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Bible Commentaries

Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Proverbs 25

Section IV., Proverbs 25-29.— The title of this section adds to the tradition of a Solomonic collection of proverbs the further tradition of literary activity in the time of Hezekiah. The same general considerations hold good of this section as of Proverbs 10-24. (See Introduction.) It also shows signs of compilation, and falls into two divisions: ( a) Proverbs 25:2 to Proverbs 27:22, and ( b) Proverbs 28 f., separated by a discourse in Proverbs 27:23-27.

Verses 1-28

First Division.— In general character this division shows a resemblance to the Sayings of the Wise, containing a number of quatrains and synthetic couplets, and but few antithetic couplets.

Proverbs 25:2-7 b. A series of three quatrains relating to kings.

Proverbs 25:4 b. Very obscure. Refining silver does not produce a vessel, and the parallelism with Proverbs 25:5 b is unsatisfactory. LXX “ it will be wholly purified” probably represents the original text.

Proverbs 25:6 f. cf. Luke 14:8-11.

Proverbs 25:7 c destroys the quatrain form and is obviously weak where it stands. The majority of the VSS attach it to Proverbs 25:8 a.

Proverbs 25:7 c – Proverbs 25:10. A couple of quatrains on hasty speech. Proverbs 25:7 c and Proverbs 25:8 a form the first half of a quatrain. Render “ What thine eyes have seen, bring not forth hastily to the multitude.” Proverbs 25:8 b cannot, as RV and RVm show, be rendered without supplying more than the Heb. allows. Read “ For what will thou do in the end thereof?”

Proverbs 25:11 f. Apparently a quatrain on wise speech, but both text and translation are extremely doubtful (see Toy and Lagarde, and BDB under the separate words). The most probable restoration is “ Like graven work of gold and carved work of silver is a word fitly spoken. Like an earring of gold and an ornament of silver is a wise reproof to an ear that hears.”— fitly (lit. “ on its wheels” ) is an inference from Proverbs 15:23.

Proverbs 25:13-20 . Synthetic couplets on various subjects.

Proverbs 25:13 . The reference is not to a fall of snow in harvest, which would be disastrous rather than refreshing ( cf. 1 Samuel 12:17), but to the cold draught of water from a snowfed mountain stream.

Proverbs 25:13 c: probably an explanatory gloss.

Proverbs 25:14 . his gifts falsely: lit. “ a gift of falsehood” ( mg.)— i.e. a gift which is not given. A man who boasts of his intention to give but never gives is like clouds without rain, the bitterest disappointment of the agriculturist.

Proverbs 25:19 . Confidence in an unfaithful man: in Heb. “ the hope ( i.e. ground or object of hope) of a treacherous man.” RV gives the wrong turn to the verse: it is the ground of hope upon which the false man relies in trouble that fails him. “ False” or “ treacherous” may have a religious significance here, the man who is false to Yahweh.

Proverbs 25:20 . Very corrupt. Proverbs 25:20 a yields no satisfactory sense, and is also clearly a doublet of Proverbs 25:19 b. Originally Proverbs 25:20 was probably a couplet of which Proverbs 25:20 b was the first clause. Proverbs 25:20 b is also obscure; “ nitre,” or more correctly “ natron,” is common soda ( cf. Jeremiah 2:22). Vinegar would destroy its value for washing purposes. But the parallelism of this idea with Proverbs 25:20 c is difficult to detect. The LXX has either a double form of this couplet, or represents an original Heb. quatrain on the subject. It reads “ vinegar is bad for a sore,” which gives a nearer approach to parallelism.

Proverbs 25:21 f. A quatrain on kindness to enemies ( cf. Romans 12:20).

Proverbs 25:23-28 . Synthetic couplets on various subjects.

Proverbs 25:24 . Repetition of Proverbs 21:9.

Proverbs 25:26 . The couplet may refer to the moral ruin of a righteous man, or to his loss of prosperity through the plots of the wicked. The Heb. favours the latter interpretation.

Proverbs 25:27 . Lit. “ To eat much honey is not good, the searchings out of their glory is glory.” This makes no sense. Probably Proverbs 25:27 a and Proverbs 25:27 b belong to different aphorisms, or Proverbs 25:27 b may be a corrupt gloss on Proverbs 25:2 b. The only plausible emendation of Proverbs 25:27 b is “ the investigation of difficult things is glory.” This gives good sense, but not a good parallelism.

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Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Proverbs 25". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". 1919.