As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover on an obedient ear.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Proverbs 25:12. As an ear-ring of gold, &c. — That is, highly acceptable, and a great ornament, and not an offence and dishonour, as fools think it; is a wise reprover — One who reproves an offender faithfully, and yet prudently, in the fittest manner and season; upon an obedient ear — To the man that hearkens to the reproof, and is instructed and reformed by it.Proverbs 25:11, its occurrence suggests the thought that rings used as ornaments for ears, or nose, or forehead, and other trinkets formed part of the works of art spoken of in the foregoing note, and that the king had something at once pointed and wise to say of each of them. As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold; highly acceptable, and a great ornament, and not an offence and dishonour, as fools esteem it;
so is a wise reprover, that reproves an offender faithfully; yet prudently, in the fittest manner and season.
Upon an obedient ear; to a man that hearkens to it, and is instructed and reformed by it.
so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear; such is the reproof of a wise man, which is seasonably given, in a fit and proper manner; and which appears to proceed from love, and is designed for good, and done in great affection and faithfulness: this, though it may be a little grating to the ear at first, yet, when well considered and received, instead of leaving any infamy or reproach on the person reproved, it is an ornament to him, as well as reflects honour upon the reprover. It may be rendered, "so is he that reproveth a wise man, upon" or "with an obedient ear" (g); a wise man that has an obedient or hearing ear, who is so wise as to altered to reproofs given him, and which he takes kindly, and receives profit and advantage from them; see Proverbs 9:8.As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)12. earring] Or, nose-ring, R.V. marg. See Proverbs 11:22, note.Verse 12. - Another distich concerning the seasonable word, of the same character as the last. As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold. In this, as in many of the proverbs, the comparison is not expressed, but is merely implied by juxtaposition. Nezem, in Proverbs 11:22, was a nose ring, here probably an earring is meant; chali, "ornament," is a trinket or jewel worn suspended on neck or breast. The two, whether worn by one person or more, form a lovely combination, and set off the wearer's grace and beauty. Vulgate, Inauris aurea et margaritum fulgens, "A golden earring and a brilliant pearl." Septuagint, "A golden earring a precious sardius also is set." So is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear. The obedient ear receives the precepts of the wise reprover, and wears them as a valued ornament. In Proverbs 1:9 the instruction of parents is compared to a chaplet on the head and a fair chain on the neck. Septuagint, "A wise word on an obedient ear."
6 Display not thyself before the king,
And approach not to the place of the great.
7 For better than one say to thee, "Come up hither,"
Than that they humble thee before a prince,
Whom thine eyes had seen.
The גּדלים are those, like Proverbs 18:16, who by virtue of their descent and their office occupy a lofty place of honour in the court and in the state. נדיב (vid., under Proverbs 8:16) is the noble in disposition and the nobleman by birth, a general designation which comprehends the king and the princes. The Hithpa. התהדּר is like the reflex forms Proverbs 12:9; Proverbs 13:7, for it signifies to conduct oneself as הדוּר or נהדּר (vid., Proverbs 20:29), to play the part of one highly distinguished. עמד has, 6b, its nearest signification: it denotes, not like נצּב, standing still, but approaching to, e.g., Jeremiah 7:2. The reason given in Proverbs 25:7 harmonizes with the rule of wisdom, Luke 14:10.: better is the saying to thee, i.e., that one say to thee (Ewald, 304b), עלה הנּה (so the Olewejored is to be placed), προσανάβηθι ἀνώτερον (thus in Luke), than that one humble thee לפני נדיב, not: because of a prince (Hitzig), for לפני nowhere means either pro (Proverbs 17:18) or propter, but before a prince, so that thou must yield to him (cf. Proverbs 14:19), before him whom thine eyes had seen, so that thou art not excused if thou takest up the place appropriate to him. Most interpreters are at a loss to explain this relative. Luther: "which thine eyes must see," and Schultens: ut videant oculi tui. Michaelis, syntactically admissible: quem videre gestiverunt oculi tui, viz., to come near to him, according to Bertheau, with the request that he receives some high office. Otherwise Fleischer: before the king by whom thou and thine are seen, so much the more felt is the humiliation when it comes upon one after he has pressed so far forward that he can be perceived by the king. But נדיב is not specially the king, but any distinguished personage whose place he who has pressed forward has taken up, and from which he must now withdraw when the right possessor of it comes and lays claim to his place. אשׁר is never used in poetry without emphasis. Elsewhere it is equivalent to נתנש, quippe quem, here equivalent to רפנש, quem quidem. Thine eyes have seen him in the company, and thou canst say to thyself, this place belongs to him, according to his rank, and not to thee - the humiliation which thou endurest is thus well deserved, because, with eyes to see, thou wert so blind. The lxx, Syr., Symmachus (who reads 8a, לרב, εις πλῆθος), and Jerome, refer the words "whom thine eyes had seen" to the proverb following; but אשר does not appropriately belong to the beginning of a proverb, and on the supposition that the word לרב is generally adopted, except by Symmachus, they are also heterogeneous to the following proverb:
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