Proverbs 25:16 MEANING

Proverbs 25:16
(16) Hast thou found honey?--A common occurrence in Palestine, where swarms of wild bees abounded in the woods. (Comp. Judges 14:8; 1 Samuel 14:27.) Hence came the expression of a "land flowing with (milk and) honey."

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.).

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?.... 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.

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