Friday, August 26, 2022
Fools Recycle Silliness
26 We no more give honors to fools
than pray for snow in summer or rain during harvest.
2 You have as little to fear from an undeserved curse
as from a wren’s dart or a swallow’s swoop.
3 A whip for the racehorse, a tiller for the sailboat—
and a stick for the back of fools!
4 Don’t respond to the stupidity of a fool;
you’ll only look foolish yourself.
5 Answer a fool in simple terms
so he doesn’t get a swelled head.
-Proverbs 26:1-5 The Message
26 Like snow in summer or rain in harvest,
so honor is not fitting for a fool.
2 Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying,
a causeless curse does not alight.
3 A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey,
and a rod for the back of fools.
4 Answer not a fool according to his folly,
lest you be like him yourself.
5 Answer a fool according to his folly,
lest he is wise in his own eyes.
-Proverbs 26:1-5 ESV
Verse 1 study: The perceptible orderliness of nature should parallel society’s educated guess of human nature.
Verse 2 study: Curses don’t have the power to afflict someone innocent. This type of curse has meaning only as an expression of divine retribution. A curse has no purpose if it has no effect.
Verses 4-5 studies: These two verses seem to contradict each other. But the writer is saying we shouldn’t take foolish people seriously. This will only make them proud and determined to win the argument. It’s an empty argument, not worth the fight. In some situations, you shouldn’t try to answer a fool. There is no way you can get inside their closed mind. You could be stepping to their level if you choose to respond. Fools will abuse you, and you will be tempted to harm them. In other situations, common sense tells you to answer when you have to expose a fool’s pride and folly.
These verses also illustrate that no proverb is intended to cover every possible situation. The contradiction in these proverbs shows that proverbs should be applied suitably. One situation demands we should avoid playing the fool’s game by giving an answer, while another demand that we expose the folly that the fool is not considered wise.
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