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Proverbs 26

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1 As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honour is not seemly for a fool.

2 As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.

3 A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool’s back.

4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

6 He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool cutteth off the feet, and drinketh damage.

7 The legs of the lame are not equal: so is a parable in the mouth of fools.

8 As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honour to a fool.

9 As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouths of fools.

10 The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors.

11 As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.

12 Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.

13 The slothful man saith, There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets.

14 As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed.

15 The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom; it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth.

16 The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.

17 He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears.

18 As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death,

19 So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?

20 Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.

21 As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.

22 The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.

23 Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross.

24 He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him;

25 When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart.

26 Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation.

27 Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.

28 A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Glory and power. A fool in a high office will endanger himself and the public; (C.) while the virtuous, seeing that merit is not regarded, will not push themselves forward. Æschines.

Ver. 2. As a bird, &c. The meaning is, that a curse uttered without cause shall do no harm to the person that is cursed, but will return upon him that curseth; as whithersoever a bird flies, it returns to its own nest. Ch. — Come. Chal. “shall not come in vain,” if it be just, like that of Noe, Josue, &c. Heb. “shall not come” (C.) to the person against whom it is uttered, though God will not hold the curser guiltless, as the Vulg. intimates. H. Curses, anathemas, &c. vented without reason, do not injure any but those who denounce them. Yet out of respect for ecclesiastical authority, those who are under censures, must abstain from their functions till they be absolved. C.

Ver. 3. Snaffle. “Bit,” or muzzle, (camus) to prevent the animal from biting. H. — Sept. Arab. &c. “a goad for an ass.” But metheg denotes a bridle. (Mont. H.) asses being there very large, and commonly used for riding. C. xiii. 13. C.

Ver. 4. Answer not a fool, &c. Viz. so as to imitate him; but only so as to reprove his folly. Ch. — If thou answer at all, (v. 5.) do it to the purpose, and to prevent others from taking scandal, (C.) as well as to humble the wicked, for his good. H.

Ver. 6. Iniquity. He is exposed to shame, (Sept.) and must condemn his own folly. C.

Ver. 7. Fair. Heb. “unequal legs,” or “lifted up,” so, &c. H.

Ver. 8. Mercury. The god of travellers, who were wont to throw a stone at the foot of his statue, as the Indians (Vincent. Bellor. xxiv.) and Arabs did. Mahomet would not disturb this superstitious custom. The Rabbins style these statues Mercolis. But Sept. &c. give another sense, “as he that bindeth a stone (C.) in the boss of a ring, sphendone, (M.) or in a sling,” can do no good, but only endanger himself or others, “so,” &c. Yet margema is never used elsewhere for a sling, and it means undoubtedly “a heap of stones,” (C.) as Mont. substitutes instead of “the sling,” in Pagn. “As a small piece of precious stone in a heap of stones is lost, so,” &c. Pole. Syn. Parkhurst in rogom. H. — Honour, or an office, in which he may do harm. C.

Ver. 9. If. Heb. “as a thorn goeth up into the,” &c. Prot. H. — If he attempt to handle or to extract one, he will wound himself the more, as the fool would render truth and wisdom contemptible. C. — Parable. Sept. “but slavery in the hands of fools” groweth up. H.

Ver. 10. Anger, and prevent lawsuits. Heb. is variously read and translated. C. — Prot. “the great God, that formed all things, both rewardeth the fool and rewardeth the transgressors.” Marg. “a great man giveth all, and he hireth the fool,” &c. Sept. “all the flesh of fools is exposed to many storms, for their excess is punished.” H.

Ver. 11. Dog. This is the only animal which is known to do so. S. Peter uses this comparison to deter any from renouncing the faith; as the Fathers do, to shew the misery attending a relapse. Sept. here add, “there is a confusion,” &c. taken from Eccli. iv. 25. C.

Ver. 12. Fool. The ignorant may be convinced that he wants instruction. C. — But “none are worse than the half-learned.” Quintil. i. Jo. v. 21.

Ver. 14. Bed, which he will scarcely leave, though avarice push him forward. S. Aug. ser. xxii. or clxiv.

Ver. 16. Seven, or many wise men, who used to speak in a sententious manner. C. — So seven is used, v. 25.

Ver. 17. Anger. Heb. “passeth by, and meddleth with a quarrel not ot him” pertaining. H. — Such expose themselves foolishly to danger. Great discretion is requisite to reconcile those at variance.

Ver. 19. Jest. He will not escape, no more than the person who had committed murder involuntarily, if he were not in a city of refuge. Num. xxxv. 22.

Ver. 20. Faileth. Heb. Sym. C. “aboundeth, the fire is bright, or flourisheth.” Sept. H.

Ver. 23. Dross. Hence the proud will be detested, and appear contemptible.

Ver. 24. Lips. He will speak of what he hates much.

Ver. 26. Deceitfully. Heb. “in desolation.” He will cringe, but when he finds an opportunity, he will discover his evil designs. C.

Ver. 27. Him. “Bad advice is worst to him who gives it.” Varro. Rust. iii. 22.