1. The incongruities of nature illustrate also those of the moral world. The fool's unworthiness is also implied (Pr 17:7; 19:10).
2. Though not obvious to us,
the bird -- literally, |sparrow| -- and
swallow -- have an object in their motions, so penal evil falls on none without a reason.
3. The rod is as much needed by fools and as well suited to them, as whips and bridles are for beasts.
4, 5. Answer not -- that is, approvingly by like folly.
5. Answer -- by reproof.
6. A fool fails by folly as surely as if he were maimed.
drinketh damage -- that is, gets it abundantly (Job 15:16; 34:7).
7. legs ... equal -- or, |take away the legs,| or |the legs ... are weak.| In any case the idea is that they are the occasion of an awkwardness, such as the fool shows in using a parable or proverb (see Introduction; Pr 17:7).
8. A stone, bound in a sling, is useless; so honor, conferred on a fool, is thrown away.
9. As vexatious and unmanageable as a thorn in a drunkard's hand is a parable to a fool. He will be as apt to misuse is as to use it rightly.
10. Various versions of this are proposed (compare Margin). Better perhaps -- |Much He injures (or literally, |wounds|) all who reward,| &c., that is, society is injured by encouraging evil men.
transgressors -- may be rendered |vagrants.| The word |God| is improperly supplied.
11. returneth ... folly -- Though disgusting to others, the fool delights in his folly.
12. The self-conceited are taught with more difficulty than the stupid.
13. (Compare Pr 22:13).
14. (Compare Pr 6:10; 24:33).
15. (Compare Pr 19:24).
16. The thoughtless being ignorant of their ignorance are conceited.
17. meddleth -- as in Pr 20:19; 24:21; as either holding a dog by the ears or letting him go involves danger, so success in another man's strife or failure involves a useless risk of reputation, does no good, and may do us harm.
18, 19. Such are reckless of results.
20, 21. The talebearers foster (Pr 16:28), and the contentious excite, strife.
22. (Compare Pr 18:8).
23. Warm professions can no more give value to insincerity than silver coating to rude earthenware.
24. dissembleth -- though an unusual sense of the word (compare Margin), is allowable, and better suits the context, which sets forth hypocrisy.
25. Sentiment of Pr 26:24 carried out.
seven abominations in his heart -- that is, very many (compare Pr 24:16).
26, 27. Deceit will at last be exposed, and the wicked by their own arts often bring on retribution (compare Pr 12:13; Ps 7:16; 9:17, &c.).
28. Men hate those they injure.
A lying tongue -- |lips| for the persons (compare Pr 4:24; Ps 12:3).