Proverbs 26:7

Hebrew Bible

5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own opinion. 6 Like cutting off the feet or drinking violence, so is sending a message by the hand of a fool. 7 Like legs dangle uselessly from the lame, so a proverb dangles in the mouth of fools. 8 Like tying a stone in a sling, so is giving honor to a fool. 9 Like a thorn has gone up into the hand of a drunkard, so a proverb has gone up into the mouth of a fool.

Sirach 20:19

Ben Sira, Ecclesiasticus

17 How many will ridicule him, and how often! 18 A slip on the pavement is better than a slip of the tongue; the downfall of the wicked will occur just as speedily. 19 A coarse person is like an inappropriate story, continually on the lips of the ignorant. 20 A proverb from a fool's lips will be rejected, for he does not tell it at the proper time. 21 One may be prevented from sinning by poverty; so when he rests he feels no remorse.

 Notes and References

"... Like much proverbial wisdom, the maxims in this chapter are only loosely connected. The general theme is true and false wisdom, verses 1-3 reprise the topic of admonition. Timely silence (w. 5-8) is a favorite theme of prudential literature. Compare Proverbs 17:28; Ecclesiastes 3:7; Plutarch's Moralia, 5.2. Verses 9-11 reflect on the variability of fortune, verses 13-17 comment on the fool's lack of perspective, and impatience. The fate of the fool is to be laughed to scorn. While the fool is not guilty or subject to divine punishment, he incurs shame. Verse 18 echoes a proverb attributed to Zeno of Citium, founder of Stoicism: 'Better to slip with the foot than with the tongue' (Diogenes Laertes 7.26). Verse 20 shows the crucial importance of timing in the wisdom tradition. The principles laid out in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 are fundamental to the application of all proverbs. Compare Proverbs 26:7, 9. Verses 21-23 point out ambiguities in some commonly accepted values. Poverty is not desirable, but if it keeps one from sinning it can be beneficial. Honour is a good to be sought, but it can also mislead a person and lead to downfall. These comments, however, do not put in question Ben Sira's acceptance of conventional wisdom on these subjects; they merely allow for exceptions ..."

Barton, John, and John Muddiman The Oxford Bible Commentary (p. 680) Oxford University Press, 2001

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