Proverbs 25:4
Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.
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(4) And there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.—Or, So there results a vessel to the refiner, or silversmith. He is able to make one.

Proverbs 25:4-5. Take away the dross from the silver, &c. — When the dross is separated from the silver, and not before, it becomes so pliable, that the finer may cast or work it into what form he pleases; thus, take away the wicked from before the king — Remove from his court and counsels those who, by their wicked advices and practices, provoke God’s displeasure against him, blast his reputation, and alienate the hearts of his subjects from him, and his throne shall be established in righteousness — By such impartial execution of justice, his kingdom will be settled in peace, and his government become as durable as it will be beneficial.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.The other side of the thought of Proverbs 25:2. What the mind of God is to the searchers after knowledge, that the heart of the true and wise king is to those who try to guess its counsels. 4, 5. As separating impurities from ore leaves pure silver, so taking from a king wicked counsellors leaves a wise and beneficent government. Then, and not till then, it is fit for that use. Take away the dross from the silver,.... By putting it into the furnace, and purging it from it:

and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer; not out of the furnace, a vessel formed and shaped, but pure silver shall come out of it for the refiner; of which a vessel may be made, very honourable, beautiful, and fit for use: the application of it is in Proverbs 25:5.

Take away the {f} dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the refiner.

(f) When vice is removed from a king, he is a meet vessel for the Lord's use.

4. a vessel for the finer] Such pure metal as the refiner, who has with that very object taken away the dross, can make into a goodly vessel or vase. Egredietur vas purissimum, Vulg.Verses 4, 5. - A tetrastich in an emblematical form. Verse 4. - Take away the dross from the silver. Silver was most extensively used by the Hebrews (see 'Dictionary of the Bible,' sub voc.), whether obtained from native mines or imported from foreign countries, and the process of separating the ore from the extraneous matters mixed with it was well known (Psalm 12:6; Ezekiel 22:20, etc.; see on Proverbs 17:3). And there shall come forth a vessel for the finer (tsaraph); the goldsmith. The pure silver is ready for the artist s work, who from this material can make a beautiful vessel. Septuagint, "Beat untested silver, and all shall be made entirely pure," where the allusion is to the process of reducing minerals by lamination. A Mashal ode of the slothful, in the form of a record of experiences, concludes this second supplement (vid., vol. i. p. 17):

30 The field of a slothful man I came past,

     And the vineyard of a man devoid of understanding.

31 And, lo! it was wholly filled up with thorns;

     Its face was covered with nettles;

     And its wall of stones was broken down.

32 But I looked and directed my attention to it;

     I saw it, and took instruction from it:

33 "A little sleep, a little slumber,

     A little folding of the hands to rest.

34 Then cometh thy poverty apace,

     And thy want as an armed man."

The line 29b with לאישׁ is followed by one with אישׁ. The form of the narrative in which this warning against drowsy slothfulness is clothed, is like Psalm 37:35. The distinguishing of different classes of men by אישׁ and אדם (cf. Proverbs 24:20) is common in proverbial poetry. עברתּי, at the close of the first parallel member, retains its Pathach unchanged. The description: and, lo! (הנּהו, with Pazer, after Thorath Emeth, p. 34, Anm. 2) it was... refers to the vineyard, for נדר אבניו (its stone wall, like Isaiah 2:20, "its idols of silver") is, like Numbers 22:24; Isaiah 5:5, the fencing in of the vineyard. עלה כלּו, totus excreverat (in carduos), refers to this as subject, cf. in Ausonius: apex vitibus assurgit; the Heb. construction is as Isaiah 5:6; Isaiah 34:13; Gesen. 133, 1, Anm. 2. The sing. קמּשׁון of קמּשׁונים does not occur; perhaps it means properly the weed which one tears up to cast it aside, for (Arab.) kumâsh is matter dug out of the ground.

(Note: This is particularly the name of what lies round about on the ground in the Bedouin tents, and which one takes up from thence (from ḳamesh, cogn. קבץ קמץ, ramasser, cf. the journal המגיד, 1871, p. 287b); in modern Arab., linen and matter of all kinds; vid., Bocthor, under linge and toffe.)


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