The Proverbs

Chapter 26

Observations about fools, 1-12; about sluggards, 13-16; and about contentious busy-bodies, 17-28.

1 As snow in summer and as rain in harvest, so honor is not appropriate for a fool.

2 As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the causeless curse shall not come.

3 A whip is for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the fool's back.

4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him.

5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

6 He who sends a message by the hand of a fool cuts off the feet and drinks damage.

7 The legs of the lame are not equal, and so is a parable in the mouth of fools.

8 As he who binds a stone in a sling, so is he who gives honor to a fool.

9 As a thorn goes up into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools.

10 The great God who formed all things both rewards the fool, and rewards transgressors.

11 As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool returns to his folly.

12 Do you see a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him.

13 The slothful man says, "There is a lion in the way. A lion is in the streets."

14 As the door turns upon its hinges, so does the slothful upon his bed.

15 The slothful hides his hand in his bosom. It grieves him to bring it back to his mouth.

16 The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men who can render a reason.

17 He who passes by and meddles with strife not belonging to him, is like one who takes a dog by the ears.

18 As a mad man who casts fire-brands, arrows, and death,

19 So is the man who deceives his neighbor, and says, "Am I not joking?"

20 Where there is no wood, the fire goes out. And where there is no gossiper, the strife ceases.

21 As coals are to burning coals and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife.

22 The words of a gossiper are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.

23 Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross.

24 He who hates dissembles with his lips, and lays up deceit within him.

25 When he speaks fair, do not believe him, for there are seven abominations in his heart.

26 His hatred is covered by deceit. His wickedness shall be shown before the whole congregation.

27 Whoever digs a pit shall fall into it, and he who rolls a stone, it will return upon him.

28 A lying tongue hates those who are afflicted by it, and a flattering mouth works ruin.

Commentary

Matthew Henry Commentary - Proverbs, Chapter 26

Notes

[v.4] - From John Gill's Exposition: "Sometimes a fool, or wicked man, is not to be answered at all; as the ministers of Hezekiah answered not a word to Rabshakeh; nor Jeremiah the prophet to Hananiah; nor Christ to the Scribes and Pharisees; and when an answer is returned, it should not be in his foolish way and manner, rendering evil for evil, and railing for railing, in the same virulent, lying, calumniating, and reproachful language."

[v.5] - From John Gill's Exposition: "Indeed it is right, and must be the sense, that when a fool is answered, as it is sometimes necessary he should, that it be done in wisdom, and so as to expose his folly; he is to be answered and not answered according to different times, places, and circumstances, and manner of answering; he is to be answered when there is any hope of doing him good, or of doing good to others; or of preventing ill impressions being made upon others by what he has said; when the glory of God, the good of the church, and the cause of truth, require it; and when he would otherwise glory and triumph, as if his words or works were unanswerable."

[v.10] - An alternate translation of this verse is: "As an archer who wounds all, so is he who hires a fool and he who hires those who pass by."

[v.11] - Quoted in 2nd Peter 2:22.

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