As a Rhetoric graduate from UW, I've lived my adult life enamored with words and expressions – and their subtle power. The right words, spoken in the right way, at the right time, can make an enormous impact.
One particular "tool in the toolbox" for the communicator is the use of similes. The Bible is chock-full of examples, and I recently noticed this in Proverbs 25 – twelve different similes are leveraged to give ordinary instruction some much needed punch. No doubt, these make the lessons far more memorable.
A quick reminder for the grammatically-challenged reader: similes are analogies that reinforce truth, using "Like" or "As" to make a point memorable. So here are – in my personally paraphrased wording – twelve similes from Proverbs 25, which I dare you to forget!
- A Leader's heart is unsearchable and mysterious, as the heavens are high and the earth is deep. 3
- The counsel of the wise is valuable, like a gold earring. 12
- Being a person of integrity is like refreshingly cool snow at squalidly hot harvest time! 13
- Avoid making empty promises or you'll be like disappointing clouds and winds without any life-giving rain. 14
- Lying injures other people badly, like a violent man wielding a club, a sword, or an arrow. 18
- The dishonest person is unreliable, like a bad tooth or a lame foot. 19
- Don't make bad matters even worse, like the selfish person who snatches someone's garment on a cold day. 20
- Again, don't make bad matter worse ... it's only like pouring vinegar on soda – a volatile reaction without positive effect. 20
- Being deceptive will cause another to be angry, like a north wind always brings rain. 23
- Good news from far away refreshes another like super-cold water satisfies a thirsty, weary soul. 25
- A so-called righteous man who gives in to compromise is like a muddied spring or a polluted well. 26
- A man who lacks self-control is in danger, like a city with crumbling walls.
There you go. I dare say you are now like the proverbial elephant, unable to forget these 12 similes from Proverb 25! Now, if only they were like 12 peanuts ...