Proverbs 15:23

To make an apt answer is a joy to a man,

and a word in season, how good it is!

So "a word in season" like a word that is remembered in seasons, like season in a year?


In Hebrew poetry (and other forms of poetry from the same region), parallelism is an important concept (much more than rhythm, rhyme, or other things important in English poetry). In Hebrew we usually have bicola, that is pairs of verses that are paralleled. We then talk about the A-colon and the B-colon (similarly, A-words and B-words). The A-colon often contains relatively common words. The B-colon more or less repeats the A-colon, but can make it more specific or use more sophisticated words (for example words that have an ancient aire about them).

In the Hebrew we have the B-colon:

וְדָבָר בְּעִתֹּו מַה־טֹּֽוב
... and word in its time - how good

In this case, an "apt answer" and a "word in its time" mean more or less the same thing. The verse is best read in context of vv. 20–23. As Waltke (The Book of Proverbs, Chapters 1–15) notes (p. 663):

Parents have joy when their children receive their good counsel (v. 20), and wise adults have joy in accepting ethical counsel (vv. 22–23) and in giving it (v. 23).

He also comments on the expression "it its time":

In its time (be`ittô; see 5:19) refers to an appropriate time conceived of as an opportunity (L. J. Coppes, TWOT, 2:680, s.v. 'ēt).

  • so "a word in season" = "word in its time", like a word that said at the right moment/time? – 123iamking Jan 7 '18 at 9:53
  • @123iamking exactly. – user2672 Jan 7 '18 at 9:53
  • 1
    An apt and timely answer, Keelan. – Gina Jan 7 '18 at 10:19
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    We used to eat vegetables that were "in season". Now you can buy them all year round in a supermarket, so people no longer understand this English idiom. – fdb Jan 7 '18 at 18:51

This is referring to a right time and a wrong time for sharing a word to someone. This is about patience in counselling another. I have jumped to share something without waiting on the leading of the Spirit and it seemed to corrupt what I was saying because the person was not in the right "season" to hear thise words.

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