|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 15. - By long forbearing; i.e. by patience, calmness that does not break out into passion whatever be the provocation, even, it is implied, in the face of a false and malicious accusation (comp. Proverbs 14:29). Is a prince persuaded. Katson is rather "an arbiter," or judge, than "a prince," and the proverb says that such an officer is led to take a favourable view of an accused person's case when he sees him calm and composed, ready to explain the matter without any undue heat or irritation, keeping steadily to the point, and not seduced by calumny or misrepresentation to forget himself and lose his temper. Such a bearing presupposes innocence and weighs favourably with the judge. The LXX. makes the gnome apply to monarchs alone, "In long suffering is prosperity unto kings." A soft tongue breaketh the bone. A soft answer (Proverbs 15:1), gentle, conciliating words, overcome opposition, and disarm the most determined enemy, and make tender in him that which was hardest and most uncompromising. "Gutta cavat lapidem, non vi, sed saepe cadendo." Similar proverbs are found elsewhere, though probably in a different sense. Thus in modern Greek, "The tongue has no bones, yet it breaks bones;" in Turkish, "The tongue has no bone, yet it crushes;" again, "One drop of honey," says the Turk, "catches more bees than a ton of vinegar."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
By long forbearing is a prince persuaded,.... To come into measures, and do that which his council and ministry advise him to, and to which he may seem at first very averse; but by a mild and gentle representation of things, by an humble submission of them to him, and by frequent remonstrances and patient waiting, his mind is softened, bent, and inclined to take their advice, and pursue the measures suggested to him; which, had they been pressed with heat, haughtiness, and haste, would have been rejected;
and a soft tongue breaketh the bone; or "hardness", as the Vulgate Latin version renders it; soft words, or words delivered in soft language, remove hardness and roughness from the minds of men; and work upon, influence, and bend men, whose wills are obstinate and stubborn, and make them pliable and tractable: so David, with a soft tongue, wrought upon Saul, his enemy; and Abigail, by her soft language, turned the mind of David, who was bent upon the destruction of Nabal, 1 Samuel 24:16; see Proverbs 15:1. Jarchi interprets this soft tongue of prayer and supplication, by which severe things against sinners are removed from them; and so he understands the former clause of the forbearance of God, which gives encouragement to sinners, to persuade him in their favour by repentance and prayer; see Matthew 18:26.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
15. Gentleness and kindness overcome the most powerful and obstinate.
long forbearing—or, "slowness to anger" (Pr 14:29; 15:18).
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