Picturesque Words

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You've heard the expression, "One picture is worth a thousand words." But some words are so descriptive they paint a picture of their own.

They are picturesque words. It's also called figurative language. These are words that trigger an image in our minds, and are also referred to as picture language.

But some wording is so descriptive, it's picturesque. When we read or hear picturesque prose or poetry, we know an artist was at work.


The right word spoken at the right time is as beautiful as gold apples in a silver bowl. A wise warning to someone who will listen is as valuable as gold earrings or fine gold jewelry. Trustworthy messengers refresh those who send them, like the coolness of snow in the summertime. People who brag about gifts they never give are like clouds and wind that give no rain. With patience you can convince a ruler, and a gentle word can get through to the hard-headed. [vss 11-15]

If you find honey, don’t eat too much, or it will make you throw up. Don’t go to your neighbor’s house too often; too much of you will make him hate you. When you lie about your neighbors, it hurts them as much as a club, a sword, or a sharp arrow. Trusting unfaithful people when you are in trouble is like eating with a broken tooth or walking with a crippled foot. Singing songs to someone who is sad is like taking away his coat on a cold day or pouring vinegar on soda. If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him a drink. Doing this will be like pouring burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you. [vss 16-22]

As the north wind brings rain, telling gossip brings angry looks. It is better to live in a corner on the roof than inside the house with a quarreling wife. Good news from a faraway place is like a cool drink when you are tired. A good person who gives in to evil is like a muddy spring or a dirty well. It is not good to eat too much honey, nor does it bring you honor to brag about yourself. Those who do not control themselves are like a city whose walls are broken down. [vss 23-28]

(Proverbs 25:11-28 NCV) [Context– Proverbs 25]

Key phrase— The right word spoken at the right time is as beautiful as gold apples in a silver bowl.

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Digging Deeper...

What do the picturesque words describe in the first group of verses (11-15)?

What are the values and consequences of speech expressed throughout all these verses?

How do the second group of verses (16-22) express the consequences of excess?

What are the good and not so good outcomes described in this third group of verses (23-28) for both those who speak and listen to what's said?


Some sayings don't express the whole picture, they only convey a single dimension. "Talk is cheap," is one of those sayings. It expresses the idea that mere talk doesn't accomplish anything. But words of wisdom are talk that is valuable.

The value of the wisdom given throughout the book of Proverbs sees more than one side of things. This wisdom is often expressed through comparisons, contrasts, and extended thoughts.

Some wisdom is given in such picturesque wording that we see it in our mind's eye. These pictures are so thought provoking it makes us stop to ponder them, and that is exactly what they are designed to do.

Make it personal...

Read through the Scripture text again to consider and answer the following questions

Have you experienced someone speaking the right word at the right time in your life?

Have you been hurt by what others have said about you or to you?

How often have you spoken hurtful things to someone or about them?

When you've been on both ends of hurtful or destructive speech, does it cause you to be more careful with your words?

Who around you—in your daily life—need encouraging or comforting words? Go ahead and share them with those people!