What does Proverbs 25:12 mean?
ESV: Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear.
NIV: Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is the rebuke of a wise judge to a listening ear.
NASB: Like an earring of gold and a jewelry piece of fine gold, Is a wise person who offers rebukes to a listening ear.
CSB: A wise correction to a receptive ear is like a gold ring or an ornament of gold.
NLT: To one who listens, valid criticism is like a gold earring or other gold jewelry.
KJV: As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.
NKJV: Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold Is a wise rebuker to an obedient ear.
Verse Commentary:
"Reproof" is a form of correction (Proverbs 5:12; 12:1; 15:31). When someone tells another person, "you are wrong and need to change," the speaker is "reproving" the other person. When that correction comes from a caring, well-timed, loving intervention, it is immensely valuable (Proverbs 25:11). Here, the point is made that the value of correction is very much tied to a willing listener (Proverbs 1:23; 3:11; 10:17). When someone is open to advice, wise words from a trusted counselor are precious (Proverbs 11:14; 15:22). Believers should seek to provide loving guidance to others (Ephesians 4:15, 29; Galatians 6:1) rather than harsh, loveless criticism (Proverbs 15:1).

In this comparison, Solomon (Proverbs 25:1) relates loving correction to jewelry made of precious metals. Gold rings, in the biblical eras, were signs of wealth. James alluded to a gold ring as a sign of wealth when a person was given special treatment (James 2:1–4).
Verse Context:
Proverbs 25:11–14 includes four comparisons. These use vivid imagery to explain how others react to certain kinds of people. In this passage, descriptions are given of those who speak wise words, who faithfully deliver a message, and those who brag about things they haven't done.
Chapter Summary:
This chapter includes more statements from Solomon, copied by scribes of King Hezekiah many years later. The first section speaks about the risks of arrogance. The next gives comparisons which teach spiritual lessons. The last segment teaches about relationships, reputation, and self-control.
Chapter Context:
Chapter 25 begins to relate more wise statements from Solomon. Depending on where they are divided or combined, these amount to around one hundred portions of godly wisdom. These were compiled and added about 250 years after Solomon's reign by men under the direction of King Hezekiah. The phrasing used in verse 1 suggests these were copied from other records into the scrolls associated with the prior proverbs. This collection runs through the end of chapter 29.
Book Summary:
Proverbs is best understood in context with the books of Ecclesiastes and Job. In Proverbs, “wisdom” is given in short, simple, general terms. Ecclesiastes represents wisdom based on observation and experience. This often shows how the general principles of the book of Proverbs don’t apply in absolutely every circumstance. Job represents wisdom based on the experience of suffering and injustice. All three come to the conclusion that God does indeed know best, and the most sensible course of action is to follow His will.
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