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Under various similitudes, the Proverbs are continued to shew the wisdom of the wise, and the sad conduct of foolish men.
Proverbs 26:1-9 As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honour is not seemly for a fool. As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come. A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool's back. Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit. He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool cutteth off the feet, and drinketh damage. 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 giveth honour to a fool. As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools.
Every one of these parables, no doubt, hath a very significant and pointed meaning, But, so very different is the plan and stile of the oriental method of writing, compared to ours, that it is not very easy to discover the exact reference. One elucidation may, however, serve to throw a light upon many. The inequality of the legs of the lame should seem to imply, how unsuited mingled things in religion are in general; and especially in things which have reference to divine truths. Thus, for example, if the preachers of the gospel mingle things of human merit with divine excellency, and join creature-works with Christ's salvation; here is a vast disproportion, a lameness from in equality. And by a parity of reasoning, the same may be spiritually applied to the other proverbs.
The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors. As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly. Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him. The slothful man saith, There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets. As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed. The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom; it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth. The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason. He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears. As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport? Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth. As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife. The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly. Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross. He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him; When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart. Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation. Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him. A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.
I do not think it necessary to enlarge the volume by offering any comment upon what is here said. If read with a spiritual eye to Christ and his gospel, they are all, more or less, capable of conveying much instruction. And, under this point of view, I would recommend the book of Proverbs to the Reader. Proverbs 1:6
If the Reader discovers Jesus in the midst of these verses, he will find what the wise man hath elsewhere observed, and with truth is found to be the case, that his name is as ointment poured forth. The discovery of his Person, and the apprehension of his character, relations, and offices, by faith, hath a blessed effect to endear the scriptures to our hearts. And indeed without this discovery, what can we be said to learn in a way of salvation. And Reader! whether we discover him or not, depend upon it here Jesus is. Christ is in all, and through all, and with all. He fills the whole in the church, the word, the promises, and the hearts of his people. Lord! open mine eyes to see the wonderous things of thy law. Open mine heart to feel the full influences of thy grace. Be thou the sum and substance of all my pursuits and desires: and be thou formed in my heart the hope of glory.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Proverbs 26". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20