Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 25:22
"For you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you"
Solomon is trying to teach a key action of the wise: stay away from revenge but instead overcome evil with good. The Apostle Paul speaks to this principle directly in Romans 12:20,21, quoting this verse in Proverbs.
At that time when someone had their fire for cooking go out, they would need hot coals to cook their next meal. When they received the hot coals, they would transport them in a container that they would put on their head. So putting hot coals on someone else's head was a way of showing an unusual level of kindness to another person; an essential need was met. It also was a way of graphically demonstrating that you were not out for revenge to those who had wronged you.
The principle is the golden rule: No matter what someone has done to you, you should treat them as you would like to be treated if you were in their position. Do not get involved in revenge. Leave any penalties and punishment to the civil authorities who are not emotionally involved in the offense.
God promises here to reward those who ignore revenge and go past neutrality into meeting real needs. God will judge us based upon whether we have loved others when we had the chance. When we see a person with a real need that we could meet, did we offer to help?