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Bible Commentaries
Proverbs 26

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verse 1


(Proverbs 26)

Do Not Honor Fools

Verse 1 declares that honor, accorded fools, is as unseasonable as snow in summer and as harmful as rain in the harvest season. Such would both damage crops, ready for harvest, and impede the gathering of such, Vs 8; Proverbs 17:7; Proverbs 24:7.

Verse 2

Vain Curses

Verse 2 emphasizes the folly of attempts to cast a curse upon another. Such is as ineffective as the bird that flits harmlessly hither and yon, Numbers 23:8; Nehemiah 13:2; 1 Samuel 17:4; 2 Samuel 16:5; 2 Samuel 16:12. The reference to the "curse causeless" distinguishes "evil" attempts to curse from the judgments God permitted Elisha, Jotham, etc., to pronounce upon wicked persons, Judges 9:7-57; 2 Kings 2:23-24.

Verse 3

A Rod For the Fool

Verse 3 suggests that as the horse and ass which lack understanding require bridle and whip, so the fool requires the rod of correction, Proverbs 10:13. Psalms 32:9 admonishes man to be not as the horse or mule, but rather heed the instruction with which the LORD seeks to guide him, Psalms 32:8. To ignore this admonition is foolish indeed, Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 10:21; Proverbs 14:9; Proverbs 9:6; Proverbs 1:29-32.

Verses 4-5

To Answer or Not Answer A Fool

Verse 4 directs that the fool not be answered when it is evident he has no interest in truth, is concerned only in debating the unreasonable, or desires to provoke you to anger, Proverbs 23:9; Proverbs 29:9; Romans 12:17; 1 Peter 2:21-23.

Verse 5 directs that the fool be answered when there is reason to hope such will help him, or reason to think, silence will be regarded as weakness of your cause and contribute to his conceit, Matthew 16:1-4; Matthew 21:24-27; Proverbs 3:7; Proverbs 28:11; Romans 12:16.

Verse 6

When A Fool Is Messenger

Verse 6-See comment on Proverbs 13:17

Verses 7-11

More About Fools

Verses 7 and 9 both suggest by parables that the fool is ill-equipped to instruct. He is as awkward as one with unequal legs; and as likely to harm himself or others as a drunkard waving a thorny branch, Proverbs 12:23; Proverbs 15:2; Ecclesiastes 10:3.

Verse 8 emphasizes the folly of honoring a fool; to do so is as ridiculous as binding a stone in the sling from which it is ordinarily thrown, Proverbs 15:14; Proverbs 18:2.

Verse 10 is unclear. AV has supplied the word God in line 1, but various translators agree that God is not in the Hebrew text. It is unquestionable that God will judge both fools and transgressors, Proverbs 1:29-32.

Verse 11 declares that a fool reveals his true nature by his disgusting practices, as surely as the dog shows his nature by his actions, Exodus 8:8; Exodus 8:15; Mark 6:20-27; 2 Peter 2:22.

Verse 12

Worse Than A Fool.

Verse 12 affirms that the man who is wise in his own conceit is so dominated by that which has ill consequences; the dismal prospects of the fool are more hopeful than his, 2 Chronicles 26:15-21; Isaiah 31:1; Jeremiah 17:5; Daniel 5:22-23; Daniel 5:30; 1 Corinthians 10:12.

Verses 13-16

The Slothful Man

Verse 13 reveals the tendency of the slothful (lazy) man to find excuses for not going out to work. He declares there is a dangerous lion in the street. The lazy man finds many obstacles, imaginary or real, to justify failure to get out and work for bread, or for the even greater responsibility of the LORD’s work, Proverbs 20:4; Proverbs 22:13; Ecclesiastes 10:18; Romans 12:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:11; Hebrews 6:12.

Verse 14 emphasizes the unproductive effort of the slothful pictured by the door which swings back and forth but goes nowhere; and the man’s frequent turnings in the bed because of prolonged occupancy, Proverbs 6:9-10; Proverbs 21:25.

Verse 15 describes the ultimate of laziness by the man too lazy to reach into the common dish for food (see comment on Proverbs 19:24). This verse also suggests the failure of many today to feed on the Word of God, so necessary to spiritual life and service, Matthew 4:4; John 6:51; 1 Peter 2:2.

Verse 16 concludes the portrait of the sluggard with the sad truth that despite his many deficiencies, he thinks he is so smart his opinions are better than those of wise men who have valid reasons for their judgments. (The biblical seven in this verse signifies completeness - the sluggard thinks he knows more than all others), Isaiah 31:1; Jeremiah 17:5; 1 Corinthians 10:12.

Verse 17

Meddling In Strife of Others

Verse 17 suggests that a stranger who intrudes into the strife of others is as unwise as one who takes a vicious dog by the ears. If he lets the dog go, he is apt to be bitten; if he continues to hold him, nothing else can be accomplished, Proverbs 3:30; Proverbs 17:14; Proverbs 20:3; 2 Thessalonians 3:11; 1 Peter 4:15.

Verses 18-19


Verses 18-19 condemn deceptive jests or mischievous pranks that deceive or harm friends and neighbors. A lie is a lie even if spoken in jest. To act thus is likened to the reckless casting of firebrands or shooting arrows without regard to who or what they may hit, Ephesians 5:4.

Verses 20-21

The Cause of Strife

Verses 20-21 affirm that it is the tale-bearer and the contentious who cause strife; without them to start and feed dissension, this problem would not exist, Proverbs 3:30; Proverbs 17:14; Proverbs 20:3; Philippians 2:3, James 3:16.

Verse 22

Wounds of the Tale Bearer

Verse 22- See comment on Proverbs 18:8

Verses 23-28

The Deceitful Hater

Verse 23 uses the practice of coating drab earthenware with a shining glaze to contrast the hypocrisy of fervent lips (disguised fair speech) with the wicked heart revealed in verses 24-26.

Verses 24-26 declares that he who hates hides such with fair speech; but in his heart plots deceitful and harmful acts against the hated one. Although he speaks fair, his heart is filled with abominations. Verse 26b reveals, however, that God is watching and his wickedness will eventually be exposed.

Verse 27 emphasizes that not only exposure but also retribution comes eventually upon one who deceitfully plots evil against another, Proverbs 28:10; Psalms 7:15-16; Psalms 9:15-16; Psalms 57:6; Ecclesiastes 10:8; Ezra 7:10; Daniel 6:4-24.

Verse 28 concludes these related verses by emphasizing that the lying tongue of the hater effects the wounding of the hated; and that it was accomplished by "lying flattery." Proverbs 20:19; Proverbs 29:5; admonish all to beware of flattery; Proverbs 12:22; Proverbs 19:5; Proverbs 19:9; Proverbs 21:6; and Psalms 12:3 have stern warnings for liars and flatterers.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Proverbs 26". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/proverbs-26.html. 1985.
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