PROVERBS LESSON 41
We will begin this lesson in Proverbs 26:1 "As snow in summer,
and as rain in harvest, so honour is not seemly for a fool."
We know that snow in summer is completely out of place and rain
in harvest can ruin the crop. We know that it is completely out of
place for a fool to be honored.
Proverbs 26:2 "As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by
flying, so the curse causeless shall not come."
We see, here, that a curse that is spoken without any foundation
for the curse will not be harmful upon the one it is spoken. If any
harm at all comes, it will be on the person who spoke it. The "bird"
above has no particular place to go (wandering) and so is this curse
without a cause.
Proverbs 26:3 "A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a
rod for the fool's back."
In all cases, these are used to try to control. The whip controls
the horse. The bridle controls the ass and makes it go where it
should. The rod of correction is to control the behavior of the fool.
Proverbs 26:4 "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest
thou also be like unto him."
Have you ever heard someone say, "That doesn't deserve an
answer"? That is about what this is saying here. the question is
perhaps intended to trap you. At any rate, a foolish question does not
become more wise by giving a foolish answer. You see, to answer his
ridiculous question would be as if you are saying this is a worthwhile
Proverbs 26:5 "Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be
wise in his own conceit."
This seems like a direct contrast to verse four, but on a closer
look it is quite the opposite. You must be very careful how you
answer. As we said above, whatever you do, you must not give the
impression that this foolish question deserves an answer. The only
reason to answer at all is to show him not to be conceited.
Proverbs 26:6 "He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool
cutteth off the feet, [and] drinketh damage."
A fool will not take the correct message that you sent, but will
cause you so much pain with an incorrect message that you will wish
you had never sent him. The damage he might do could be unrepairable.
The "cut of the feet expression" just shows how useless it is to
employ someone who is a fool to carry a message.
Proverbs 26:7 "The legs of the lame are not equal: so [is] a
parable in the mouth of fools."
This is just re-emphasizing how slanted the message would be that
a fool would bring. He would not be able to understand the parable and
would bring a slanted message, leaning to one side or the other like a
Proverbs 26:8 "As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so [is] he
that giveth honour to a fool."
If you bind the stone to the sling, the stone cannot be flung and
will never reach the mark. Honor given to a fool is undeserved and is
very fleeting in nature. A fool is soon found out, and it would bring
shame on the fool and on the one who bestowed the honor because of his
poor judgement. The fool somehow never is able to hit the mark.
Proverbs 26:9 "[As] a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard,
so [is] a parable in the mouth of fools."
A drunkard takes no care at all and injures himself without even
knowing it. This is exactly what is being said of the fool explaining
a parable. He injures himself severely in telling it and is so caught
up in himself that he is not aware that he has injured himself. Just
as the alcohol has dulled the pain of the thorn, pride has dulled the
senses of the fool.
Proverbs 26:10 "The great [God] that formed all [things] both
rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors."
Jesus is the Judge of all, the just and the unjust
(transgressors). We have mentioned so many times in all these lessons
St. John chapter one that tells that the word (Jesus) created all
things. So we know the rewarder is Jesus. The reward, here mentioned,
is not a good one. The transgressor, unrepentant, is headed for an
eternity in hell, and the fool who has turned down salvation is headed
there, too. The reward of the righteous is eternal life.
Proverbs 26:11 "As a dog returneth to his vomit, [so] a fool
returneth to his folly."
Just as a dog is never through with the food that he has expelled
and goes back to it, a fool who has momentarily rejected sin in his
life, will return to it, as well. A fool must become wise to get rid
of sin and stay rid of the sin. A fool will be enticed to sin the
same sin all over again as his flesh calls him, because he has not
learned anything from the first sin.
Proverbs 26:12 "Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? [there
is] more hope of a fool than of him."
The worst thing about someone wise in his own conceit is that he
feels that he needs no improvement. He is in deep sin and is unaware
of his need for help. At least a fool knows that things are not
perfect with him. The fool, who realizes he is a fool, can be helped;
but to feel you are perfect, leaves no room for improvement at all.
This is a terrible situation: to get help from the Lord, we must
repent, humble ourselves, and then the Lord will help us.
Proverbs 26:13 "The slothful [man] saith, [There is] a lion in
the way; a lion [is] in the streets."
We touched on this before. It is a feeble excuse to get out of
work. There are no lions in the streets. They are in the jungle.
Proverbs 26:14 "[As] the door turneth upon his hinges, so [doth]
the slothful upon his bed."
The door is attached to the facing of the door and turns back and
forth but goes nowhere. This is also what a lazy man does; he tosses
and turns in bed, but doesn't get loose from the bed and go to work.
He stays in the bed day and night and tosses and turns going nowhere.
Proverbs 26:15 "The slothful hideth his hand in [his] bosom; it
grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth."
The hand in the bosom just means he doesn't have the heart to
work even if it is to provide for food for his own table.
Proverbs 26:16 "The sluggard [is] wiser in his own conceit than
seven men that can render a reason."
This sluggard is so caught up in himself that he will not take
advise from others. He doesn't feel he should work to learn more
either. He thinks he has all the correct answers with no effort upon
his part at all. Not only 7. but any amount of people with good advice
would be rejected by him if they did not totally agree with him.
Proverbs 26:17 "He that passeth by, [and] meddleth with strife
[belonging] not to him, [is like] one that taketh a dog by the ears."
Never, and I mean never, jump into someone else's quarrel.
Especially a husband's and wife's quarrel with each other. Meddling
tells you right off that this is of no concern to the passer-by.
Meddling is interfering in something that is none of your business.
If you pull a dog's ear, he will bark and maybe bite you. The same
thing will happen if you interfere in someone else's problems. they
will turn on you and injure you.
Proverbs 26:18 "As a mad [man] who casteth firebrands, arrows,
and death," Proverbs 26:19 "So [is] the man [that] deceiveth his
neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?"
To say that your ugly words were only teasing is just not enough.
To hurt a neighbor is a really bad thing, but to them laugh and say it
was a joke, after the damage is done is inexcusable. this type of
behavior could cause the damaged person to harm, or perhaps even kill
Proverbs 26:20 "Where no wood is, [there] the fire goeth out: so
where [there is] no talebearer, the strife ceaseth."
This is just saying, stop adding fuel to the fire and the fire
will die down. A rumor cannot damage anyone until it is told, Gossip
is like the wood. It causes widespread damage. To stop the damage,
stop the gossip. This continues in the next verse.
Proverbs 26:21 "[As] coals [are] to burning coals, and wood to
fire; so [is] a contentious man to kindle strife."
We see, there, a situation where the coals of gossip have just
about gone out, but a contentious man who loves trouble will go in
there and rekindle the mess all over again. To make coals re-ignite
you blow on them and add a little kindling (gossip) to the fire. this
makes an even hotter fire than you had in the first place. This evil
man wants to keep the quarrel going so he stirs it up a little and
gets it going full blast again.
Proverbs 26:22 "The words of a talebearer [are] as wounds, and
they go down into the innermost parts of the belly."
Bearing tales is a very bad sin. The tongue is the most evil part
of the body. It cuts at the spirit of man and destroys his inner most
being, while a real knife cuts at the flesh of man. Cutting words that
cut into our inner most being are hard to heal.
Proverbs 26:23 "Burning lips and a wicked heart [are like] a
potsherd covered with silver dross."
We see in this a worthless vessel (potsherd) covered with silver
to make it seem from the outside to be very valuable. If you are
looking at this from the spiritual standpoint, it makes it appear to
be redeemed (silver). This person, mentioned here, has beautiful
burning lips which seem to be affectionate. they are a deceit coming
from a wicked heart.
Proverbs 26:24 "He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and
layeth up deceit within him;" Proverbs 26:25 "When he speaketh fair,
believe him not: for [there are] seven abominations in his heart."
These "seven abominations in his heart" just mean that he is
completely consumed with an evil heart, This "dissembleth" means that
he uses words to tear apart every one he sees. He is a very evil man.
This man flatters you to try to destroy you. This is deceit to the
Proverbs 26:26 "[Whose] hatred is covered by deceit, his
wickedness shall be shewed before the [whole] congregation."
We see what modern society calls a two-faced man. He appears to
be one thing and is, in fact, something entirely different. We see in
this, that this person will be found out. Whether in this life or not,
we cannot say, but when he stands before Jesus, all will be known. He
cannot deceive the Lord.
Proverbs 26:27 "Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he
that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him."
This is just one more way of saying, what you sow you will reap.
This just warns us that the fate we have planned for others comes home
to us. Here, again, this result may not come on this earth, but it
shall surely come. The Judge of the whole world knows everything you
Proverbs 26:28 "A lying tongue hateth [those that are] afflicted
by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin."
This lying tongue goes along with deceit, Perhaps here we see
this going even further to destroy someone. Undeserved flattery causes
great problems for the person receiving the flattery. This flattery is
ordinarily used to try to con someone.
Proverbs 41 Questions
1. In verse 1, what is compared to honor for a fool?
2. What is meant by "a curse causeless shall not fall"?
3. What is used to tame a horse?
4. What controls the way of the ass?
5. What drives foolishness from a man?
6. If you answer a fool according to his folly, what does it make
7. What is a fool apt to be, if you don't answer him correctly?
8. He that sendeth a message by a fool is like doing what?
9. How are the legs of the lame described?
10. What is it compared to in verse 7?
11. What is meant by "bindeth a stone"?
12. How is the drunkard in verse 3 like a parable in a fool's mouth?
13. Who rewards the fool and transgressors?
14. Who is the judge of all?
15. Who is there more hope for than a man wise in his own conceit?
16. What is the worst problem with being wise in your own conceit?
17. What ridiculous excuse did the slothful man make in verse 13?
18. What is meant by a door turning on its hinges?
19. In the slothful who will not remove his hand from his bosom, what
lesson are to learn?
20. Why will the sluggard refuse to take advise from the 7 just men?
21. What does the word "meddleth" mean?
22. What happens when you pick up a dog by his ears?
23. Cruel teasing of neighbors is likened to a mad man's what?
24. A talebearer brings what?
25. What is the contentious man in verse 21 attempting to do?
26. Do evil words destroy the body or the spirit? Explain.
27. In verse 23, the potsherd covered with silver indicates what?
28. How can you disassemble with your lips?
29. Hatred covered by deceit will be revealed to whom?
30. What does modern society call the man who covers his hatred by
31. What does undeserved flattery do to a person?