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As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honour is not seemly for a fool.
As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest (are unseasonable and injurious to crops); so honour ... for a fool. God so blessed the Holy Land that rain in harvest (June and July) was a thing unknown, except as a miracle (1 Samuel 12:17). Rain would have hindered the gathering in of the fruits of the earth, and the threshing which was done in the open air. It is a great calamity when bad and foolish men are appointed to posts of honour in Church and State.
As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.
As the bird (or the sparrow) by wandering (or, is prone to wandering), as the swallow by flying (or, is prone to flying), so the curse causeless shall not come. 'As the bird wandering, and the swallow flying' up and down, never lights upon us, but quickly flies to the winds, 'so the curse that is causeless' (i:e., for which we have given no just cause) "shall not come" to injure us. Balaam could not curse the people whom God had blessed (Deuteronomy 23:5). David was not hurt by Shimei's curse (2 Samuel 16:5-12); but was requited instead by God with good (Psalms 109:28). The Hebrew ( dªrowr (H1866)) for "swallow" means freedom implying its free movements to and fro. The Qeri' needlessly reads, 'shall come to him' - i:e., shall recoil upon the curser [ low (H3807a), for lo' (H3808)].
A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool's back.
A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass. So the Vulgate: but the Chaldaic, Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic translate, 'a spur for the ass.' The Hebrew ( meteg (H4964)) commonly means a bridle; and though we should say ordinarily, 'A whip for the donkey; a bridle for the horse,' yet in the style of Proverbs one clause is to be supplied from the other, A whip and a bridle for the horse and the donkey. As they need at one time the whip, at another the bridle; so the "fool" needs "a rod for his back," to keep him from rushing into sinful folly. The ungodly are like "brute beasts" (Psalms 32:9; Jude 1:10; Proverbs 10:13; Proverbs 19:29). He who will not heed words must heed strokes.
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him - by answering taunt with taunt, angry sneer with sneer, folly with folly. "Thou also," even thou, who by godly wisdom art widely different, and raised far above him.
Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.
Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit. The former verse forbids to answer a fool foolishly: it is better to be silent than so to answer him. If he be in a frame plainly incapable of receiving a wise answer, do not answer him at all (Isaiah 36:21). But where he needs to be convicted of folly, lest he go away with the notion of his own superior wisdom, answer him so as to confute him. Unanswered words may be deemed unanswerable: answer, then, not in folly, but to folly-the answer which his folly requires. Compare Jesus' silence and His answer, in conformity with both precepts, Matthew 26:62-64, before Caiaphas; John 19:9-11, before Pilate; Luke 23:9, before Herod. Regard to the difference of times and circumstances harmonizes the seeming contrariety of the two precepts. Discern the "time to keep silence, and the time to speak" (Ecclesiastes 3:7). So Jesus (Matthew 21:23-27; Matthew 22:46). Where it is only thine own honour that is at stake, be silent (as Moses meekly was when taunted by Aaron and Miriam, Numbers 12:2-4): when the glory of God or the good of thy neighbour is involved, speak. The reason added by Solomon draws the distinction, Do not answer when thy answer will make thee like the fool: answer when thy silence will give him a handle for self-conceit.
He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool cutteth off the feet, and drinketh damage.
He that sendeth a message by ... a fool cutteth off the feet (of himself: i:e., deprives himself of the power of motion and action; thwarts himself, so that he cannot succeed in his affairs), (and) drinketh damage - incurs an accumulation of damage (cf. "drinketh," Job 15:16; Proverbs 4:17). The "feet" represent a support, in Job 29:15. He who sends a message by a fool deprives himself of the support which a wise messenger would have afforded him. He deprives his message of the support which it would have had if he had gone on his own "feet." Not only so, but he fills himself with damage, like a thirsty man drinking poison eagerly, which he mistakes for wholesome drink. As Proverbs 26:4 taught not to answer a fool, so this verse, not to address another through a fool. What "damage" the hearers 'drink' to whom the Gospel message is delivered by a ministerial "fool" (contrast 2 Corinthians 5:20.)
The legs of the lame are not equal: so is a parable in the mouth of fools.
The legs of the lame are not equal, [ dalyuw (H1809 ), from daalah (H1802 )] - literally, rise up, or are elevated: one leg is longer than the other; so a parable (a sententious maxim) in the mouth of fools.
The parable halts, and is not consistent on all sides with itself, and is still less so with the character of him who speaks it. The parabolic style needs especial acuteness: the fool has regard neither to the time, nor place, nor sense. nor application, and so misses the scope of the proverb which he quotes ( Sir 20:20 , 'A wise sentence shall be rejected when it cometh out of a fool's mouth, for he will not speak it in due season').
As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honour to a fool.
As he that bindeth (hurleth, Maurer) a stone in a sling, so (is) he that giveth honour to a fool. The honour is thrown away that is given to a fool. Ewald takes it as the English version, If one binds a stone in a sling, it becomes useless to the slinger; so honour attached to a fool. So the Septuagint The Vulgate gives the sense in the margin of the English version. But "a stone" can hardly stand for a precious stone. The Chaldaic, Syriac, and Arabic support the English version.
As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools.
As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools - as he knows not how to handle a thorn, and grasps it as a staff, whereas the sober take the precaution of fencing themselves with iron in grasping it (2 Samuel 23:6-7); so a sententious maxim is hurtful to fools themselves, and to others, while they improperly handle them, making it subserve laughter and wantonness.
The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors.
The great (God), that formed all (things), both rewardeth the fool and rewardeth transgressors - giving them respectively their due punishment. Maurer takes it, 'An archer (as the Hebrew, rab, means in Job 16:13) wounding all, is both be who hires a fool and he who hires those passing by' indiscriminately. Gesenius takes it, 'The master (the master artist) forms all things well; but if one (in that position) hires a fool, he also hires transgressors.' Mercer, 'A great man (if he be a bad man) affects all with pain, and gives hire to the fool, and gives hire to transgressors' to aid him in his tyranny. The English version is simplest.
As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.
As a dog returneth to his vomit - quoted in 2 Peter 2:22, and so stamped with inspired authority. As a dog swallows again that which he has vomited.
(So) a fool returneth to his folly. A dog is an unclean animal, and so is a fit image of the fool, whose delight is in sin. Though the dog has experienced the meat so unwholesome that his stomach rejected it, yet, now that it has become still more so by exposure to sun and air, he goes back to it; so the fool.
Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.
Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? (there is) more hope of a fool ( kªciyl (H3684 ): here a dull man: negatively, not positively and wilfully a fool) than of him. Because there is some chance of one who is "a fool" from natural infirmity receiving remedial instruction, but no hope of a self-wise man doing so. He who seems wise to himself is superlatively unwise. Self-conceit is the bar to progress.
The slothful man saith, There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets.
(There is) a lion in the way. Energy soon puts to flight such lions (Proverbs 22:13).
As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed. As the door turneth upon his hinges, so (doth) the slothful upon his bed. As the door moves round the same center, and cannot be separated from it. It moves, indeed, but does not move forward. So the slothful lies now on this side, now on that, but will not be torn from his bed.
The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom; it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth.
The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom; it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth (note Proverbs 19:24). He won't take the slightest trouble for the most necessary things.
The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.
The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men (i:e., than the totality of men: seven representing a complete whole, Proverbs 26:25 ) that can render a reason - i:e., that show their wisdom in giving wise answers: than the whole range of wise men. The sluggard thinks that he has found in his own indolent quiet the sum of wisdom and happiness, and so that he is wiser than all the wise who give themselves so much trouble in investigations and active employments.
He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears.
He that passeth by, (and) meddleth with [or as the Hithpael of `aabar (H5674 ) means (cf. margin), 'is in a transport of rage with'] strife (belonging) not to him, (is like) one that taketh a dog by the ears. Needless and uncalled for, and especially angry intermeddling with the quarrels of others not only does no good, but brings mischief on the meddler; as if one caught a dog by the ears, and so gotten himself bitten for his pains. On the other hand, wise interposition as a mediator, for the sake of peace, is altogether right.
As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death,
As a mad (man), who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, so (is) the man (that) deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport? Compare 2 Peter 2:13, "Sporting themselves with their own deceivings." A lie in jest does mischief in earnest. Such Sport the believer feels is "not convenient" (Ephesians 5:4). It is the act of a "madman" playing with deadly implements, with the difference that the madman is not accountable; the jesting liar is (Proverbs 10:23). Much that the world calls 'play' is deadly mischief (2 Samuel 2:14).
Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.
Where no wood is, (there) the fire goeth out; so where (there is) no talebearer, the strife ceaseth (Proverbs 16:28; Proverbs 18:8; Proverbs 22:10). A "talebearer," or 'whisperer,' secretly traduces his neighbour, makes statements which either he or some one else has invented, reveals what ought not to be told, tells it to some one to whom especially he ought not, and repeats words in a different sense from that in which they were originally spoken.
As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.
(As) coals (are) to burning coals, and wood to fire; so (is) a contentious man to kindle strife (Proverbs 15:18; Proverbs 29:22).
The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
(Note, Proverbs 18:8.)
Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross.
Burning lips (lips professing burning love) and a wicked heart (underneath) (are like) a potsherd covered with silver dross - a fragment of common earthenware covered with silver full of dross.
He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him;
He that hateth dissembleth with, [rather, as the Chaldaic and Vulgate, and as the Niphal voice requires, 'is known by,' yinaakeer (H5234 )] his lips, and layeth up deceit within him. Translate as margin, If you hear him speaking for any length of time, his hatred will be known, though be layeth up (studiously) deceit within him, taking all pains to suppress its manifestations.
When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart.
When he speaketh fair, (maketh his voice gracious) ... (there are) seven (i:e., the whole range of) abominations in his heart - machinations of mischief.
Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation.
(Whose) hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be showed before the (whole) congregation.
God will so order it that his wickedness shall be exposed before all, either now, or certainly at the last judgment, when all 'covert hatred' shall be disclosed.
Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.
Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein (Psalms 7:15-16 ); and he that rolleth a stone (with the intention of casting it on another), it will return upon him. He who plots mischief against another shall be overwhelmed by it himself.
A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.
A lying tongue hateth (those that are) afflicted by it.
`Forgiveness to the injured doth belong; He never pardons that hath done the wrong.'
So Amnon's hatred to Tamar after he had ruined her (2 Samuel 13:5-15).
And a flattering mouth worketh ruin (Psalms 5:9; Psalms 10:7-10). Satan's flattering lie, "Ye shall be as god's," worked ruin to mankind at the first. So it has been ever since (Genesis 3:5; Proverbs 2:16; Proverbs 5:3; Proverbs 7:5; Proverbs 7:21).
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 26". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20