Proverbs
1 Transcribed Proverbs of Solomon 2-7 Kings and Those Who Are with Them 8-10 Advices for Arguing Your Case 11-14 Precious Words and Empty Words 15 The Power of Forbearance and of a Soft Tongue 16-17 Advice to Be Moderate 18-20 False Witness, False Confidence, False Comfort 21-22 To Embarrass an Enemy 23-24 A Back-Biting Tongue and a Quarreling Wife 25-26 What Does and What Does Not Quench the Thirst 27 What Determines One’s Own Glory 28 Lack of Self-Control
Transcribed Proverbs of Solomon

1These also are proverbs of Solomon which the men of Hezekiah, king of Judah, transcribed.

Here a new part of the book begins: Proverbs 25-29. It contains additional proverbs of Solomon, which had been collected by the men of king Hezekiah (715-687/686 B.C.). These men lived about 270 years after Solomon’s death. Solomon has written 3,000 proverbs (1Kgs 4:3232He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005.) out of which a number have been recorded in God’s Word in the previous chapters. Now a number of proverbs comes out of the same supply. These proverbs have been transcribed by “the men of Hezekiah” and are also recorded in God’s Word.

So, they are not new proverbs. They have already been there in the time Solomon, the time when the kingdom existed in glory. Hezekiah is one of the last kings of Judah, the kingdom of the two tribes. In his days the kingdom of ten tribes were taken away by the Assyrians. Not long thereafter, the kingdom of the two tribes had been taken away as well, by Nebuchadnezzar. That means that Hezekiah had lived in an end time.

He was a God-fearing king to whom the Word of God regained authority. That is why God revived His people through him. The “proverbs of Solomon which the men of Hezekiah, king of Judah, transcribed” are a proof of it. It shows that to us, who are also living in an end time, it is important to recognize the authority of God’s Word and to apply this ‘ancient’ Word in our lives. We do not profit from ‘new truth’. In an end time it is important that we go back to “what was from the beginning” (1Jn 1:11What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life—), that we ask for “the ancient paths, where the good way is”, so that we walk in them (Jer 6:1616Thus says the LORD,
“Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths,
Where the good way is, and walk in it;
And you will find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk [in it].’
).

The truths that have been entrusted to the church are two thousand years old already, but they are just as topical as in those days. It is not about new truths, but about a renewed experience of old truths. The publication of the writings that have remained unnoticed for a long time, though appearing to be of topical contents, is a good service to the church.


Kings and Those Who Are with Them

2It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,
But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.
3[As] the heavens for height and the earth for depth,
So the heart of kings is unsearchable.
4Take away the dross from the silver,
And there comes out a vessel for the smith;
5Take away the wicked before the king,
And his throne will be established in righteousness.
6Do not claim honor in the presence of the king,
And do not stand in the place of great men;
7For it is better that it be said to you, “Come up here,”
Than for you to be placed lower in the presence of the prince,
Whom your eyes have seen.

The men of Hezekiah begin, under the guidance of God’s Spirit, with a number of proverbs about kings. Above all they start with presenting the exaltation of God above all earthly kings. Verse 22It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,
But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.
emphasizes a contrast between God and kings. It is a beautiful nature of God to “conceal a matter”. If God does not explain His government of the universe and His intentions and actions, it is His honor, His glory, His sovereignty. He does not need to give any account of His intentions or actions.

The most powerful people on earth such as kings, form a great contrast with Him. God does not need to figure anything out. He knows everything, but it is the honor of the kings to discover, expose or figure out things (cf. Deu 29:2929“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.; Rom 11:33-3433Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!34For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor?). Kings have to examine things as much as they possibly can. They also have to make things open and understandable to their subordinates, especially when it is about judicious matters.

Kings are ruling as God’s representatives. They must try to manifest His will in all human matters. Therefore, they should ask God to reveal His will, so that He unfolds the mystery of His will in the particular situation. The subordinates of a king respect him and honor him when he examines a matter diligently and does not make decisions based on superficial knowledge of a matter.

We can apply this to ourselves as believers. We are also kings (Rev 1:66and He has made us [to be] a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him [be] the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.; 5:1010“You have made them [to be] a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”). It is a work of royal dignity, an honor and a challenge, to search what God had hidden in the Scripture. He wants to reveal the mysteries. However, they can only be discovered and understood by spiritually minded believers, which are those who allowed themselves to be led by God’s Spirit, for the Spirit can reveal Himself to those (1Cor 2:10-1210For to us God revealed [them] through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.11For who among men knows the [thoughts] of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the [thoughts] of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.12Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God,).

While a king has to search out, especially judicial matters (verse 2b2It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,
But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.
) to the people, there are many things he keeps secret in his heart (verse 33[As] the heavens for height and the earth for depth,
So the heart of kings is unsearchable.
). He holds a position whereby he doesn’t have to give account for all his activities. The comparison with heaven which is high and the earth which is deep, shows the nature of the king. He has to be wise, inventive and unsearchable and should always be one step ahead of everyone, in order to keep a firm grip on the power.

Man has to acknowledge that “the heavens for height” and “the earth for depth” are unsearchable (cf. Jer 31:3737Thus says the LORD,
“If the heavens above can be measured
And the foundations of the earth searched out below,
Then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel
For all that they have done,” declares the LORD.
). What they contain goes far beyond the comprehension of all searchers. It is how “the heart of kings” is. It is unsearchable for the other. And surely the heart of the believer is unsearchable to the unbeliever (1Cor 2:1515But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one.). Only God fully knows the heart of every man (Jer 17:9-109“The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?
10“I, the LORD, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give to each man according to his ways,
According to the results of his deeds.
).

Verse 44Take away the dross from the silver,
And there comes out a vessel for the smith;
is an illustration to clarify verse 55Take away the wicked before the king,
And his throne will be established in righteousness.
. Verse 44Take away the dross from the silver,
And there comes out a vessel for the smith;
means that the smith can produce a pure silver art work, after removing the dross. This is applied in verse 55Take away the wicked before the king,
And his throne will be established in righteousness.
to the removal of a wicked from the presence of a king, by which his throne is confirmed by righteousness. A king may have great ideals for his government and his behavior may be blameless, but it does not benefit in any way when he is surrounded by unscrupulous courtiers who deceive him. When these people are removed, the government will only consist of righteous counselors and will therefore be confirmed by righteousness.

It is about removing the possibilities that could take away the firmness of the throne. As dross is being separated from silver, bad people should be removed so that the government of a king can be righteous (Pro 17:33The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold,
But the LORD tests hearts.
; 20:88A king who sits on the throne of justice
Disperses all evil with his eyes.
; Mal 3:33He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness.). It is not enough for a ruler to be righteous; his co-workers ought to be upright people too, so that his government is good. King Solomon had to judge several evildoers before he could sit safely and peacefully on his throne (1Kgs 2:23-25,29-34,41-4623Then King Solomon swore by the LORD, saying, “May God do so to me and more also, if Adonijah has not spoken this word against his own life.24Now therefore, as the LORD lives, who has established me and set me on the throne of David my father and who has made me a house as He promised, surely Adonijah shall be put to death today.”25So King Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he fell upon him so that he died.29It was told King Solomon that Joab had fled to the tent of the LORD, and behold, he is beside the altar. Then Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, saying, “Go, fall upon him.”30So Benaiah came to the tent of the LORD and said to him, “Thus the king has said, ‘Come out.’” But he said, “No, for I will die here.” And Benaiah brought the king word again, saying, “Thus spoke Joab, and thus he answered me.”31The king said to him, “Do as he has spoken and fall upon him and bury him, that you may remove from me and from my father’s house the blood which Joab shed without cause.32The LORD will return his blood on his own head, because he fell upon two men more righteous and better than he and killed them with the sword, while my father David did not know [it]: Abner the son of Ner, commander of the army of Israel, and Amasa the son of Jether, commander of the army of Judah.33So shall their blood return on the head of Joab and on the head of his descendants forever; but to David and his descendants and his house and his throne, may there be peace from the LORD forever.”34Then Benaiah the son of Jehoiada went up and fell upon him and put him to death, and he was buried at his own house in the wilderness.41It was told Solomon that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath, and had returned.42So the king sent and called for Shimei and said to him, “Did I not make you swear by the LORD and solemnly warn you, saying, ‘You will know for certain that on the day you depart and go anywhere, you shall surely die’? And you said to me, ‘The word which I have heard is good.’43Why then have you not kept the oath of the LORD, and the command which I have laid on you?”44The king also said to Shimei, “You know all the evil which you acknowledge in your heart, which you did to my father David; therefore the LORD shall return your evil on your own head.45But King Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the LORD forever.”46So the king commanded Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and he went out and fell upon him so that he died. Thus the kingdom was established in the hands of Solomon.).

It can be applied to the heart of man. Who is sitting on the throne? If sin and unrighteousness are there, they should be condemned. Then it is possible to live a life that is subjected to the authority of the Lord Jesus.

The same principle is true with regard to the coming kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. When He returns to the earth in triumph, power and majesty, the wicked people will be eliminated and all transgressors will be extinguished from the land. This judgment will mark the great day of the Lord (2Thes 1:3-123We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is [only] fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows [ever] greater;4therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure.5[This is] a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering.6For after all it is [only] just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you,7and [to give] relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire,8dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.9These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,10when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed—for our testimony to you was believed.11To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power,12so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and [the] Lord Jesus Christ.; 2:1-121Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him,2that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.3Let no one in any way deceive you, for [it will not come] unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,4who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.5Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things?6And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed.7For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains [will do so] until he is taken out of the way.8Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming;9[that is], the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,10and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.11For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false,12in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.; Rev 19:11-2111And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it [is] called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.12His eyes [are] a flame of fire, and on His head [are] many diadems; and He has a name written [on Him] which no one knows except Himself.13[He is] clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.14And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white [and] clean, were following Him on white horses.15From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.16And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”17Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God,18so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.”19And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.20And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone.21And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.).

The verses 6-76Do not claim honor in the presence of the king,
And do not stand in the place of great men;
7For it is better that it be said to you, “Come up here,”
Than for you to be placed lower in the presence of the prince,
Whom your eyes have seen.
go hand in hand. It is wiser to wait for promotion than running the risk of being degraded due to self-promotion. It is an overestimation of one’s own interest. ‘Claiming honor’ (verse 66Do not claim honor in the presence of the king,
And do not stand in the place of great men;
) means ‘behaving arrogantly’. The word “for” with which verse 77For it is better that it be said to you, “Come up here,”
Than for you to be placed lower in the presence of the prince,
Whom your eyes have seen.
begins, indicates that the reason for the warning is mentioned, which was given in the previous verse.

The lesson is simple. Claiming honor for yourself in court, “in the presence of the king”, includes the risk of a public humiliation. But it will be an honor to someone if everyone in court hears about his promotion from the mouth of the king himself. The lesson is also taught in Luke 14 (Lk 14:8-118“When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him,9and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give [your] place to this man,’ and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place.10But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you.11For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”).

It may regard one’s recommendation about himself, putting himself forward as the most suitable candidate for a position in the presence of the king, for example as one of his counsellors (cf. Mt 20:20-2920Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons, bowing down and making a request of Him.21And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She *said to Him, “Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left.”22But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They *said to Him, “We are able.”23He *said to them, “My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My right and on [My] left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.”24And hearing [this], the ten became indignant with the two brothers.25But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and [their] great men exercise authority over them.26It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,27and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave;28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”29As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed Him.). One may find of himself that he should “stand in the place of great men”. This self-overestimation can end up in a public humiliation. “A prince whom your eyes have seen”, may be the one who is entitled to the place which the person involved has taken by his own power.


Advices for Arguing Your Case

8Do not go out hastily to argue [your case];
Otherwise, what will you do in the end,
When your neighbor humiliates you?
9Argue your case with your neighbor,
And do not reveal the secret of another,
10Or he who hears [it] will reproach you,
And the evil report about you will not pass away.

One should not be eager to be a witness, so that he will not be humiliated publicly (verse 88Do not go out hastily to argue [your case];
Otherwise, what will you do in the end,
When your neighbor humiliates you?
). One might have seen or heard something, which could give him a reason to accuse somebody. But consider well that it is a risk to do that. When it becomes apparent that he is wrong, he will be publicly humiliated by the person who has been humiliated by him. It may even cause him to be ruined.

It is a warning to be careful to accuse somebody without enough evidence. It may occur that someone accuses another person to profit from it financially. He reveals some details on something the other person has done. But when it appears that it is not true, or when the evidences are poor, he himself will be ridiculed and have to pay all the legal costs. There have been a lot of these kinds of scandalous court cases.

The best thing that anyone could do when he is involved in a dispute with another person, is to argue this case with the other person behind closed doors (verse 99Argue your case with your neighbor,
And do not reveal the secret of another,
; Mt 18:15b15“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.). This is to prevent public shame. The thought is that when someone is in dispute with his neighbor and makes public what has been entrusted to him in secret, he will be reproached and always have a bad name (verse 1010Or he who hears [it] will reproach you,
And the evil report about you will not pass away.
). Disputes can never be successfully resolved when the resolution is achieved at the expense of one’s integrity or pain. Therefore, never reveal any secrets, in order to keep yourself from blame in a dispute.


Precious Words and Empty Words

11[Like] apples of gold in settings of silver
Is a word spoken in right circumstances.
12[Like] an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold
Is a wise reprover to a listening ear.
13Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest
Is a faithful messenger to those who send him,
For he refreshes the soul of his masters.
14[Like] clouds and wind without rain
Is a man who boasts of his gifts falsely.

Verse 1111[Like] apples of gold in settings of silver
Is a word spoken in right circumstances.
is about the great value and incomparable beauty of “a word” that “is spoken in right circumstances”. The expression which is translated with ‘in right circumstances’ is literally ‘on its wheels’, which means: a word that easily goes on like smooth rolling wheels. It comes at the right time and is precisely applicable to the right person and the circumstances in which he/she finds him/herself. It is about just “a word”, not a long speech (cf. 1Cor 14:1919however, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind so that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue.). Such a word is like “apples of gold”, like healthy fruits which have the value of Divine glory, represented in the gold, while they are being served in the awareness of acquired reconciliation, represented in the silver.

“Apples of gold in settings of silver” are valuable words spoken in a pleasant atmosphere. Above all, that goes for the Word of God, for everything that God has spoken. The Lord Jesus spoke the words to Nicodemus which he precisely needed at that moment (Jn 3:1-111Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews;2this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God [as] a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”3Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”4Nicodemus *said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”5Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.6That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.7Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’8The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”9Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be?”10Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things?11Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony.). In that way the Lord also spoke to the Samaritan woman and to Zacchaeus. But He also spoke the words to the Pharisees and Sadducees that they needed. He did not speak what they preferred to hear, but what was beneficial to them. We can follow His example in this.

In addition to verse 1111[Like] apples of gold in settings of silver
Is a word spoken in right circumstances.
, it is about “a wise reprover” in verse 1212[Like] an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold
Is a wise reprover to a listening ear.
, which is someone who speaks the right word to the right person at the right time. When such a person speaks a word “to a listening ear”, “it is like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold”. A wise reproof that is well-received remains valuable. A listening ear does not only recognize the wisdom of the reprover, but sees the great beauty as that of the ornaments for the ear and the neck.

The ornaments symbolize that a listening ear radiates the glory of God (gold). In that way God is being glorified. A listening ear does not only hear the reproof, but also obeys it. The listener bows down, the neck bows down. There is no stubbornness. If the neck bows itself, it will be decorated with an ornament “of fine gold”. The verse is the ideal combination of a wise father or teacher and a willing son or pupil. The friends of Job have not been wise reprovers. Therefore, Job did not have a listening ear to them.

In verse 1313Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest
Is a faithful messenger to those who send him,
For he refreshes the soul of his masters.
there is a description of the effect of valuable words for the senders of “a faithful messenger”. A faithful messenger is someone who passes on the words of his senders precisely as the words were given to him by his senders for the person to whom he was sent. Such a messenger is like “the cold of snow in the time of harvest” for the sender. Hard work is needed during the harvest. Therefore a refreshment is most welcome. A faithful messenger causes “the soul of his master” to have such a refreshment or encouragement when he has faithfully fulfilled his mission. Faithfulness is always encouraging, is always refreshing.

Christ was the faithful Messenger of God. Paul was such a faithful messenger of God (1Cor 4:1-21Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.2In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.). When we become servants or messengers of Christ (2Cor 5:2020Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.), our faithfulness will be a refreshment for our Master (Mt 25:21,2321His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’23His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’).

The promises of a boaster are hollow and empty (verse 1414[Like] clouds and wind without rain
Is a man who boasts of his gifts falsely.
). The illustration here is that when we see clouds and wind, it causes us to expect rain. When the rain doesn’t come, the clouds and the wind do draw our attention, but they disappoint us in our expectation and they are therefore deceitful. That’s the comparison the wise uses of the braggart that brags about the gifts that he gives. But the promise is deceitful; he does not give anything, for he doesn’t have anything. His mouth is bigger than his hand.

The lesson is not to expect anything from men who promise something with woolly language. We also see these false promises in certain circles who boast that they can do things like provide healing from sickness, or deliverance from depression, or success in business. Jude applies it in his letter to false teachers in the church when he speaks about “clouds without water, carried along by winds” (Jude 1:11-1311Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.12These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted;13wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.). It is also applicable to ourselves when we promise to do something for somebody and we do not do it. We raise expectations by our promise, but it is like clouds without water.


The Power of Forbearance and of a Soft Tongue

15By forbearance a ruler may be persuaded,
And a soft tongue breaks the bone.

By forbearance and tender words, we can overcome an insurmountable opponent (cf. Lk 18:1-81Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart,2saying, “In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man.3There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me legal protection from my opponent.’4For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect man,5yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.’”6And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge *said;7now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them?8I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”). A request submitted with perseverance and soft words to a ruler, will surely be granted. The point is, not to use physical nor verbal violence, but to operate in the power of the Spirit: “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit” (Zec 4:66Then he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts.; cf. 2Tim 2:24-2524The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged,25with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,).

That a soft tongue can break the bone, means that by speaking softly we can break down tough opposition. The verse is a recommendation of reconciling and convincing advocacy which finally will triumph over the most determined resistance. “A gentle word takes away wrath” (Pro 15:11A gentle answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.
). This is an important advice for conversations between husband and wife and parents and children and for all other relationships we have.


Advice to Be Moderate

16Have you found honey? Eat [only] what you need,
That you not have it in excess and vomit it.
17Let your foot rarely be in your neighbor’s house,
Or he will become weary of you and hate you.

People should, also while enjoying the food that they like, know how to be moderate (verse 1616Have you found honey? Eat [only] what you need,
That you not have it in excess and vomit it.
). Too much can be dangerous. Moderation, “[only] what you need”, is necessary for the pleasures that life offers. When there is moderation, one can really enjoy something of it. Jonathan found “honey” (1Sam 14:25-3025All [the people of] the land entered the forest, and there was honey on the ground.26When the people entered the forest, behold, [there was] a flow of honey; but no man put his hand to his mouth, for the people feared the oath.27But Jonathan had not heard when his father put the people under oath; therefore, he put out the end of the staff that [was] in his hand and dipped it in the honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth, and his eyes brightened.28Then one of the people said, “Your father strictly put the people under oath, saying, ‘Cursed be the man who eats food today.’” And the people were weary.29Then Jonathan said, “My father has troubled the land. See now, how my eyes have brightened because I tasted a little of this honey.30How much more, if only the people had eaten freely today of the spoil of their enemies which they found! For now the slaughter among the Philistines has not been great.”). He enjoyed it. It brightened up his countenance and it strengthened him so that he could continue his way.

For us this means: “All things are lawful” (1Cor 6:12b12All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.). But we should consider that something more is added to it: “But I will not be brought under the power of any.” Honey is a picture of the natural things like within marriage and family. They are given by God and therefore good. We can enjoy them. But when we ‘eat’ more then we need, which means that we give them too much room in our lives, it will move our service to God to the background and we will become spiritually sick.

Also, by visiting our neighbor or a family member, people should know how to be moderate (verse 1717Let your foot rarely be in your neighbor’s house,
Or he will become weary of you and hate you.
). Here we should also apply: Excess is killing. Verses 16 and 1716Have you found honey? Eat [only] what you need,
That you not have it in excess and vomit it.
17Let your foot rarely be in your neighbor’s house,
Or he will become weary of you and hate you.
are comparable in their words and ideas. Both verses recommend moderation, the one in eating honey, the other one in visiting someone. Verse 1616Have you found honey? Eat [only] what you need,
That you not have it in excess and vomit it.
is about ‘too much honey’, verse 1717Let your foot rarely be in your neighbor’s house,
Or he will become weary of you and hate you.
is about ‘too much of yourself’.

The admonition “let your foot rarely be” means: It should be precious for your neighbor or family member that you visit him or her. Something that is rare, is also precious. The motivation for the warning is that the misuse of intimacy, will make someone to be fed up and will cause hatred. Visitors and fish smell after three days.

If we desire to have too much of something, it may cause that our relationship with God will be replaced by that particular thing, which will make something good turn into something bad. We might think that we have a gift to serve a person and therefore visit him frequently to exercise our gift. But we must realize that this person doesn’t need our presence, but the Lord’s. We should give him as much help as he needs to be driven unto the Lord.


False Witness, False Confidence, False Comfort

18[Like] a club and a sword and a sharp arrow
Is a man who bears false witness against his neighbor.
19[Like] a bad tooth and an unsteady foot
Is confidence in a faithless man in time of trouble.
20[Like] one who takes off a garment on a cold day, [or like] vinegar on soda,
Is he who sings songs to a troubled heart.

“A false witness” causes death in the society (verse 1818[Like] a club and a sword and a sharp arrow
Is a man who bears false witness against his neighbor.
). He who bears false witness, is compared to “a club; a sword and a sharp arrow”, which are all lethal weapons. The club crushes, the sword cuts off and the sharp arrow pierces. A false witness may cause the death of innocent people by his false words (cf. Pro 12:1818There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword,
But the tongue of the wise brings healing.
; Psa 57:44My soul is among lions;
I must lie among those who breathe forth fire,
[Even] the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows
And their tongue a sharp sword.
; 120:3-43What shall be given to you, and what more shall be done to you,
You deceitful tongue?
4Sharp arrows of the warrior,
With the [burning] coals of the broom tree.
). That there is not just one, but even three of these weapons are mentioned, makes clear how serious the evil is of bearing false witness against one’s neighbor (Exo 20:1616“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.; Deu 5:2020‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.).

“A bad tooth and an unsteady foot” are both unfit to do anything (verse 1919[Like] a bad tooth and an unsteady foot
Is confidence in a faithless man in time of trouble.
). Chewing with a bad tooth and walking on an unsteady foot are both painful actions which in the one case keeps one from eating and in the other case from walking. The same effect has “the confidence of a faithless man in the day of trouble”. When it really becomes difficult and we are afflicted in the society or in the church, then one of the greatest disappointments is that you have trusted someone who is faithless.

When this happens to us, we can consider that God is faithful. “God is our refuge and strength; He is a very present help in trouble” (Psa 46:1b1For the choir director. [A Psalm] of the sons of Korah, set to Alamoth. A Song.
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
; Psa 91:1515“He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
).

Irresponsible, insensitive attempts to cheer people up who are in sorrow, just make the sorrow worse (verse 2020[Like] one who takes off a garment on a cold day, [or like] vinegar on soda,
Is he who sings songs to a troubled heart.
). They are words that are not spoken at the right time (verse 1111[Like] apples of gold in settings of silver
Is a word spoken in right circumstances.
). The wise man compares such a man with someone who takes away a garment from another person on a cold day. He puts him in the cold. That’s totally different from giving him extra warmth. He is totally insensitive to what the other needs. The second comparison is putting sour wine on alkaline. A not desirable chemical reaction will happen. It will start to bubble, there seems to be an activity, but it only results in an empty foam. Sour wine and alkaline are not compatible. When it continues to happen, they both become useless.

We ought to be alert and sensitive with regard to the emotional need in which people may find themselves. We should develop that sensitivity to others, otherwise we give other people a ‘cold shower’ instead of giving them a ‘warm bath’ of compassion. There is no ‘chemistry’ between someone who sings cheerful songs and someone with a sad heart (cf. Psa 137:1-31By the rivers of Babylon,
There we sat down and wept,
When we remembered Zion.
2Upon the willows in the midst of it
We hung our harps.
3For there our captors demanded of us songs,
And our tormentors mirth, [saying],
“Sing us one of the songs of Zion.”
). Paul is telling us: “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep” (Rom 12:1515Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.).


To Embarrass an Enemy

21If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;
22For you will heap burning coals on his head,
And the LORD will reward you.

God wants us to treat a person who hates us, friendly. By treating our hater in the opposite way as he treats us, we act in accordance with Who God is (verse 2121If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;
). This is how He deals with man and how He has dealt with us before we knew Him. He wants us to give our hater the most elementary basic needs, “bread” and “water”, in case he needs it. In the history of Elisha, where we read how he treats the King of Syria, we see a wonderful illustration (2Kgs 6:18-2318When they came down to him, Elisha prayed to the LORD and said, “Strike this people with blindness, I pray.” So He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.19Then Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, nor is this the city; follow me and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.” And he brought them to Samaria.20When they had come into Samaria, Elisha said, “O LORD, open the eyes of these [men], that they may see.” So the LORD opened their eyes and they saw; and behold, they were in the midst of Samaria.21Then the king of Israel when he saw them, said to Elisha, “My father, shall I kill them? Shall I kill them?”22He answered, “You shall not kill [them]. Would you kill those you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master.”23So he prepared a great feast for them; and when they had eaten and drunk he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the marauding bands of Arameans did not come again into the land of Israel.).

The word “for” with which verse 2222For you will heap burning coals on his head,
And the LORD will reward you.
begins, indicates the reason why we should act in such a way as it is written in the previous verse. By doing good to someone who hates us, instead of the evil that he does to us, we heap “burning coals on his head”. Heaping burning coals on someone, is not to consume him, but to make him melt. The picture of the “burning coals” represents a remorse, which develops more easily by gentleness rather than by violence. These glowing coals cause the sharp pain of remorse through regret of the hatred which filled his heart (Pro 18:1919A brother offended [is harder to be won] than a strong city,
And contentions are like the bars of a citadel.
; 20:2222Do not say, “I will repay evil”;
Wait for the LORD, and He will save you.
; 24:1717Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles;
; 1Sam 24:18-2018You have declared today that you have done good to me, that the LORD delivered me into your hand and [yet] you did not kill me.19For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away safely? May the LORD therefore reward you with good in return for what you have done to me this day.20Now, behold, I know that you will surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hand.). Paul quotes these verses in Romans 12 (Rom 12:2020“But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”).

To this act God attaches the promise of a revenge in the sense of a reward. We give something away, it doesn’t cost us anything, and we do that surprisingly to our enemy. That, however, doesn’t make us poorer, but even much richer. God does not forget that we have done this and will compensate it. If we deal with our enemies as God deals with His enemies, it pleases Him. What we invest in it, He will compensate. The Lord Jesus has set the example.


A Back-Biting Tongue and a Quarreling Wife

23The north wind brings forth rain,
And a backbiting tongue, an angry countenance.
24It is better to live in a corner of the roof
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.

A “backbiting tongue” is a secretive tongue, a tongue of a hidden place. It is talking behind someone’s back, slandering him and speaking evil about him. Sooner or later the person whom he talks about will find out. It will bring forth angry countenances to him and his family, like the northerly wind causes rain. In Israel it is unusual that the northerly wind causes rain; which the westerly wind does. When it does, it surely is not pleasant. This is how a backbiting tongue operates. It can speak flattering words, but instead of laughing countenances, it brings forth “angry countenances”.

The backbiting tongue from verse 2323The north wind brings forth rain,
And a backbiting tongue, an angry countenance.
has changed into the sharp tongue of “a contentious woman” in verse 2424It is better to live in a corner of the roof
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.
. The repetition of this verse (Pro 21:99It is better to live in a corner of a roof
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.
) deepens its interest. Contentious means quarreling about all possible matters that are to be done and decisions that are to be made. She does not accept that the husband is the head of the family. It is a proverb which is more a sigh and contains an advice.

It doesn’t mean that the husband draws back from the house and goes to live by himself because he is fed up with the quarrelling. It is a warning for everyone who yet has to start with a marriage. One can better live in peaceful loneliness and simplicity than in a big house in the company of someone with whom he shares everything, but who always quarrels. Therefore, ‘think first, act later’ and look for a God-fearing wife.


What Does and What Does Not Quench the Thirst

25[Like] cold water to a weary soul,
So is good news from a distant land.
26[Like] a trampled spring and a polluted well
Is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.

Good news that comes from a far place and for which people have waited long, has the same effect as “cold water to a weary soul” (verse 2525[Like] cold water to a weary soul,
So is good news from a distant land.
). It refreshes and invigorates a person who longs for news from a loved one that has gone to a distant land. At the time when there were not yet the means of communication we have now, it took a lot of time before the news reached those who were left behind (cf. Gen 45:2727When they told him all the words of Joseph that he had spoken to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived.; 1Thes 3:5-85For this reason, when I could endure [it] no longer, I also sent to find out about your faith, for fear that the tempter might have tempted you, and our labor would be in vain.6But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always think kindly of us, longing to see us just as we also long to see you,7for this reason, brethren, in all our distress and affliction we were comforted about you through your faith;8for now we [really] live, if you stand firm in the Lord.). The aspect of time does not play such a major role anymore. But a good message that reaches us via the modern media within a second after it has been sent, has the same effect to a loved one. A good message causes a change in life.

A good message from a distant land can also be applied to the gospel. The word ‘gospel’ literally means ‘good news’. The gospel has come to us from a distant land, which is heaven. The shepherds had experienced it like that when a messenger from heaven said to them: “I bring you good news [literally: evangelize] … For today there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Lk 2:10-1110But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;11for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.). In the gospel the living water is offered to everyone who is thirsty. Whoever is thirsty, is allowed to take from it without cost (Rev 22:1717The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.).

The Lord Jesus says to the weary soul: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” (Mt 11:2828“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.). He who goes through life wearily and suffers from the burden of his sins, can find rest and refreshment with Him. The gospel is the greatest thirst quencher and changer of life. It is an exhortation to pass on the good news to every heavy-laden soul.

In contrast to the cold, refreshing water is “a trampled spring”, for example by animals that walk through it (cf. Eze 34:18b18Is it too slight a thing for you that you should feed in the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pastures? Or that you should drink of the clear waters, that you must foul the rest with your feet?), and “a polluted well”, for example caused by a dead animal that has fallen into it (verse 2626[Like] a trampled spring and a polluted well
Is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.
). They are a disaster scenario for the easterner who is travelling through the desert. When he arrives weary and thirsty at such a spring or well, he realizes with dismay that the water from the spring, which he needs so desperately, is not potable. It does not only have a bad taste, but it is often also poisonous, which causes it to be harmful to the body and even lethal.

The wise Solomon uses this illustration to describe the righteous man who in the presence of a wicked man loses his steadfastness in faith by fear or favor. This is just as discouraging as finding a trampled spring where one wants to quench his thirst. Lot was such a righteous man (2Pet 2:77and [if] He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men) who walked in the sight of the wicked. He dwelled in Sodom. That was a trampled spring and a polluted well out of which he had drunk a lot, that he even became such a polluted well (Gen 19:1-381Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw [them], he rose to meet them and bowed down [with his] face to the ground.2And he said, “Now behold, my lords, please turn aside into your servant’s house, and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.” They said however, “No, but we shall spend the night in the square.”3Yet he urged them strongly, so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he prepared a feast for them, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.4Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter;5and they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them.”6But Lot went out to them at the doorway, and shut the door behind him,7and said, “Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly.8Now behold, I have two daughters who have not had relations with man; please let me bring them out to you, and do to them whatever you like; only do nothing to these men, inasmuch as they have come under the shelter of my roof.”9But they said, “Stand aside.” Furthermore, they said, “This one came in as an alien, and already he is acting like a judge; now we will treat you worse than them.” So they pressed hard against Lot and came near to break the door.10But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door.11They struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they wearied [themselves trying] to find the doorway.12Then the [two] men said to Lot, “Whom else have you here? A son-in-law, and your sons, and your daughters, and whomever you have in the city, bring [them] out of the place;13for we are about to destroy this place, because their outcry has become so great before the LORD that the LORD has sent us to destroy it.”14Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, and said, “Up, get out of this place, for the LORD will destroy the city.” But he appeared to his sons-in-law to be jesting.15When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Up, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away in the punishment of the city.”16But he hesitated. So the men seized his hand and the hand of his wife and the hands of his two daughters, for the compassion of the LORD [was] upon him; and they brought him out, and put him outside the city.17When they had brought them outside, one said, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, and do not stay anywhere in the valley; escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away.”18But Lot said to them, “Oh no, my lords!19Now behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have magnified your lovingkindness, which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, for the disaster will overtake me and I will die;20now behold, this town is near [enough] to flee to, and it is small. Please, let me escape there (is it not small?) that my life may be saved.”21He said to him, “Behold, I grant you this request also, not to overthrow the town of which you have spoken.22Hurry, escape there, for I cannot do anything until you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the town was called Zoar.23The sun had risen over the earth when Lot came to Zoar.24Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven,25and He overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.26But his wife, from behind him, looked [back], and she became a pillar of salt.27Now Abraham arose early in the morning [and went] to the place where he had stood before the LORD;28and he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the valley, and he saw, and behold, the smoke of the land ascended like the smoke of a furnace.29Thus it came about, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot lived.30Lot went up from Zoar, and stayed in the mountains, and his two daughters with him; for he was afraid to stay in Zoar; and he stayed in a cave, he and his two daughters.31Then the firstborn said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of the earth.32Come, let us make our father drink wine, and let us lie with him that we may preserve our family through our father.”33So they made their father drink wine that night, and the firstborn went in and lay with her father; and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose.34On the following day, the firstborn said to the younger, “Behold, I lay last night with my father; let us make him drink wine tonight also; then you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve our family through our father.”35So they made their father drink wine that night also, and the younger arose and lay with him; and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose.36Thus both the daughters of Lot were with child by their father.37The firstborn bore a son, and called his name Moab; he is the father of the Moabites to this day.38As for the younger, she also bore a son, and called his name Ben-ammi; he is the father of the sons of Ammon to this day.). He was not able to be a refreshment for others. What had become a life style for Lot, also occurred to Jacob as an incident, during an encounter with his wicked brother Esau (Gen 33:33But he himself passed on ahead of them and bowed down to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.).

Today, this is applicable to Christians who lose themselves in the world. They ought to be a well of life to others, but they live a worldly life. What they say, comes from a trampled spring and a polluted well. They are not able to refresh others. When they get in trouble, they waver, while the wicked are watching them. They are an anti-testimony. It can happen to people who go into politics, into business or choose to study. They come into contact with all kinds of wrong things or doctrines, such as the evolution theory. When they become influenced by those aspects, they become like a trampled spring and a polluted well.


What Determines One’s Own Glory

27It is not good to eat much honey,
Nor is it glory to search out one’s own glory.

Eating too much of what in itself is allowed to be eaten (Pro 24:1313My son, eat honey, for it is good,
Yes, the honey from the comb is sweet to your taste;
), is not good. The emphasis is not on what’s good about it, but on what is not good about it. Honey represents the sweetness of the good earthly things. We are allowed to enjoy those things, while we are thanking God for them (1Tim 4:4-54For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude;5for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.). But there is a certain danger in this. That danger is that we start to seek honor in those things. That appears from the second line of the verse which begins with “but” and in that way is a contrast to the first line of the verse.

When someone brought a grain offering, he was not allowed to prepare it with honey (Lev 2:1111‘No grain offering, which you bring to the LORD, shall be made with leaven, for you shall not offer up in smoke any leaven or any honey as an offering by fire to the LORD.). The grain offering is a picture of the Lord Jesus in His perfect life. In His life He never allowed Himself to be led by the natural relations that He also had. His mother could not divert Him from the way that His Father wanted Him to go, while He always remained respectful to His mother. In our service to God we ought to do that too.

“Eating much honey” seems to be about seeking honor for ourselves in the natural things, such as our family, our work, our position. Our honor, however, should lie in “searching out a matter” (verse 2b2It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,
But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.
). It is not about our honor in relationships, but about obtaining insight in the important things that God has prepared for us, based on the work of His Son. The searching of a matter draws the attention that we have on ourselves, to God and His will with and for us. Then we shall examine His Word, about which is written that it is “sweeter than honey and the honeycomb” (Psa 19:1010They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
).


Lack of Self-Control

28[Like] a city that is broken into [and] without walls
Is a man who has no control over his spirit.

“A city that is broken into [and] without walls” is totally unprotected. Every malicious person can freely enter into it and carry out his evil plans. He can also choose his victims carefully, for nobody stops him. “A man who has no control over his spirit” is “[like] a city that is broken into [and] without walls”, which is a city without protection. He cannot control himself. As soon as something happens that he does not like, he gets carried away. He also gets carried away as soon as there is something that he wants. He is unrestrained in his ways. This makes him a very easy victim to (spiritual) enemies that seek his destruction. Without him being aware of it, his person gets possessed by powers that are stronger than himself.

In this life-threatening situation a change for the better can only happen when the Holy Spirit gets the control over one’s spirit. Therefore, he has to repent and surrender his life under the authority of Christ. Then the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in him and self-control will be a part of the fruit of the Spirit in him (Eph 5:1818And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,; Gal 5:22-2322But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.).


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