1 These are also proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied out.
2 It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter.
3 The heaven for height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings is unsearchable.
4 Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.
5 Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness.
6 Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men:
7 For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen.
Hezekiah was the son of King Ahaz. King Ahaz did not cover himself in glory. (The story of Ahaz is told in 2 Kings 16:10-18 and 2 Chronicles 28:16-25.) Because Ahaz was a foolish man the people he ruled suffered as foreign armies invaded the land of Judah. A key verse is 2 Chronicles 28:19 (NLT):
The Lord was humbling Judah because of King Ahaz of Judah, for he had encouraged his people to sin and had been utterly unfaithful to the Lord.
King Hezekiah did not follow his father’s example. He did not get everything right, but as a young man of twenty-five he quickly set about putting right the wrongs of his father. Idols were removed and destroyed, and the Temple that had been boarded up by Ahaz was reopened for worship. It seems that Hezekiah took note of the wisdom of Solomon to the extent that he had the Proverbs of Solomon reproduced as part of his commitment to following God (Proverbs 25:1). Scripture records that:
Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. (2 Kings 18:5-7 NLT)
As a King, Hezekiah was well placed to understand the importance of not indulging in an attitude of over-importance. Jesus drew on verses six and seven when he was at a feast and observed people fighting for the best place at the head of the table (Luke 14:7-14). Jesus suggested that the best place to be is the foot of the table. But that was before He died. Today the best place to be is at the foot of the cross. If we dare to look up we will see that the cross is empty. The King of kings is no longer nailed to that cross, but reaching out to take our hand. It is only when we humble ourselves before Him that He reaches down to us in this way. As it says in verse 7 above:
For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen.