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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Proverbs 26

 

 

Introduction

Section IV., Proverbs 25-29.—The title of this section adds to the tradition of a Solomonic collection of proverbs the further tradition of literary activity in the time of Hezekiah. The same general considerations hold good of this section as of Proverbs 10-24. (See Introduction.) It also shows signs of compilation, and falls into two divisions: (a) Proverbs 25:2 to Proverbs 27:22, and (b) Proverbs 28 f., separated by a discourse in Proverbs 27:23-27.


Verses 1-28

Proverbs 26:1-12. The Book of Fools.—A section containing a series of synthetic couplets dealing with folly (except Proverbs 26:2). The text is unusually corrupt and defective.

Proverbs 26:1. For the opposite use of snow in harvest cf. Proverbs 25:13*.

Proverbs 26:2. Directed against the superstitious belief in the magical value of a curse. The simile refers to the aimless wandering of a bird, and is not to be compared with the flying roll of curses in Zechariah 5:1-4.

Proverbs 26:4 f. An antithetic quatrain enjoining the right method of answering a fool—not to descend to the fool's level, yet to make him conscious of his folly.

Proverbs 26:6. damage: inaccurate. The word means "violence," and the phrase "drinketh violence" usually means to practise or delight in violence, which is not the sense required here.

Proverbs 26:8 a is very uncertain. RV is much less probable than RVm, to give honour to a fool is as absurd as to fasten a stone firmly in a sling.

Proverbs 26:9. Another couplet on the fool's inability to use the mshl.

Proverbs 26:9 a is very improbable, although supported in exegesis by a reference to the drunkard's insensibility to pain in Proverbs 23:35. It is better to interpret "thorn" as "thorn bush" (cf. 2 Kings 14:9). Then we have the figure of a drunkard armed with a thorn-spiked bough as the comparison for a fool's use of the mshl.

Proverbs 26:10. The text is too corrupt for restoration. RV and RVm are each about as satisfactory as any of the numerous attempts at restoration.

Proverbs 26:11 a occurs in 2 Peter 2:22 as part of a saying which is quoted by the author as a "true proverb." The quotation, however, is not from the LXX, and seems to be from some popular Aramaic proverb based upon this couplet.

Proverbs 26:13-16. The Book of Sluggards.

Proverbs 26:13. cf. Proverbs 22:13.

Proverbs 26:15. cf. Proverbs 19:24*.

Proverbs 26:16. render a reason: rather "return a sensible answer" (cf. mg.). Apparently aimed at the sluggard's dislike of any intellectual effort.

Proverbs 26:17-28. A collection dealing with rash, slanderous, or false speech.

Proverbs 26:17. by the ears: LXX has the more vivid and appropriate "by the tail."

Proverbs 26:21. coals: sense uncertain. Toy renders "charcoal." Perhaps we should read "bellows."

Proverbs 26:22. cf. Proverbs 18:8.

Proverbs 26:23. RV inverts the order of the clauses. "Fervent" is lit. "burning," which has not in Heb. a metaphorical sense. Read "smooth" (LXX).

Proverbs 26:28. hateth . . . wounded: extremely doubtful. Read "multiplieth crushing"—i.e. causes destruction to many.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/proverbs-26.html. 1919.

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Thursday, December 5th, 2019
the First Week of Advent
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