A word at the right time is like apples of gold in a network of silver.
The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry,
A word fitly spoken [is like] apples of gold In settings of silver.
A word fitly spoken [is like] apples of gold in pictures of silver.
Like golden apples in silver settings, so is a word spoken at the right time.
Like apples of gold in settings of silver,* so is a word skillfully spoken.*
25:11 Like apples of gold in settings of silver,2114
sn The verse uses emblematic parallelism, stating the simile in the first part and the point in the second. The meaning of the simile is not entirely clear, but it does speak of beauty, value, and artistry. The “apples of gold” (possibly citrons, quinces, oranges, or apricots) may refer to carvings of fruit in gold on columns.
so is a word skillfully spoken.2115
tnHeb “on its wheels.” This expression means “aptly, fittingly.” The point is obviously about the immense value and memorable beauty of words used skillfully (R. N. Whybray, Proverbs [CBC], 148). Noting the meaning of the term and the dual form of the word, W. McKane suggests that the expression is metaphorical for the balancing halves of a Hebrew parallel wisdom saying: “The stichos is a wheel, and the sentence consisting of two wheels is a ‘well-turned’ expression” (Proverbs [OTL], 584). The line then would be describing a balanced, well-turned saying, a proverb; it is skillfully constructed, beautifully written, and of lasting value.