September 15th 2018 – Proverbs 25:1-5

These also are proverbs of Solomon which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied.

 It is the glory of God to conceal things,
    but the glory of kings is to search things out.
 As the heavens for height, and the earth for depth,
    so the heart of kings is unsearchable.
Take away the dross from the silver,
    and the smith has material for a vessel;
take away the wicked from the presence of the king,
    and his throne will be established in righteousness.

Proverbs 25:1-5

This chapter brings us to a further collection of Solomon's proverbs, compiled as we are told in 1 by the men of Hezekiah, king of Judah. This in itself presents an interesting point. Hezekiah belonged to a period more than 200 years after Solomon (Solomon died in 931 BC, and Hezekiah came to the throne in 727 BC). It is something when a man's words are felt to be worth republishing more than 200 years after his death. One wonders whether the men of Hezekiah really knew just how important a thing they were doing when they copied out Solomon's wisdom. Doubtless they were thinking of their own day: they could not have known that they were doing something that would bless many future generations down the stream of time 'Mystery in God and man' seems to be the theme of 2-6 2a speaks of the inscrutability of God (cf Deuteronomy 29:29. Romans 11:33.34). The 'secret things belong unto the Lord our God'. But there are two possible attitudes to this, one is that of exasperation and resentment (e.g. to the doctrine of predestination); the other is that of worship and adoration. It puts us in our proper place. In 2b, what is in view is not so much academic research, as administrative probes as Kidner puts it: the king should know what is going on. It is his job also as ruler and judge, to get to the bottom of things, to see that justice is done. This seems to be the force of 4 and 5: it is necessary to sift things and people separating the evil from the good and so exposing it and dealing with it, in order to preserve society from corruption. Dross is degrading whether in metal or in politics!