Proverbs 26 Bible Commentary

Jamieson, Faussett, and Brown

(Read all of Proverbs 26)

Pr 26:1-28.

1. The incongruities of nature illustrate also those of the moral world. The fool's unworthiness is also implied (Pr 17:7; 19:10).

2. Though not obvious to us,
the bird--literally, "sparrow"--and
swallow--have an object in their motions, so penal evil falls on none without a reason.

3. The rod is as much needed by fools and as well suited to them, as whips and bridles are for beasts.

4, 5. Answer not--that is, approvingly by like folly.

5. Answer--by reproof.

6. A fool fails by folly as surely as if he were maimed.
drinketh damage--that is, gets it abundantly (Job 15:16; 34:7).

7. legs . . . equal--or, "take away the legs," or "the legs . . . are weak." In any case the idea is that they are the occasion of an awkwardness, such as the fool shows in using a parable or proverb (see Introduction; Pr 17:7).

8. A stone, bound in a sling, is useless; so honor, conferred on a fool, is thrown away.

9. As vexatious and unmanageable as a thorn in a drunkard's hand is a parable to a fool. He will be as apt to misuse is as to use it rightly.

10. Various versions of this are proposed (compare Margin). Better perhaps--"Much He injures (or literally, "wounds") all who reward," &c., that is, society is injured by encouraging evil men.
transgressors--may be rendered "vagrants." The word "God" is improperly supplied.

11. returneth . . . folly--Though disgusting to others, the fool delights in his folly.

12. The self-conceited are taught with more difficulty than the stupid.

13. (Compare Pr 22:13).

14. (Compare Pr 6:10; 24:33).

15. (Compare Pr 19:24).

16. The thoughtless being ignorant of their ignorance are conceited.

17. meddleth--as in Pr 20:19; 24:21; as either holding a dog by the ears or letting him go involves danger, so success in another man's strife or failure involves a useless risk of reputation, does no good, and may do us harm.

18, 19. Such are reckless of results.

20, 21. The talebearers foster (Pr 16:28), and the contentious excite, strife.

22. (Compare Pr 18:8).

23. Warm professions can no more give value to insincerity than silver coating to rude earthenware.

24. dissembleth--though an unusual sense of the word (compare Margin), is allowable, and better suits the context, which sets forth hypocrisy.

25. Sentiment of Pr 26:24 carried out.
seven abominations in his heart--that is, very many (compare Pr 24:16).

26, 27. Deceit will at last be exposed, and the wicked by their own arts often bring on retribution (compare Pr 12:13; Ps 7:16; 9:17, &c.).

28. Men hate those they injure.
A lying tongue--"lips" for the persons (compare Pr 4:24; Ps 12:3).