Proverbs 26 Commentary

Fools and troublemakers (26:1-28)

Only a fool honours a fool, and only a fool curses another without cause. Such a curse cannot come true (26:1-2). People with wisdom know on which occasions to ignore a fool and on which occasions to answer him (3-5). Fools cannot be trusted. For them, proverbs are as useless as paralysed legs, and honour is as useless as a stone tied to the sling that is supposed to throw it out (6-8). Fools with a little knowledge can be dangerous. As employees, they can create trouble for their fellow workers. But a conceited person is worse than a fool (9-12).

Always making excuses, too lazy to get out of bed or help themselves, lazy people nevertheless think they know everything (13-16). All communities have their troublemakers: busybodies (17); double- talkers who, when they see the damage they have done, say they were only joking (18-19); gossips, without whom many quarrels would have ended long ago (20-22); and smooth talkers whose pleasant words hide their evil intentions (23-26). Having ruined others, the troublemakers finally ruin themselves (27-28).

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