1. The incongruities of nature illustrate also
those of the moral world. The fool's unworthiness is also implied
2. Though not obvious to us,
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
5. Answer—by reproof.
6. A fool fails by folly as surely as if he
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,
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,
28. Men hate those they injure.
A lying tongue—"lips" for the persons
(compare Pr 4:24; Ps 12:3).