Proverbs 16:24
Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(24) Pleasant words.—Comp. Proverbs 15:26.

Health to the bones.—Comp. 1Samuel 14:27.

16:12. The ruler that uses his power aright, will find that to be his best security. 13. Put those in power who know how to speak to the purpose. 14,15. Those are fools, who, to obtain the favour of an earthly prince, throw themselves out of God's favour. 16. There is joy and satisfaction of spirit, only in getting wisdom. 17. A sincerely religious man keeps at a distance from every appearance of evil. Happy is the man that walks in Christ, and is led by the Spirit of Christ. 18. When men defy God's judgments, and think themselves far from them, it is a sign they are at the door. Let us not fear the pride of others, but fear pride in ourselves. 19. Humility, though it exposes to contempt in the world, is much better than high-spiritedness, which makes God an enemy. He that understands God's word shall find good. 21. The man whose wisdom dwells in his heart, will be found more truly prudent than many who possess shining talents. 22. As waters to a thirsty land, so is a wise man to his friends and neighbours. 23. The wise man's self-knowledge, always suggests something proper to be spoken to others. 24. The word of God cures the diseases that weaken our souls. 25. This is caution to all, to take heed of deceiving themselves as to their souls. 26. We must labour for the meat which endureth to everlasting life, or we must perish.Honey took its place not only among the luxuries, but among the medicines of the Israelites. This two-fold use made it all the more suitable to be an emblem both of the true Wisdom which is also true obedience, and of the "pleasant words" in which that Wisdom speaks. 24. (Compare Pr 15:26). Gentle, kind words, by soothing the mind, give the body health. Pleasant words; the discourses of the wise last mentioned, Proverbs 16:23, which yield both profit and delight; their wholesome counsels and refreshing comforts.

To the bones; to the body, synecdochically expressed by the bones, the strongest and greatest parts of it, and the supporters of the rest. Pleasant words are as an honeycomb,.... Jarchi interprets it of the words of the law; but it may be much better understood of the doctrines of the Gospel; such as the doctrines of God's everlasting love, eternal election, the covenant of grace, the person of Christ as God-man; of peace and reconciliation by his blood; of remission of sins through his atoning sacrifice; of justification by his righteousness; of life and salvation by his obedience, sufferings, and death; all the doctrines of grace, which show that salvation in all its parts is owing entirely to the free grace of God; these are all pleasant to the ear of him that knows the joyful sound, and to the taste of everyone that has tasted that the Lord is gracious. The precious promises of the Gospel may be meant; which are free and unconditional, irrevocable, and immutable, never fail of accomplishment; are yea and amen in Christ, and are suited to the various cases of God's people; these are very pleasant and delightful, when they are fitly spoken, and seasonably applied. Moreover, the speech of such as are wise in heart, true believers in Christ; their words, whether expressed in prayer or in praise, are pleasant to the Lord, and very grateful and acceptable to him: so their speech one to another, when about spiritual things; when it is with grace, then it ministers grace, and is very pleasant. Now all these, and especially the doctrines of the Gospel, are as "an honeycomb"; they are like unto it for the manner of its production; it is wrought and filled by the laborious bee, which goes from flower to flower, and gathers honey, and brings it into the hive, and there disposes of it: so laborious ministers of the Gospel gather their doctrines from the sacred Scriptures, which they diligently search, and go from one to another, and gather something from each; and, being richly laden with the fulness of the blessing Of the Gospel of Christ, bring it into the hive of the church, and there feed men with knowledge and understanding: and the doctrines of the Gospel are like unto the honeycomb for the manner of its communication, by dropping freely, gradually, and constantly; so Gospel ministers drop the pleasant words of the Gospel freely, and without pressing, having no other constraint but love to Christ and the souls of men; they do it gradually, as men are able to bear; and constantly preach the word, in season and out of season: and as the honey which drops from the honeycomb is the choicest honey, called "life honey"; such are the truths of the Gospel, they are excellent things, the most excellent. Likewise these are as the honeycomb for the honey in it; they are like the honey out of the rock the Israelites ate of; and like that out of the lion Samson fed upon; and like that which Jonathan tasted, that enlightened his eyes. The Gospel flows from Christ, the Rock; and is to be found in him, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and as slain, and has an enlightening virtue in it; and particularly these pleasant words are said to be as the honeycomb for its sweetness and healthfulness, as follows:

sweet to the soul, and health to the bones; they are "sweet" to the "soul" of him that understands them, and that has a spiritual taste of them; not to a natural and unregenerate man, whose natural taste remains in him, and is not changed; who calls evil good, and good evil; puts bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter; to him the doctrines of the Gospel are insipid, tasteless, and disagreeable things: nor are they sweet to a carnal professor; who, though he may express some value for them, has no spiritual gust and relish of them; but to them that believe, to whom Christ is precious, who have tasted that he is gracious; to these they are sweet, even sweeter than the honey or the honeycomb, Psalm 19:10. And they are "health to the bones"; they are the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus; they are the means of curing the diseases of the mind; of healing wounded spirits, and broken hearts, and broken bones; they make the bones which were broken to rejoice; what heals the bones strengthens the whole man, a man's strength lying much in his bones; these strengthen the inward man, cause believers to go from strength to strength, and to hold on and persevere to the end.

Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
24. health] i.e. healthy or wholesome. There is no necessary reference to any medicinal properties in honey. Comp. Proverbs 4:22, Proverbs 12:18, Proverbs 13:17; and Jonathan’s experience, when he was exhausted with pursuing the enemy: “See, I pray you, how mine eyes have been enlightened, because I tasted a little of this honey,” 1 Samuel 14:29.Verse 24. - Pleasant words are as an honeycomb. "Pleasant words" are words of comforting, soothing tendency, as in ch. 15:26; Psalm 19:10. The writer continues his praise of apt speech. The comparison with honey is common in all languages and at all times. Thus Homer sings of Nestor ('Iliad,' 1:248, etc.) -

"The smooth-tongued chief, from whose persuasive lips
Sweeter than honey flowed the stream of speech."

(Derby.)
So the story goes that on the lips of St. Ambrose, while still a boy, a swarm of bees settled, portending his future persuasive eloquence. Sweet to the soul, and health to the bones (Proverbs 15:30). The verse forms one sentence. The happy results of pleasant words are felt in body and soul. Honey in Palestine is a staple article of food, and is also used as a medicinal remedy. Of its reviving effects we read in the case of Jonathan, who from a little portion hurriedly taken as he marched on had "his eyes enlightened" (1 Samuel 14:27). Septuagint, "Their sweetness is the healing of the soul."

Ἰατρὸς ὁ λόγος τοῦ κατά ψυχὴν πάθους.

"Speech the physician of the soul's annoy." 18 Pride goeth before destruction,

     And haughtiness cometh before a fall.

The contrast is לפני כבוד ענוה, Proverbs 15:33, according to which the "haughtiness comes before a fall" in Proverbs 18:22 is expanded into the antithetic distich. שׁבר means the fracture of the limbs, destruction of the person. A Latin proverb says, "Magna cadunt, inflata crepant, tumefacta premuntur."

(Note: An expression of similar meaning is אחרי דרגא תביר equals after Darga (to rise up) comes tebı̂r (breaking equals destruction); cf. Zunz, in Geiger's Zeitschrift, vi. 315ff.)

Here being dashed in pieces and overthrown correspond. שׁבר means neither bursting (Hitzig) nor shipwreck (Ewald). כשּׁלון (like בּטּחון, זכּרון, etc.), from כּשׁל or נכשׁל, to totter, and hence, as a consequence, to come to ruin, is a ἅπαχ λεγ. This proverb, which stands in the very centre of the Book of Proverbs, is followed by another in praise of humility.

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