|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
25:1-3 God needs not search into any thing; nothing can be hid from him. But it is the honour of rulers to search out matters, to bring to light hidden works of darkness. 4,5. For a prince to suppress vice, and reform his people, is the best way to support his government. 6,7. Religion teaches us humility and self-denial. He who has seen the glory of the Lord in Christ Jesus, will feel his own unworthiness. 8-10. To be hasty in beginning strife, will bring into difficulties. War must at length end, and might better be prevented. It is so in private quarrels; do all thou canst to settle the matter. 11,12. A word of counsel, or reproof, rightly spoken, is especially beautiful, as fine fruit becomes still more beautiful in silver baskets. 13. See what ought to be the aim of him that is trusted with any business; to be faithful. A faithful minister, Christ's messenger, should be thus acceptable to us. 14. He who pretends to have received or given that which he never had, is like the morning cloud, that disappoints those who look for rain. 15. Be patient to bear a present hurt. Be mild to speak without passion; for persuasive language is the most effectual to prevail over the hardened mind. 16. God has given us leave to use grateful things, but we are cautioned against excess.
Verse 11. - One of the emblematical distiches in which this collection is rich. A word fitly spoken. עַל־אָפְנָיו may be translated "in due season," or "upon its wheels" (Venetian, ἐπὶ τῶν τροχῶν αὐτῆς). In the latter case the phrase may mean a word quickly formed, or moving easily, spoken ore rotundo, or a speedy answer. But the metaphor is unusual and inappropriate; and it is best to understand a word spoken under due consideration of time and place. Vulgate, Qui loquitur verbum in tempore suo; Aquila and Theodotion, ἐπὶ ἁρμόζουσιν αὐτῷ, "in circumstances that suit it;" the Septuagint has simply οὕτως. Is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. In these emblematical distichs the words, "is like," in the Authorized Version, are an insertion. The Hebrew places the two ideas merely in sequence; the object with which some, thing is compared usually coming before, that which is compared with it, as here, "Apples of gold - a word fitly spoken" (so in vers. 14, 18, 19, 26, 28). There is a doubt about the meaning of the word rendered "pictures," maskith (see on Proverbs 18:11). It seems to be used generally in the sense of "image," "sculpture," being derived from the verb שָׁכָה, "to see;" from this it comes to signify "ornament," and here most appropriately is "basket," and, as some understand, of filagree work. St. Jerome mistakes the word, rendering, in lectis argenteis. The Septuagint has, ἐν ὁρμίσκῳ σαρδίου, "on a necklace of sardius." "Apples of gold" are apples or other fruits of a golden colour, not made of gold, which would be very costly and heavy; nor would the comparison with artificial fruits be as suitable as that with natural. The "word" is the fruit set off by its circumstances, as the latter's beauty is enhanced by the grace of the vessel which contains it. The "apple" has been supposed to be the orange (called in late Latin pomum aurantium) or the citron. We may cite here the opinion of a competent traveller: "For my own part," says Canon Tristram ('Land of Israel,' p. 605), "I have no hesitation in expressing my conviction that the apricot alone is the 'apple' of Scripture Everywhere the apricot is common; perhaps it is, with the single exception of the fig, the most abundant fruit of the country. In highlands and lowlands alike, by the shores of the Mediterranean and on the banks of the Jordan, in the nooks of Judea, under the heights of Lebanon, in the recesses of Galilee, and in the glades of Gilead, the apricot flourishes, and yields a crop of prodiscus abundance. Its characteristics meet every condition of the 'tappuach' of Scripture. 'I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste' (Song of Solomon 2:3). Near Damascus, and on the banks of the Barada, we have pitched our tents under its shade, and spread our carpets secure from the rays of the sun. 'The smell of thy nose (shall be) like tappuach' (Song of Solomon 7:8). There can scarcely be a more deliciously perfumed fruit than the apricot; and what fruit can better fit the epithet of Solomon, 'apples of gold in pictures of silver,' than this golden fruit, as its branches bend under the weight in their setting of bright yet pale foliage?" Imagery similar to that found in this verse occurs in Proverbs 10:31; Proverbs 12:14; Proverbs 13:2; Proverbs 18:20. There is a famous article on the analogies between flowers and men's characters in the Spectator, No. 455.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
A word fitly spoken,.... Or, "a word spoken on its wheels" (d): that proceeds aright, keeps due order, is well circumstanced as to matter, method, time, place, and persons; a discourse well put together, properly pronounced, roundly, easily, and fluently delivered to proper persons, and adapted to their circumstances; and "seasonably" spoken, as the Targum and many versions render it:
is like apples of gold in pictures of silver; either like apples made of gold, and so valuable and precious; or as apples, called golden from their colour, as golden pippins, and golden rennets; or oranges, which are sometimes called golden apples: either of these in silver cases and enclosures, as Aben Ezra and Gersom interpret the word, or in a silver cup, as the Syriac version, or in silver lattices, as Maimonides, through which they may be seen, look very pleasant and delightful. The words may design, as some think, silver baskets of network (e); into which golden apples or oranges being put, and placed on a table, look very beautiful; and to such a word fitly spoken is compared. This may be applied to the word of the Gospel, as spoken by Christ, the great Prophet of the church; who has the tongue of the learned, to speak a word in season to weary souls, Isaiah 50:4; and by his ministers, who publish the Gospel, that faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation: this being the word of salvation, is fitly spoken to all sensible sinners, and must be exceeding agreeable to them; since it is of salvation from all sin, and for the chief of sinners, and entirely of free grace; includes all blessings in it, and is for ever; and since it is a proclamation of pardon of all sorts of sins and sinners, and of all their sins, and according to the riches of grace; and is also the word of reconciliation, and publishes peace to rebels, who could not make their own peace with God; and yet this is done by the blood of Christ, as the Gospel declares: and, seeing it is likewise the word of righteousness, which reveals the righteousness of Christ as justifying, when a man's own righteousness will not acquit him; and invites weary souls to Christ for rest, and therefore must be grateful to all such persons, and be esteemed as valuable as balls or apples of gold; and as pleasant and delightful to see and hear of as those set in silver baskets of network; and be as refreshing and comfortable, and as grateful to the taste, as real apples of the best kind; see Sol 2:2. It may also be applied to the promises of grace, seasonably spoken, and suitably applied by the Spirit of God; who takes the promises which are in Christ, and shows and opens them to souls in distress, at the most proper and seasonable time; and which are exceeding great and precious, yield abundance of pleasure and delight, and are very comfortable. Yea, this may be applied to the words of good men, in private conversation, either by way of counsel, or comfort, or admonition; and to every word that is with grace, and ministers grace to the hearer, and is for the use of edifying, when time, place, persons, and circumstances, are observed. Maimonides (f) thinks the external sense of the word is meant by the silver, and the internal sense by the gold; which latter is seen through, and is much better than the former.
(d) "super rotis suis", Montanus, Piscator, so Kimchi and Ben Melech; "super rotationibus suis". Schultens. (e) "in thecis transparentibus", Montanus; "cancellis", Baynus; "cancellaturis, sive retiaculis", Glassius; "in speciosis calicibus", Cocceius. (f) Praefat. Moreh Nevochim.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
11. a word fitly—literally, "quickly," as wheels roll, just in time. The comparison as apples … silver gives a like sense.
apples, &c.—either real apples of golden color, in a silver network basket, or imitations on silver embroidery.
Proverbs 25:11 Parallel Commentaries
Proverbs 25:11 NIV
Proverbs 25:11 NLT
Proverbs 25:11 ESV
Proverbs 25:11 NASB
Proverbs 25:11 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible