Wisdom for Living Well with Others
A simile is a word picture that uses comparison to show similarities between two different things. In the word picture, likenesses between the two things are emphasized; that is, how one thing is “like” another. Proverbs 25:11-20 contains series of similes.
Vs. 11: The right word spoken in the right way at the right time brings beauty to that place, like a still life painting, framed and placed on a wall adds beauty to a room.
Vs. 12: We may not like to a reproof, but a word of loving correction in our ear is a valuable thing, like a golden earring.
Vs. 13: Receiving a good message from someone we trust is refreshing, like the first snow of winter.
Vs. 14: Some people brag when they have nothing to brag about, like a cloud that blows over but does not rain.
Verses 15-17 drop the simile form, but still draw word
Picture a soft tongue breaking a bone. In that way, patience, tactful, diplomatic words are useful in persuasion.
Picture getting sick on eating too much honey, and learn that too much of even a good thing can be bad for us.
Picture being so full of something good you ate that you feel sick. Now picture how your neighbor feels when you have worn out your welcome.
Verse 18-20 return to the simile form.
Vs. 18: Spreading a vicious lie about your neighbor wounds them like attacking with a war weapon.
Vs. 19: When we rely on unreliable people, it is like taking a step with a lame foot that may collapse.
Vs. 20: Pay attention to other’s circumstances,
because singing a song to the sorrowful is like putting vinegar and soda
together, or taking someone’s coat away on a cold day.
Note, as often occurs, the final proverb in a given section is very similar to the first proverb in that section. With verse 20, remember the fitting, appropriate words called for in verse 11.