Proverbs 26

1 Like snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honor is not fitting for a fool.
2 Like a fluttering sparrow, like a darting swallow, so the undeserved curse doesn’t come to rest.
3 A whip is for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the back of fools!
4 Don’t answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him.
5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.
6 One who sends a message by the hand of a fool is cutting off his own feet and drinking violence.
7 Like the legs of the lame that hang loose: so is a parable in the mouth of fools.
8 As one who binds a stone in a sling, so is he who gives honor to a fool.
9 Like a thorn bush that goes into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools.
10 As an archer who wounds all, so is he who hires a fool or he who hires those who pass by.
11 As a dog that returns to his vomit, so is a fool who repeats his folly.
12 Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
13 The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road! A fierce lion roams the streets!”
14 As the door turns on its hinges, so does the sluggard on his bed.
15 The sluggard buries his hand in the dish. He is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth.
16 The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who answer with discretion.
17 Like one who grabs a dog’s ears is one who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own.
18 Like a madman who shoots torches, arrows, and death,
19 is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, “Am I not joking?”
20 For lack of wood a fire goes out. Without gossip, a quarrel dies down.
21 As coals are to hot embers, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindling strife.
22 The words of a whisperer are as dainty morsels, they go down into the innermost parts.
23 Like silver dross on an earthen vessel are the lips of a fervent one with an evil heart.
24 A malicious man disguises himself with his lips, but he harbors evil in his heart.
25 When his speech is charming, don’t believe him; for there are seven abominations in his heart.
26 His malice may be concealed by deception, but his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.
27 Whoever digs a pit shall fall into it. Whoever rolls a stone, it will come back on him.
28 A lying tongue hates those it hurts; and a flattering mouth works ruin.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verse 1

Honour is out of season to those unworthy and unfit for it.

Verse 2

He that is cursed without cause, the curse shall do him no more harm than the bird that flies over his head.

Verse 3

Every creature must be dealt with according to its nature, but careless and profligate sinners never will be ruled by reason and persuasion. Man indeed is born like the wild ass’s colt; but some, by the grace of God, are changed.

Verses 4, 5

We are to fit our remarks to the man, and address them to his conscience, so as may best end the debate.

Verses 6–9

Fools are not fit to be trusted, nor to have any honour. Wise sayings, as a foolish man delivers and applies them, lose their usefulness.

Verse 10

This verse may either declare how the Lord, the Creator of all men, will deal with sinners according to their guilt, or, how the powerful among men should disgrace and punish the wicked.

Verse 11

The dog is a loathsome emblem of those sinners who return to their vices, 2Pe 2:22.

Verse 12

We see many a one who has some little sense, but is proud of it. This describes those who think their spiritual state to be good, when really it is very bad.

Verse 13

The slothful man hates every thing that requires care and labour. But it is foolish to frighten ourselves from real duties by fancied difficulties. This may be applied to a man slothful in the duties of religion.

Verse 14

Having seen the slothful man in fear of his work, here we find him in love with his ease. Bodily ease is the sad occasion of many spiritual diseases. He does not care to get forward with his business. Slothful professors turn thus. The world and the flesh are hinges on which they are hung; and though they move in a course of outward services, yet they are not the nearer to heaven.

Verse 15

The sluggard is now out of his bed, but he might have lain there, for any thing he is likely to bring to pass in his work. It is common for men who will not do their duty, to pretend they cannot. Those that are slothful in religion, will not be at the pains to feed their souls with the bread of life, nor to fetch in promised blessings by prayer.

Verse 16

He that takes pains in religion, knows he is working for a good Master, and that his labour shall not be in vain.

Verse 17

To make ourselves busy in other men’s matters, is to thrust ourselves into temptation.

Verses 18, 19

He that sins in jest, must repent in earnest, or his sin will be his ruin.

Verses 20–22

Contention heats the spirit, and puts families and societies into a flame. And that fire is commonly kindled and kept burning by whisperers and backbiters.

Verse 23

A wicked heart disguising itself, is like a potsherd covered with the dross of silver.

Verses 24–26

Always distrust when a man speaks fair unless you know him well. Satan, in his temptations, speaks fair, as he did to Eve; but it is madness to give credit to him.

Verse 27

What pains men take to do mischief to others! but it is digging a pit, it is rolling a stone, hard work; and they prepare mischief to themselves.

Verse 28

There are two sorts of lies equally detestable. A slandering lie, the mischief of this every body sees. A flattering lie, which secretly works ruin. A wise man will be more afraid of a flatterer than of a slanderer.

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