Proverbs 25 begins the third major section of the book. This major section is referred to as “Wisdom for Leaders” These proverbs are very helpful for those who are leaders or those who aspire to become leaders. The introduction, 25:1, indicates that the following proverbs were compiled and edited by the scribes of Hezekiah, under his direction.
Hezekiah’s story is told in 2 Kings 18 — 20; 2 Chronicles 29 — 32; and Isaiah 36 — 39. He was one of the few kings of Judah who honored the Lord. By contrast, his father Ahaz actually nailed the temple door shut. Hezekiah restored the temple, destroyed idol worship centers, and earned the respect of surrounding nations, many of whom brought gifts to God because of him. It is not surprising that Hezekiah had these proverbs copied and read, for “in everything that he undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered” (2 Chronicles 31:21).
For Leaders (24:2–7).
The proverbs of vv. 2–7 all deal with the subject of royalty. They may have been placed at the beginning of this collection by Hezekiah as a gesture of respect for the two great patrons of Proverbs, Solomon and Hezekiah. The tone reveals a high respect to godly royalty.
25:2 This proverb comes from a time when academic study and governmental power were closely connected. But, still people do honor those who uncover scientific or theological truth. I have heard many leaders say, “Leaders are learners.” If you are a leader, never stop learning.
25:3 Verse 3 shows very high praise of the king’s wisdom. We can still learn a lesson from this today: to be intelligent and informed is how a leader must appear. Predictability and lack of imagination are fatal for a leader because they will not be taken seriously for long.
25:4–5 As the silversmith must remove impurities from silver in order to create a thing of beauty, so the king must remove evil from his kingdom and especially his court if the kingdom is to be secure. Leaders today must not allow evil people to influence them, their decision or others under their care.
25:6–7 Jesus made this proverb into a parable (see Luke 14:7-11). We should not seek honor for ourselves. It is better to quietly and faithfully accomplish the work God has given us to do. As others notice the quality of our lives, then they will draw attention to us.
Settle Disputes without Going to Court (25:8–10).
Jesus gave a similar teaching in Luke 12:57–59.
Great Counsel is Like Gold (25:11–12).
Great advice, helpful information, counseling, coaching, seminars, books and training; all these things may be costly like gold, but are worth the investment.
Reliable and Unreliable People (25:13–14)
Verse 13 : It is often difficult to find people you can really trust. A faithful employee (“messenger”) is punctual, responsible, honest, and hardworking. This person is invaluable as he or she helps take some of the pressure off his or her employer. Find out what your employer needs from you to make his or her job easier, and do it.
Verse 14: Churches, mission organizations, and Christian groups depend on the gifts of people to keep their ministries going. But many who promise to give fail to follow through. The Bible is very clear about the effect this has on those involved in the ministry. If you make a pledge, keep your promise.
The Power of Patience (25:15)
This proverb describes the importance of patience in dealing with an authority. “Breaking the bones” refers to breaking down the deepest, most hardened resistance to an idea a person may possess with patient and gentle words.
Too Much of a Good Thing (25:16–17)
Moderation is good thing. Eating too much honey causes sickness and dropping in on your neighbors too many times will cause them to dislike you.
Beware of These People (25:18–20)
The liar, slanderer or gossip is a dangerous weapon, to rely on unreliable people on a day of trouble is excruciatingly painful, and trying to force happiness on a depressed person makes matters worse. *Verse 18 – Lying and gossip is vicious. Its effects can be as permanent as those of a stab wound. The next time you are tempted to pass on a bit of gossip, imagine yourself stabbing the victim of your remarks with a knife. This image may shock you into silence.
How to Treat Your Enemy (25:21–22)
These proverbs state the paradoxical truth that you can get back at your enemy with kindness. Don’t seek vengeance use kindness. Paul quoted this proverb in his discussion of “love” in Rom 12:9–21. Jesus’ instruction on loving enemies (Matt 5:43–47) is similar. Remember that the concept of love for an enemy is God’s way, it didn’t just show up in the New Testament. It started in the Old Testament; but was also demonstrated and taught by Jesus.
Just as the north wind is cold, biting and wet, so is the gossip.
A Quarrelsome Wife (25:24)
This proverb is almost a verbatim repetition of 21:9. Since this proverb has been repeated in different ways already it is an important point to us all. If it’s repeated, God wants us to get it. Being quarrelsome is a horrible thing. If this is you, pray for strength to change.
Good and Bad Water (25:25–26)
Both proverbs use water to make a point. Good news is refreshing as a good drink of water. For a thirsty traveler expecting relief, but coming to a polluted well would be very disappointing. The same disappointment occurs when good people let the wicked have their way. To “give way to the wicked” means setting aside your standards of right and wrong. No one is helped by someone who compromises with the wicked.
Don’t Seek Your Own Honor (25:27)
Constantly dwelling on the honors you think deserve is harmful. It can make you bitter, discouraged, or angry, and it will not bring you the rewards that you think should be yours. Obsessing for what you should have received is like eating too much honey; it is sickening.
Lack of Self-Control Makes you Vulnerable (25:28)
An out-of-control life is open to all sorts of enemy attack. Think of self-control as a wall for defense and protection. Even though city walls restricted the inhabitants’ movements, people were happy to have them. Without walls, they would have been vulnerable to attack by any passing group of marauders. Self-control limits us, to be sure, but it is necessary.
Until tomorrow, Darrell
J Vernon McGee’s Through the Bible
Life Application Bible Notes
New American Commentary