What does Proverbs 25:2 mean?
ESV: It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.
NIV: It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.
NASB: It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.
CSB: It is the glory of God to conceal a matter and the glory of kings to investigate a matter.
NLT: It is God’s privilege to conceal things and the king’s privilege to discover them.
KJV: It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter.
NKJV: It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.
Verse Commentary:
Recognizing God's glory includes accepting that He is far higher and greater than any created person (Isaiah 55:8–9). Finite persons can only grasp a limited sense of God's full nature (Romans 11:33). God expresses His glory to humanity both in what He reveals (Psalm 19:1; Romans 1:18–20) and in what He chooses to leave obscured (Deuteronomy 29:29; Isaiah 45:15). As the only omnipotent, omniscient, perfect Creator, the Lord is entirely justified in choosing what He will or will not reveal.

At the same time, limited people are obligated to seek understanding within our limitations. It's to the credit of rulers and those in authority to diligently seek out truth. These leaders are charged with important earthly decisions; it would be foolish of them to rush to judgment. A decision made without knowing all facts might prove disastrous (Proverbs 11:14; 18:13, 17). The same principle applies to modern government leaders. They are wise to weigh matters carefully before making decisions. It is important as well that believers guide their lives by the teachings of God's Word (Proverbs 1:7; 1 Corinthians 4:6) rather than by circumstances or emotions (Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 12:1–2).
Verse Context:
Proverbs 25:1–10 contains sage advice regarding kingship, both for the ruler and their subjects. Avoiding arrogance is also mentioned. It's better to be humble, then praised by others, instead of being dismissed for exaggeration. This extends also to disputes and lawsuits. Most disputes are best settled in private, when such is possible.
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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