Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, April 17th, 2024
the Third Week after Easter
Take your personal ministry to the Next Level by helping StudyLight build churches and supporting pastors in Uganda.
Click here to join the effort!

Bible Commentaries
Proverbs 26

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-28

Shall we turn now to Proverbs 26:1-28 to begin our study this evening.

The first twelve verses of Proverbs 26:1-28 we trust doesn't apply to any of you tonight, because it's sort of addressed towards fools.

As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honor is not seemly for a fool ( Proverbs 26:1 ).

The thing about snow in summer and rain in harvest is that they are just out of place. So honor is out of place for a fool. So it's just something that is out of place.

As the bird by wandering, and as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come ( Proverbs 26:2 ).

The swallow's flight seems to be quite erratic. The word translated bird is the word for sparrow, and the idea is that if a person tries to curse you without a cause, don't worry about it. It's not going to be fulfilled or come to pass anyhow. A lot of people are worried because someone's threatened to put a curse on them or this kind of thing. You don't have to worry about that. A curse causeless will not come. Now that doesn't say anything about if you deserve one. But a curse causeless shall not come.

A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool's back ( Proverbs 26:3 ).

So he didn't have much regard for the fool.

The next two seem to be inconsistent.

Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him ( Proverbs 26:4 ).

In other words, don't really engage in an argument with a fool. It's a waste of time. There are some people you just should never argue with. So don't answer the fool according to his folly. They make some fool remark and if you make some fool remark back, you're answering the fool according to his folly and he begins to classify you in his category.

The next one, as I say, it seems to be saying the opposite thing, but in reality it doesn't.

Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit ( Proverbs 26:5 ).

In other words, if you answer a fool, answer him according to the folly that he has declared, putting down the statement that he has made. Lest he thinks, "Oh, I'm very wise," and he's wise in his own conceit. So if you answer the fool, answer him according to the folly that he has declared. In other words, correcting the folly that he has declared, lest he think himself wise.

He that sends a message by the hand of a fool cuts off the feet, and drinks damage ( Proverbs 26:6 ).

In other words, you're just... what value is it?

The legs of the lame are not equal: so is a parable in the mouth of fools. As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that gives honor to the fool ( Proverbs 26:7-8 ).

Now, it would be stupid to bind the stone in a sling. You know, you put your stone in there and then if you wrap it all up and tie the stone in there. You could swing that thing forever and the stone's not going to let go. So it would be a very ridiculous thing to do is to bind the stone in your sling. But it is also ridiculous to give honor to a fool.

As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so is the parable in the mouth of fools ( Proverbs 26:9 ).

Now it is thought that this, "As a thorn goeth up in the hand of the drunkard" doesn't mean that a drunkard is pierced by a thorn and doesn't realize it, but a drunkard with a thorn or something in his hand could be a very dangerous person, because he's not really responsible for his actions. He's got a thorn in his hand. It makes him a dangerous person. So that a parable in the mouth of a fool can be a very dangerous thing.

The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors ( Proverbs 26:10 ).

In other words, they will get their just dues in time.

As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool returns to his folly ( Proverbs 26:11 ).

Peter seems to make reference to this particular verse in Job 2:22 .

Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? ( Proverbs 26:12 )

Now we said all these things about fools. But there's only one who's worse off than a fool: a man who is wise in his own conceit. "See thou a man who is wise in his own conceit?"

there is more hope for a fool than of him ( Proverbs 26:12 ).

So you think that maybe these first eleven verses were sort of the buildup for verse Proverbs 26:12 . In other words, by the time you get to verse Proverbs 26:11 and all of the things for which a fool is of no value and all, then you get to the verse Proverbs 26:12 and there's one thing worse and that's a man wise in his own conceit.

Now he turns from the fool to the slothful man. And as you have noticed through the Proverbs, we've had a lot to say about fools, a lot to say about the slothful, the lazy person.

The slothful man saith, There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets ( Proverbs 26:13 ).

We had one similar to that in our considerations last week. In other words, any excuse to keep from going to work. "Oh, there's a lion out there. He might eat me if I try to go to work today."

I think that the next one is a very picturesque, very picturesque.

As the door turns upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed ( Proverbs 26:14 ).

Rolling over and taking a few more. And this is the height of laziness. I mean, you can't get any...when you get this bad, you're soon gone.

The slothful hides his hand in his bosom; it grieves him to bring it again to his mouth ( Proverbs 26:15 ).

Man, you're so lazy you can't even get your hand to your mouth anymore; you've about had it. Your laziness has about done you in.

The sixteenth verse:

The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men who can give you a reason ( Proverbs 26:16 ).

In other words, how blind is a person wise in his own conceit. He thinks himself actually wiser than seven men who can render a reason.

Verse Proverbs 26:17 :

He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife that he has no business in, is like one who will take a dog by the ears ( Proverbs 26:17 ).

I mean, you're going to get into trouble.

As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, so is the man that deceives his neighbor, and says, Hey, aren't I a sport? ( Proverbs 26:18-19 )

As a madman who just shoots fire darts, arrows, and death, he's like a man deceives his neighbor and then says, "Hey, what a sport."

Where no wood is, the fire goes out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceases ( Proverbs 26:20 ).

Proverbs has a lot to say against bearing tales.

As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife ( Proverbs 26:21 ).

Now, if you want to light coals, one of the best ways to light coals is to set it beside the burning coals. Coals are sort of hard to ignite unless you set them by burning coals. If you add wood to a fire that is going, it is easily kindled. And this is the idea. "As coals to burning coals, wood to fire; so is a contentious man." He just adds to the strife. He kindles the strife.

The words of a talebearer are as wounds, they go down into the innermost parts of the belly. Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross ( Proverbs 26:22-23 ).

Now the silver dross was a leaden substance that they would put over their claypots to give them a glaze, a shininess. And it looks better than it really is. It looks like it's really valuable, but it's nothing but a claypot that is covered with this lead oxide or lead silver dross. It's a leaden kind of a material. So burning lips, a wicked heart.

He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and lays up deceit within him; When he speaks fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart. Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be showed before the whole congregation ( Proverbs 26:24-26 ).

So the dissembler. The hater who with his lips dissembles. Lays up deceit.

Whoso digs a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolls a stone, it will return upon him ( Proverbs 26:27 ).

Your sins will come back to you. Be sure your sins will find you out.

A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin ( Proverbs 26:28 ).

How many people have been ruined by the flattering mouth.


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Proverbs 26". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/proverbs-26.html. 2014.
adsFree icon
Ads FreeProfile