Proverbs 25:15
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
With patience a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue will break a bone.

King James Bible
By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.

American Standard Version
By long forbearing is a ruler persuaded, And a soft tongue breaketh the bone.

Douay-Rheims Bible
By patience a prince shall be appeased, and a soft tongue shall break hardness.

English Revised Version
By long forbearing is a ruler persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.

Webster's Bible Translation
By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.

Proverbs 25:15 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

8 Go not forth hastily to strife,

   That it may not be said, "What wilt thou do in the end thereof,

   When now thy neighbour bringeth disgrace upon thee?"

9 Art thou striving with thy neighbour? strive with him,

   But disclose not the secret of another;

10 That he who heareth it may not despise thee,

   And thine evil name depart no more.

Whether ריב in לריב is infin., as at Judges 21:22, or subst., as at 2 Chronicles 19:8, is not decided: ad litigandum and ad litem harmonize. As little may it be said whether in אל־תּצא [go not forth], a going out to the gate (court of justice), or to the place where he is to be met who is to be called to account, is to be thought of; in no respect is the sense metaphorical: let not thyself transgress the bounds of moderation, ne te laisse pas emporter; יצא לרב is correlate to בּוא לרוב, Judges 21:22. The use of פּן in 8b is unprecedented. Euchel and Lwenstein regard it as an imper.: reflect upon it (test it); but פּנה does not signify this, and the interjectional הס does not show the possibility of an imper. Kal פּן, and certainly not פּן (פּן). The conj. פּן is the connecting form of an original subst. ( equals panj), which signifies a turning away. It is mostly connected with the future, according to which Nolde, Oetinger, Ewald, and Bertheau explain מה indefinite, something, viz., unbecoming. In itself, it may, perhaps, be possible that פן מה was used in the sense of ne quid (Venet. μήποτέ τι); but "to do something," for "to commit something bad," is improbable; also in that case we would expect the words to be thus: פן תעשׂה מה. Thus מה will be an interrogative, as at 1 Samuel 20:10 (vid., Keil), and the expression is brachyogical: that thou comest not into the situation not to know what thou oughtest to do (Rashi: פן תבא לידי לא תדע הם לעשׂות), or much rather anakoluth.; for instead of saying פּן־לא תדע מה־לּעשׂות, the poet, shunning this unusual פן לא, adopts at once the interrogative form: that it may not be said at the end thereof (viz., of the strife); what wilt thou do? (Umbreit, Stier, Elster, Hitzig, and Zckler). This extreme perplexity would occur if thy neighbour (with whom thou disputest so eagerly and unjustly) put thee to shame, so that thou standest confounded (כלם, properly to hurt, French blesser). If now the summons 9a follows this warning against going out for the purpose of strife: fight out thy conflict with thy neighbour, then ריבך, set forth with emphasis, denotes not such a strife as one is surprised into, but that into which one is drawn, and the tuam in causam tuam is accented in so far as 9b localizes the strife to the personal relation of the two, and warns against the drawing in of an אחר, i.e., in this case, of a third person: and expose not the secret of another אל־תּגל (after Michlol 130a, and Ben-Bileam, who places the word under the 'פ'פתחין בס, is vocalized with Pathach on ג, as is Cod. 1294, and elsewhere in correct texts). One ought not to bring forward in a dispute, as material of proof and means of acquittal, secrets entrusted to him by another, or secrets which one knows regarding the position and conduct of another; for such faithlessness and gossiping affix a stigma on him who avails himself of them, in the public estimation, Proverbs 25:10; that he who hears it may not blame thee (חסּד equals Aram. חסּד, vid., under Proverbs 14:34), and the evil report concerning thee continue without recall. Fleischer: ne infamia tua non recedat i.e., nunquam desinat per ora hominum propagari, with the remark, "in דבּה, which properly means in stealthy creeping on of the rumour, and in שׁוּב lies a (Arab.) tarshyḥ," i.e., the two ideas stand in an interchangeable relation with a play upon the words: the evil rumour, once put in circulation, will not again retrace its steps; but, on the contrary, as Virgil says:

Mobilitate viget viresque acquirit eundo.

In fact, every other can sooner rehabilitate himself in the public estimation that he who is regarded as a prattler, who can keep no secret, or as one so devoid of character that he makes public what he ought to keep silent, if he can make any use of it in his own interest. In regard to such an one, the words are continually applicable, hic niger est, hunc tu, Romane, caveto, Proverbs 20:19. The lxx has, instead of ודבתך 10b, read ומריבתך, and translated it with the addition of a long appendix: "They quarrel, and hostilities will not cease, but will be to thee like death. Kindness and friendship deliver, let these preserve thee, that thou mayest not become one meriting reproaches (Jerome: ne exprobrabilis fias), but guard thy ways, εὐσυναλλάκτως."

Proverbs 25:15 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

long

Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

Proverbs 16:14 The wrath of a king is as messengers of death: but a wise man will pacify it.

Genesis 32:4 And he commanded them, saying, Thus shall you speak to my lord Esau; Your servant Jacob said thus, I have sojourned with Laban...

1 Samuel 25:14,24 But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal's wife, saying, Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to salute our master...

Ecclesiastes 10:4 If the spirit of the ruler rise up against you, leave not your place; for yielding pacifies great offenses.

the bone
rather a bone that is soft and conciliating language will often accomplish the most difficult things

Cross References
Genesis 32:4
instructing them, "Thus you shall say to my lord Esau: Thus says your servant Jacob, 'I have sojourned with Laban and stayed until now.

1 Samuel 25:24
She fell at his feet and said, "On me alone, my lord, be the guilt. Please let your servant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your servant.

Proverbs 15:1
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Ecclesiastes 10:4
If the anger of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your place, for calmness will lay great offenses to rest.

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