Proverbs 25:16
Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.
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(16) Hast thou found honey?—A common occurrence in Palestine, where swarms of wild bees abounded in the woods. (Comp. Judges 14:8; 1Samuel 14:27.) Hence came the expression of a “land flowing with (milk and) honey.”

Proverbs 25:16. Hast thou found honey? — Which, in those parts, was often found in woods or fields. By honey, he understands not only all delicious meats, but all present and worldly delights, which we are here taught to use with moderation: for as honey, moderately taken, strengthens the body and prolongs life, but, if taken to excess, disturbs the stomach, and turns the pleasure into pain; so it is with earthly satisfactions and pursuits. Moderately used they are refreshing and useful; immoderately, they produce disgust, or are accompanied with guilt and followed by trouble.

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.Hast thou found honey? - Compare Judges 14:8; 1 Samuel 14:27. The precept extends to the pleasure of which honey is the symbol. 16, 17. A comparison, as a surfeit of honey produces physical disgust, so your company, however agreeable in moderation, may, if excessive, lead your friend to hate you. Honey in those parts was oft found in woods or fields, as Judges 14:8, &c.; 1 Samuel 14:25. By honey he understands, not only all delicious meats, but all present and worldly delights, which we are here taught to use with moderation. Honey excessively taken disposeth a man to vomiting.

Hast thou found honey?.... Of which there was great plenty in Judea; and was to be found in fields and woods, 1 Samuel 14:25;

eat so much as is sufficient for thee; to satisfy appetite, without overcharging the stomach; what may be conducive to health, and no more;

lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it; that is, overfilled; filled to a loathing of it, so as to cause a casting of it up this is not merely to be understood in a literal sense; something more is intended, as in Proverbs 24:13; and according to the sense there, that which Maimonides (l) gives of this seems agreeable; that it respects the getting of wisdom and knowledge, which, like honey, is sweet and desirable, and excellent, and nourishing, moderately used: but then persons should take care to keep within due bounds, and not seek to be too wise; or to exercise themselves in things too high for them, and aim at that which is above their capacity; but should content themselves with what is within their reach and compass: and so Gersom understands it. Some think that moderation in the use of worldly things and lawful pleasures is here recommended: and others that the words refer to what follow; that when a man has got a pleasant and delightful friend, he should not visit him too often; lest, too much familiarity bringing contempt, he should lose his friend: so Jarchi connects the words,

(l) Moreh. Nevochim, par. 1. c. 32, p. 41.

Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is {n} sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled with it, and vomit it.

(n) Use moderately the pleasures of this world.

Verse 16. - Hast thou found honey? Honey would be found in crevices of rocks, in hollow trees (1 Samuel 14:27), or in more unlikely situations (Judges 14:8), and was extensively used as an article of food. All travellers in Palestine note the great abundance of bees therein, and how well it answers to its description as "a land flowing with milk and honey." Eat so much as is sufficient for thee. The agreeable sweetness of honey might lead the finder to eat too much of it. Against such excess the moralist warns: Lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it. Thus wrote Pindar, 'Nem.,' 7:51 -

Ἀλλὰ γὰρ ἀνάπαυσις ἐν παντὶ γλυκεῖα ἔργῳκόρον δ ἔχει
Καὶ μέλι καὶ τὰ τέρπν ἄνθε Ἀφροδισια. Μηδὲν ἄγαν, Ne quid nimis, is a maxim continually urged by those who wished to teach moderation. Says Homer, 'Iliad,' 13:636 -

"Men are with all things sated - sleep, and love,
Sweet sounds of music, and the joyous dance."

(Lord Derby.) Says Horace, 'Sat.,' 1:1, 106 -

"Est modus in rebus, sunt certi denique fines,
Quos ultra citraque nequit consistere rectum?"
The honey is a figure of all that pleases the senses; but the maxim is to be extended beyond physical matters, though referring primarily to such pleasures. The mind may be overloaded as well as the body: only such instruction as can be digested and assimilated is serviceable to the spiritual nature; injudicious cramming produces satiety and disgust. Again, "To 'find honey,'" says St. Gregory ('Moral.,' 16:8), "is to taste the sweetness of holy intelligence, which is eaten enough of then when our perception, according to the measure of our faculty, is held tight under control. For he is 'filled with honey, and vomits it' who, in seeking to dive deeper than he has capacity for, loses that too from whence he might have derived nourishment." And in another place (ibid., 20:18), "The sweetness of spiritual meaning he who seeks to eat beyond what he contains, even what he had eaten he 'vomiteth;' because, whilst he seeks to make out things above, beyond his powers, even the things that he had made out aright, he forfeits" (Oxford transl.). Proverbs 25:16Another way of showing self-control:

Hast thou found honey? eat thy enough,

Lest thou be surfeited with it, and vomit it up.

Honey is pleasant, salutary, and thus to be eaten sparingly, Proverbs 24:13, but ne quid nimis. Too much is unwholesome, 27a: αὐτοῦ καὶ μέλιτος τὸ πλέον ἐστὶ χολή, i.e., even honey enjoyed immoderately is as bitter as gall; or, as Freidank says: des honges seze erdruizet s mans ze viel geniuzet [the sweetness of honey offends when one partakes too much of it]. Eat if thou hast found any in the forest or the mountains, דּיּךּ, thy enough (lxx τὸ ἱκανόν; the Venet. τὸ ἀρκοῦν σοι), i.e., as much as appeases thine appetite, that thou mayest not become surfeited and vomit it out (והקאתו with Tsere, and א quiesc., as at 2 Samuel 14:10; vid., Michlol 116a, and Parchon under קוא). Fleischer, Ewald, Hitzig, and others, place Proverbs 25:16 and Proverbs 25:17 together, so as to form an emblematic tetrastich; but he who is surfeited is certainly, in Proverbs 25:16, he who willingly enjoys, and in 17, he to whom it is given to enjoy without his will; and is not, then, Proverbs 25:16 a sentence complete in itself in meaning? That it is not to be understood in a purely dietetic sense (although thus interpreted it is a rule not to be despised), is self-evident. As one can suffer injury from the noblest of food if he overload his stomach therewith, so in the sphere of science, instruction, edification, there is an injurious overloading of the mind; we ought to measure what we receive by our spiritual want, the right distribution of enjoyment and labour, and the degree of our ability to change it in succum et sanguinem, - else it at last awakens in us dislike, and becomes an evil to us.

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