing the theme of over-indulgence.
Bro Roberts in 'The Law of Moses' notes the exclusion of honey from the meal offering.
Honey was also forbidden in the meat offerings (Lev. 2:11). What can this mean? Honey is sweet to human taste, and stands even in the ordinary intercourse of men for all that is of self-gratifying character.
That it should be banished from the altar along with leaven stands in striking contrast to the appointment of bitter herbs as an ingredient in the passover sacrifice. It is probably the obverse of the same idea. Self-denial is an indispensable part of divine submission, so self-gratification is a prohibited element. But this has to be applied with qualifications. It is the extreme application of the principle that has led to the sterile asceticisms of ecclesiastical practice.
There are enjoyments permitted. How could it be otherwise? You cannot breathe or walk in the sunshine, or eat or drink or sleep without enjoyment if you are in health.
"The tender mercy of the Lord is over all his works."
He designs nothing but pure joy at last.
But there are enjoyments forbidden: there are mortifications enjoined. Here is where the exclusion of the honey comes in. The law of the Lord is the regulator on all points. For want of this discrimination, many an honest soul is in a state of slavish fear and restraint which is wholly without cause. I have known such in fear to enjoy their meals, in forgetfulness of the fact that the bounties of the table are" created", as Paul says,
"to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth",
Pleasure-seeking, in the gratification of "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life", appears to be the antitypical honey which is out of place on the altar of the Lord. These may be summarized in the phrase "self-complacency"--which is odious even in human intercourse, and, therefore, much more out of place in the service of God.
It is this phase of self-contemplation and self-enjoyment that appears to be identified with the figurative use of honey in the Proverbs: "It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory" (25:27). This would suggest that the thing condemned in the typical prohibition of honey from the meat offering was self-glory. It is certain that for a man to come in this spirit to God will ensure repulse.
The one thing required by His glorious majesty and called for in true reason, is the mental attitude more than once defined by Him in the words:
"Poor and of a contrite spirit, and that trembleth at my word"
Law of Moses Ch 24
28 He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.