11 Like apples of gold in settings of silver
is a ruling rightly given.
12 Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold
is the rebuke of a wise judge to a listening ear.
A ruling rightly given is not only pleasing to those who receive it, it is also of great value to them. The way of the world is to use power and influence to advance one’s own interests, to the exclusion and oppression of others. But the way of wisdom leverages these things to build others up, inspiring gratitude and goodwill among them.
“Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold, is the rebuke of a wise judge to a listening ear.” The value of a rebuke is determined by the response to it. Though it may be painful to accept piercing advice, the improvement in behavior of the one who listens is as evident as a fine earring. The wise judge exercises prudence when rebuking; like a surgeon he only cuts where he must, addressing the issue while taking care not to inflict too much pain.