|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 3. - This proverb is connected with the preceding by the idea of "searching" (chakar) common to both. Such emblematic proverbs are common in this second collection (see Ver. 11). Three subjects are stated, of which is predicated the term unsearchable, viz. The heaven for height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings. As you can never rise to the illimitable height of the heavens, as you can never penetrate to the immeasurable depth of the earth, so you can never fathom the heart of a king, can never find out what he really thinks and intends (comp. Job 11:8). It may be that tacitly a warning is intended against flattering one's sell that one knows and can reckon on the favour of a king; his good disposition towards you may be only seeming, or may any moment become changed. The Septuagint has for "unsearchable" (חֵקֶר אֵין) ἀνεξέλεγκτος, "unquestionable." The commentators refer to a passage in Tacitus ('Ann.' 6:8), where M. Terentius defends himself for being a friend of Sejanus by the fact of the impossibility of investigating a great man's real sentiments. "To us," he says to Tiberius, "it appertains not to judge whom you exalt above all others and for what reason you do so. Facts which are obvious we all notice. We see who is the man upon whom you heap wealth and honours, who it is that has the chief power of dispensing rewards and punishments; that these were possessed by Sejanus no one can deny. But to pry into the hidden thoughts of a prince, and the designs which he meditates in secret, is unlawful and hazardous; nor would the attempt succeed."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The heaven for height, and the earth for depth,.... These are eminent for what are ascribed to them; nothing is higher than the heavens, nor anything deeper than the earth; the height of the heavens cannot be reached, and the centre of the earth cannot easily be got unto; the heavens above cannot be measured, and the foundation of the earth cannot be searched beneath; at least not by common persons, whatever may be done in their way by astronomers and geometricians. And thus, as the heavens and the earth are immeasurable, Jeremiah 31:37; so
the heart of kings is unsearchable; especially such an one as Solomon was, who had largeness of heart as the sand on the seashore: and this must be understood of such who have the art of governing; for some are so weak in their conduct, and so much expose themselves, that it is easy to see what is in their hearts, and what are the springs of their actions. Wise princes lay their schemes deep, and conceal their designs, and keep their reasons of state secret, so that it is not an easy thing to penetrate into their councils and views: for this does not so much respect the multitude of business they have upon their hearts and hands, as Jarchi and others understand it, as the privacy and secrecy in which they are managed, and the reasons of which are kept from common persons, Who therefore are not proper judges of them; and who yet will often take upon them to censure and condemn, when they are ignorant of the true cause of such conduct.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. Ye wisely keeping state secrets, which to common men are as inaccessible heights and depths.
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