turn not away. A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. As an ear-ring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.” Reference is made to disputes with a neighbour. The wise man counsels forbearance. If a disagreement happen, and a cause must be discussed, let it be between two. A third party will take the side of one or the other, and two shall be against one. When you do speak, let the right word be spoken at the Fig. 131.

right time—“on the wheel” as it were; for "a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” The fruit of the right word is found in the obedient ear. Its effect is seen at once. Even the reprover comes to be regarded with love. He is as an ear-ring of gold, and as an ornament of fine gold, to the one reproved by him.

Criticisms on verse eleventh have almost, without exception, proceeded on the assumption that something to be seen in nature is referred to in it. The use of the word “apple” has also been overlooked. This has resulted in the proposal to render the words "golden-coloured citrons in silver baskets." The fruit pointed to is held to be that of the citron (Citrus

medica). Such a view of the pasusage is arbitrary, and does violence

to the words of the Spirit of God. There can be no doubt that the “gold and silver” mentioned are the precious metals so called. Nor is there much difficulty with regard to the term “pictures.” It is not to be held as equivalent to “paintings.” The use of the word in other passages is conclusive on this point. Two terms are translated “pictures” in the Old Testament. One of these, which is only once named, occurs in Isa. ii. 16, and most likely points to painting as distinguished from sculpture. Because of the sins of the people, destruction was to come on all “ pleasant pictures (sekīyāh).The other term (maskīth) occurs six


Citron (Citrus medica).

times, including the text before us. In the others it is used thrice to indicate sculptured figures, and twice to express the peculiar idea which may be held characteristic of the artist before he has given outward form to it. In the former class of passages we have—“Neither shall ye set up any image of stone” or any figured stone like the basreliefs of the Nineveh religious sculptures (Levit. xxvi. 1); “Ye shall destroy all their pictures” (Numb. xxxiii. 25), an expression used in connection with the breaking down of the idol temples, “the high places,” and clearly meaning sculptures again; “Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery(Ezek. viii. 12)? a passage which again points to carved work in stone. In the latter we have the mental conditions — desire and self-confidence; the former borrowed from the artist's state of mind when he is anxious to realize the mental image; the latter from the same when he has given form to his imaginings, and is satisfied with the results.

" The wicked,” says the Psalmist,“ have more than their heart could wish—they pass the thoughts of their hearts (Ps. lxxiii. 7). “The rich man's wealth,' says Solomon, “is as an high wall in his own conceit. If the meaning of the word "pictures” in the passage under notice, is to be determined by its use in other portions of Scripture, there is little doubt that something carved or chased is referred to.

Tappūachis the Hebrew for the apple-tree and for its fruit. But, assuming that the use of the term here points to carved work in gold and silver, it is in the highest degree likely that the Jews used it, as almost all nations have done, in a very wide and general sense. The Latin pomum, apple, included under it many kinds of fruit, besides that of the true apple-tree. Thus, when the peach (Amygdalus Persicus) found its way to Italy and the West, it was received as the Persian apple (Pomum Per.). In like manner the quince (Cydonia vulgaris), when introduced from Asia Minor into Europe, was known as the apple of Sidon. The pine-apple (Ananassa sativa), a native of the warmest regions of South America, the fruit of a monocotyledonous family of plants (Bromeliacece) is in no sense an apple; yet as an edible fruit it is now chiefly known as such. The potato (Solanum tuberosum) has been regarded from the same point of view by the French, who have named it Earth-apple (Pomme de terre). Many other examples might be given. The text may thus be held to point to any kind of much esteemed fruit, imitated by the workers in precious metals—apple-like ornaments of gold in silver settings. The intercourse between the


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Jews, in the days of Solomon, and the Phænicians indicates the source whence the “ apples of gold in the pictures of silver," may have been obtained. We know that he was indebted to Phænicia for the artist who prepared the ornamental metal-work for the temple (1 Kings vii. 13, 14). The attractive beauty in such work is implied; and on this the wise man makes his appeal-speak the right word in the right spirit and at the right time. For “apple of the eye” see above, Deut. xxxi. 10; and for “apple-tree" see below, Song ii. 3.

“As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come” (xxvi. 2). Effort must be put forth even by the birds in order to follow their instincts. Where the curse falls, there is a reason for it. It not only never comes without being sent, but when it is sent there is a divine end in it. Either we are to look for a retributive element in it, or, as in Job's case, one of discipline. The wicked are chiefly in the mind of Solomon here. Judgment had fallen on them; and there was a cause. “Swallow,” Heb. derör—the bird with great freedom in its flight, the swallow of Palestine (Hirundo rufula).

“The horse-leech hath two daughters, crying, Give, give” (xxx. 15). “Horse-leech,” Heb. alūkāh. There seems no good reason to doubt, that one of the well-known family Hirudinido or leeches is the animal named here. The British horse-leech (Hæmopsis sanguisuga) is noted for its greedy bite. It is, however, surpassed in this respect by the medicinal species (Sanguisuga medicinalis). Both of these abound in some parts of Syria, and might be well-known by Agur. The likelihood is, that the medicinal species is that referred to here. The marshes of the mountain lake, Phiala, situated to the south-east of Banias (Paneas-Cæsarea), abound with them. Dr. Robinson says of Phiala :-“The water of the lake is stagnant and impure, with a slimy look. Just at the margin it was muddy for a few feet, and did not seem to be clear and pure in any part.

At a short distance from the shore was a broad belt of water plants, now turned brown, and in some places resembling islands. The middle of the lake was free. Wild ducks were swimming in different parts. A large hawk was sailing above them, and occasionally swooping down to the surface of the water, as if to seize a duck or a frog. Our Druzes fired at him, and broke his wing; he fell among the water plants, and could not there be reached. Myriads and myriads of frogs lined the shores; and it was amusing to see them perched thickly along the stones, as if drawn up in battle-array to keep off intruders. It is the very paradise

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