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Bible Commentaries

Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Proverbs 26

Section IV., Proverbs 25-29.— The title of this section adds to the tradition of a Solomonic collection of proverbs the further tradition of literary activity in the time of Hezekiah. The same general considerations hold good of this section as of Proverbs 10-24. (See Introduction.) It also shows signs of compilation, and falls into two divisions: ( a) Proverbs 25:2 to Proverbs 27:22, and ( b) Proverbs 28 f., separated by a discourse in Proverbs 27:23-27.

Verses 1-28

Proverbs 26:1-12 . The Book of Fools.— A section containing a series of synthetic couplets dealing with folly (except Proverbs 26:2). The text is unusually corrupt and defective.

Proverbs 26:1 . For the opposite use of snow in harvest cf. Proverbs 25:13 *.

Proverbs 26:2 . Directed against the superstitious belief in the magical value of a curse. The simile refers to the aimless wandering of a bird, and is not to be compared with the flying roll of curses in Zechariah 5:1-4.

Proverbs 26:4 f. An antithetic quatrain enjoining the right method of answering a fool— not to descend to the fool’ s level, yet to make him conscious of his folly.

Proverbs 26:6 . damage: inaccurate. The word means “ violence,” and the phrase “ drinketh violence” usually means to practise or delight in violence, which is not the sense required here.

Proverbs 26:8 a is very uncertain. RV is much less probable than RVm, to give honour to a fool is as absurd as to fasten a stone firmly in a sling.

Proverbs 26:9 . Another couplet on the fool’ s inability to use the mâ shâ l.

Proverbs 26:9 a is very improbable, although supported in exegesis by a reference to the drunkard’ s insensibility to pain in Proverbs 23:35. It is better to interpret “ thorn” as “ thorn bush” ( cf. 2 Kings 14:9). Then we have the figure of a drunkard armed with a thorn-spiked bough as the comparison for a fool’ s use of the mâ shâ l.

Proverbs 26:10 . The text is too corrupt for restoration. RV and RVm are each about as satisfactory as any of the numerous attempts at restoration.

Proverbs 26:11 a occurs in 2 Peter 2:22 as part of a saying which is quoted by the author as a “ true proverb.” The quotation, however, is not from the LXX, and seems to be from some popular Aramaic proverb based upon this couplet.

Proverbs 26:13-16 . The Book of Sluggards.

Proverbs 26:13 . cf. Proverbs 22:13.

Proverbs 26:15 . cf. Proverbs 19:24 *.

Proverbs 26:16 . render a reason: rather “ return a sensible answer” ( cf. mg.) . Apparently aimed at the sluggard’ s dislike of any intellectual effort.

Proverbs 26:17-28 . A collection dealing with rash, slanderous, or false speech.

Proverbs 26:17 . by the ears: LXX has the more vivid and appropriate “ by the tail.”

Proverbs 26:21 . coals: sense uncertain. Toy renders “ charcoal.” Perhaps we should read “ bellows.”

Proverbs 26:22 . cf. Proverbs 18:8.

Proverbs 26:23 . RV inverts the order of the clauses. “ Fervent” is lit. “ burning,” which has not in Heb. a metaphorical sense. Read “ smooth” (LXX).

Proverbs 26:28 . hateth . . . wounded: extremely doubtful. Read “ multiplieth crushing”— i.e. causes destruction to many.

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Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Proverbs 26". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". 1919.