Proverbs 25:13
As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refreshes the soul of his masters.
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(13) As the cold of snow in the time of harvest.—Not a snowstorm, as this would be a calamity (Proverbs 26:1), but snow employed to cool drinks in the summer heats. The use of this was probably familiar to Solomon in his summer palace at Lebanon (1Kings 9:19). The peasants of Lebanon are said now to store up snow in the clefts of the mountain, and convey it in summer to Damascus and the coast towns. For the opposite picture of the unfaithful messenger comp. Proverbs 10:26.

Proverbs 25:13. As the cold of snow, &c. — Solomon does not here intend a fall of snow in the time of harvest, which must have been incommoding instead of being pleasurable and refreshing, as the proverb supposes what he speaks of to be; but liquors cooled with snow or ice, which they usually were in summer or harvest in the East, and which rendered them extremely grateful; so is a faithful messenger — One that faithfully and diligently executes his commission, to the satisfaction of the persons that sent him; for he refreshes the soul of his masters — With a true account and speedy despatch of those important affairs which were committed to him.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.A picture of the growing luxury of the Solomonic period. The "snow in harvest" is not a shower of snow or hail, which would be terrifying and harmful rather than refreshing (compare 1 Samuel 12:17-18); but, rather, the snow of Lebanon or Hermon put into wine or other drink to make it more refreshing in the scorching heat of May or June at the king's summer palace on Lebanon (1 Kings 9:19, note; Sol 7:4, note). More reviving even than the iced wine cup was the faithful messenger. Contrast Proverbs 10:26. 13. Snow from mountains was used to cool drinks; so refreshing is a faithful messenger (Pr 13:17). As the cold of snow; either,

1. As drink cooled with ice or snow, as was and is usual in hot countries. Or,

2. As a cool air, such as is in snowy seasons. Or,

3. As drink which is as cold as snow.

He refresheth the soul of his masters, with a true account and speedy despatch of those important affairs which were committed to him. As the cold of snow in the time of harvest,.... As water as cold as snow; or as a breeze of air, such as in a time of snow; and so Jarchi,

"as the cold of the days of snow, which a man desires in summer, and not snow simply, for snow itself is not good in the time of harvest;''

see Proverbs 24:1. Or rather "as a shield" or "covering of snow" (h), as the word signifies: perhaps, as Gussetius (i) thanks, a vessel in such a form, in which snow was kept in summer, is meant; and the same word, the two first radical letters being doubled, is used for the pot, or urn, in which the manna was kept, Exodus 16:33. As snow, that in those hot countries used to be kept in vessels, in places underground, to cool their drink with in summertime; just as ice is kept with us, in like places, for the same purpose; and then the sense is, as drink cooled with snow is very agreeable, and exceeding refreshing to those that labour in the field in the time of harvest;

so is a faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refresheth the soul of his masters: such an one that is sent with a message, and faithfully executes it, while he is gone, the mind of his master is very thoughtful about the it sue and success of it; but when he returns and gives him an account of it, and especially when he succeeds to his wish; it "restores" and settles his mind, as the word (k) signifies; and gives him a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction, and renders the messenger dear and valuable to him. Christ is the messenger, one of a thousand, sent by his divine Father on a message of grace and salvation, in which he has succeeded being faithful to him that appointed him; and so exceeding acceptable to him, his servant, his elect, in whom his soul delighteth! Gospel ministers are messengers, and faithful ones, whose feet are beautiful, and their words acceptable to souls to whom they are sent, and are a sweet savour to him that sent them; and who will commend them as good and faithful servants, and appoint them rulers over many cities, and introduce them into his joy.

(h) "sicut scutum ex nive", some in Gejerus, so Aben Ezra; "sicat tectio nivis", Michaelis. (i) Comment. Ebr. p. 718. (k) "restituit", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "faciet reqiuiescere", Pagninus, Baynus.

As the cold of snow {i} in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refresheth the soul of his masters.

(i) In the time of great heat, when men desire cold.

13. the cold of snow] Rosenmuller, quoted and approved by Maurer, explains this, not of snow falling in harvest, which would be rather an emblem of disaster (Proverbs 26:1), but of snow mixed with wine or other beverage to cool it. He refers to Xenophon (Mem. ii. 1. 30), and Pliny (H. N. 19. 4) in proof that this method of cooling was practised by the ancients. It is possible that such luxury may have been enjoyed by Solomon in his summer palace of Lebanon; but the cold of snow may simply be instanced as the greatest conceivable refreshment in the sultry harvest-field.

In Proverbs 10:26 we have a companion proverb by way of contrast.Verse 13. - A comparative tristich concerning words. As the cold of snow in the time of harvest. This, of course, does not mean a snowstorm or hailstorm in the time of harvest, which would be anything but a blessing (Proverbs 26:1; 1 Samuel 12:17, 18), but either the distant view of the snow on Hermon or Lebanon, which gave an idea of refreshment in the heat of autumn, or more probably snow used to cool drink in warm weather. This luxury was not unknown in the time of Solomon, who had a summer palace on Lebanon (1 Kings 9:19), though it could have been enjoyed by very few, and would not speak to the personal experience of the burgher class, to whom the proverbs seem to have been addressed. Xenophon writes of the use of snow to cool wine ('Memorab.,' 2:1. 30). Hitzig quotes a passage from the old history of the Crusades, called 'Gesta Dei per Francos,' which runs thus: "Nix frigidissima a monte Libano defertur, ut vino commixta, tanquam glaciem ipsum frigidum reddat." So in the present day snow is sold in Damascus bazaars. The LXX., not realizing what harm such an untimely storm might effect, translates, "As a fall (ἔξοδος) of snow in harvest is of use against heat, so a faithful messenger benefits those who sent him." So is a faithful messenger to them that send him. (For "faithful messenger," see on Proverbs 13:17; and for "them that send," see on Proverbs 22:21.) The comparison is explained. For he refresheth the soul of his masters. He brings as great refreshment to his masters' mind as would a drink of snow-cooled water in the burning harvest field. There now follows a second proverb with מלך, as the one just explained was a second with מלכים: a warning against arrogance before kings and nobles.

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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