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Proverbs 26:8

Proverbs 26:8

As he that bindeth a stone in a sling
That so fastens it to it that it cannot be slung out of it, it becomes useless and does not answer the end for which it is put there; or that places it there that it may be cast out, and is cast out, and so is thrown away, and of no more use; or that puts a precious stone, so some interpret it, in a heap of common stones, even in such a heap as is used at the stoning of malefactors; or increases the heap of stones on such, which the more exposes them, and the greater reproach they are loaded with; so the more a fool is praised, it does but bring to mind his folly, and issues in his greater disgrace, so Gussetius F15: or rather it has respect to a precious stone put in such a heap of stones, as Luther; or else, according to Schultens, to such an one put into a heap of sepulchral stones; or, as Aben Ezra, that binds up a stone, a common stone, in purple, which to do is ridiculous, so R. Joseph Kimchi; the Vulgate Latin version renders it,

``as he that casts a stone to Mercury's heap;''
a Heathen deity, called by the eastern people Mertholin and Margenah {p}, which last is near the same with the Hebrew word here used; whose statue was set up where two or more ways met, to direct travellers; and who therefore out of respect to the deity, and to show gratitude to him, used to cast a stone to the heap for the support of it; and which stones, set up in such doubtful places, were dedicated to him, and were called after his name F17; and not only travellers did this in honour of the deity, and to make his statue more manifest F18, but also for profit, to clear the way from stones; and this custom obtained with the Indians, Arabs, Saracens, and now does with the Mahometans F19: and such heaps of stones were also placed in cities, and at the doors of houses, in honour of Mercury, and were called from him Hermae F20; these stones were also erected for borders of countries F21. But it is not probable that this custom obtained in Solomon's time; and yet some Jewish writers interpret it to this sense, as if he that gives honour to a fool is like him that casts a stone to Mercury; and Jarchi in the text observes it as the sense of some of their Rabbins,
``that he that teacheth the law to a disciple that is not fit, is as he that casts a stone to Mercury;''
and to cast a stone to Mercury is with them the same as to commit idolatry F23; but either of the former senses is best; so [is] he that giveth honour to a fool;
it is all thrown away and lost, as a stone out of a sling; or as unseemly as to put a precious stone among a heap of stones, or a common stone in purple; (See Gill on Proverbs 26:1).
FOOTNOTES:

F15 Ebr. Comment. p. 777.
F16 D. Herbert de Chefbury d. Relig Gent. c. 7. p. 58.
F17 Suidas in voce (ermaion) .
F18 Phurnutus de Natura Deorum, p. 33.
F19 Vid. D. Herbert de Cherbury, ut supra, p. 59.
F20 Cornel. Nepot. Vit. Alcibiad. l. 7. c. 3.
F21 Pausan. Corinth. sive, l. 2. p. 157.
F23 Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 7. s. 6. & Maimon. in ib.
Read Proverbs 26:8