Proverbs 26

Listen to Proverbs 26
1 Like snow in summer or 1rain in harvest, so 2honor is 3not fitting for a fool.
2 Like 4a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying, 5a curse that is causeless does not alight.
3 6A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and 7a rod for the back of fools.
4 8Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself.
5 9Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be 10wise in his own eyes.
6 Whoever sends a message by the hand of a fool cuts off his own feet and 11drinks violence.
7 Like a lame man's legs, which hang useless, is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
8 Like one who binds the stone in the sling is 12one who gives honor to a fool.
9 Like 13a thorn that goes up into the hand of a drunkard is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
10 Like an archer who wounds everyone is one who hires a passing fool or drunkard.[a]
11 Like 14a dog that returns to his vomit is 15a fool who repeats his folly.
12 Do you see a man who is 16wise in his own eyes? 17There is more hope for a fool than for him.
13 18The sluggard says, "There is a lion in the road! There is a lion in the streets!"
14 As a door turns on its hinges, so does a sluggard on his bed.
15 19The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; it wears him out to bring it back to his mouth.
16 The sluggard is 20wiser in his own eyes 21than seven men who can answer sensibly.
17 Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears.
18 Like a madman who throws 22firebrands, arrows, and death
19 is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, "I am only joking!"
20 For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no 23whisperer, 24quarreling ceases.
21 As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is 25a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.
22 26The words of 27a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body.
23 28Like the 29glaze[b] covering an earthen vessel are fervent lips with an evil heart.
24 Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart;
25 30when he speaks graciously, believe him not, for there are 31seven abominations in his heart;
26 though his hatred be covered with deception, his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.
27 32Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling.
28 A lying tongue hates its victims, and a flattering mouth works ruin.

Proverbs 26 Commentary

Chapter 26

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 ( proverbs 26:4-5 ) remarks to the man, and address them to his conscience, so as may best end the debate. ( 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, ( 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 ( proverbs 26:18-19 ) must repent in earnest, or his sin will be his ruin. ( 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. ( 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.

Cross References 32

  • 1. [1 Samuel 12:17]
  • 2. [ver. 8]
  • 3. Proverbs 17:7; Proverbs 19:10
  • 4. Proverbs 27:8; Psalms 84:3
  • 5. [Numbers 23:8; Deuteronomy 23:5; 2 Samuel 16:12]
  • 6. [Psalms 32:9]
  • 7. See Proverbs 19:29
  • 8. [2 Samuel 16:11; 2 Kings 18:36; Luke 23:9]
  • 9. See Matthew 16:1-4; Matthew 21:24-27
  • 10. Proverbs 28:11; [Romans 12:16]
  • 11. [Proverbs 13:2; Job 15:16]
  • 12. [ver. 1]
  • 13. [Proverbs 23:35]
  • 14. Cited 2 Peter 2:22
  • 15. [Exodus 8:15]
  • 16. Proverbs 28:11; [Romans 12:16]
  • 17. Proverbs 29:20
  • 18. Proverbs 22:13
  • 19. Proverbs 19:24
  • 20. [See ver. 12 above]
  • 21. [ver. 25; Proverbs 6:16]; See Job 5:19
  • 22. [Isaiah 50:11]
  • 23. Proverbs 16:28
  • 24. Proverbs 22:10
  • 25. See Proverbs 15:18
  • 26. Proverbs 18:8
  • 27. [See ver. 20 above]
  • 28. [Matthew 23:27; Luke 11:39]
  • 29. See Proverbs 25:4
  • 30. See Psalms 28:3
  • 31. [ver. 16]
  • 32. [Proverbs 28:10]; See Psalms 7:15

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Or hires a fool or passersby
  • [b]. By revocalization; Hebrew silver of dross

Chapter Summary


In this chapter is an account of a man of God being sent to exclaim against Jeroboam's altar, and threaten its destruction, of which he gave a sign, which was accomplished, and with it the withering of the king's hand, which was healed upon the prophet's prayer for him, 1Ki 13:1-7, who would have entertained him at his house, but he refused the offer, and departed, 1Ki 13:8-10, but an old prophet in Bethel hearing of him, rode after him, and fetched him back to eat bread with him, through a lie he told him, 1Ki 13:11-19 upon which the word came to the old prophet, threatening the man of God with death for disobeying his command, and which was accordingly executed by a lion that met him in the way, and slew him, 1Ki 13:20-24, of which the old prophet being informed, went and took up his carcass, and buried it in his own sepulchre, where he charged his sons to bury him also when dead, believing that all the man of God had said would be fulfilled, 1Ki 13:25-30 and the chapter is closed with observing the continuance of Jeroboam in his idolatry, 1Ki 13:33,34.

Proverbs 26 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.