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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 26:10

 

 

Like an archer who wounds everyone, So is he who hires a fool or who hires those who pass by.

Adam Clarke Commentary

The great God that formed all things - Or, A great man grieveth all, and he hireth the fool, he hireth also transgressors, where this verse is very differently translated. I shall add that of Coverdale: "A man of experience discerneth all thinges well: but whoso hyreth a foole, hyreth soch one as wyl take no hede." The רב rab may mean either the great God, or a great man: hence the two renderings, in the text and in the margin.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:10". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/proverbs-26.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The word “God” is not in the original, and the adjective translated “great” is never used elsewhere absolutely in that sense. The simplest and best interpretation is: As the archer that woundeth everyone, so is he who hireth the fool, and he who hireth every passerby. Acting at random, entrusting matters of grave moment to men of bad repute, is as likely to do mischief as to shoot arrows at everyone.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:10". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/proverbs-26.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

The great God, that formed all things,.... That made the heavens, earth, and sea, and all that are in them; who is great in the perfections of his nature, and in the works of his hands, and greatly to be praised;

both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors; according to their works; every transgression of the law receiving its just recompence of reward, whether a man transgresses it ignorantly or wilfully; as his transgressions are, whether through error or presumption, so shall his punishment be; though some understand this, as Kimchi, of the Lord's doing good in a providential way, to the wise and unwise, the righteous and the wicked: the words are by some rendered to another sense, "a great one grieveth all, and he hireth the fool, and he hireth the transgressors"F25So Mercerus, Piscator. ; that is, a great man, a tyrannical prince, grieves all his good subjects; or, as HottingerF26Smegm. Oriental. l. 1. c. 2. p. 171. , from the use of the word in the Arabic tongue, changes all things, inverts their order, or administers all at his will, that is, wrongly; when he hires fools and wicked men to do those bad things for him which others would not, to the great detriment of the commonwealth; and rewards them for it, putting them into posts of honour and trust, to the great grief and trouble of all his best subjects.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:10". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-26.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

f The great [God] that formed all [things] both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors.

(f) Meaning God.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:10". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/proverbs-26.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Various versions of this are proposed (compare Margin). Better perhaps - “Much He injures (or literally, “wounds”) all who reward,” etc., that is, society is injured by encouraging evil men.

transgressors — may be rendered “vagrants.” The word “God” is improperly supplied.


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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/proverbs-26.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

All that we have hitherto read is surpassed in obscurity by this proverb, which is here connected because of the resemblance of ושכר to שכור . We translate it thus, vocalizing differently only one word:

Much bringeth forth from itself all;

But the reward and the hirer of the fool pass away.

The lxx translates πολλὰ χειμάζεται πᾶσα σὰρξ ἀφρόνων (all the flesh of fools suffers much), συντριβήσεται γὰρ ἧ ἔκστασις αὐτῶν , which is in Hebrew:

רב מחולל כל בּשׂר כסיל

ישּׁבר עברתם

An unfortunate attempt so to rectify the words that some meaning might be extracted from them. The first line of this translation has been adopted by the Syr. and Targ., omitting only the כל , in which the self-condemnation of this deciphering lies (for כל בשׂר means elsewhere, humanity, not the whole body of each individual); but they translate the second line as if the words were:

ישׁכּר עבר ים

i.e. , and the drunken man sails over the sea ( עברים is separated into עבר ים , as בבקרים , Amos 6:12, is to be separated into בּבּקר ים ); but what does that mean? Does it mean that to a drunkard (but שׁכּור , the drunken man, and not סבא , the drunkard, is used) nothing remains but to wander over the sea? or that the drunken man lets his imagination wander away over the sea, while he neglects the obligation that lies upon him? Symmachus and Theodotion, with the Midrash (Rashi) and Saadia (Kimchi), take שׂכר in 10b = סגר (like Isaiah 19:10, שׂכר = embankment, cf. סכּרין , Kelim , Proverbs 23:5); the former translates by καὶ ὁ φράσσων ἄφρονα ἐμφράσσει τὰς ὀργὰς αὐτοῦ , the latter by καὶ φιμῶν ἄφρονα φιμοῖ χόλους , yielding to the imagination that עברים , like עברות , may be the plur. of עברה , anger. Jerome punctuates רב as, Proverbs 25:8, רב , and interprets, as Symmachus and Theodotion, שׂכר both times = סגר , translating: Judicium determinat causas, et qui imponit stulto silentium iras mitigat ; but רב does not mean judicium , nor מחולל determinat , nor כל causas . As Gussetius, so also Ralbag (in the first of his three explanations), Meîri, Elia Wilna interpret the proverb as a declaration regarding quarrelsome persons: he causeth woe to all, and hireth fools, hireth transgressors, for his companions; but in that case we must read רב for רב ; מחולל , bringing woe, would be either the Po . of חלל , to bore through, or Pilel of חיל ( חוּל ), to put into distress (as with pangs); but עברים , transgressors = sinners, is contrary to the O.T. usus loq ., Proverbs 22:3 (Proverbs 27:12) is falsely cited in its favour; besides, for רב there should have been at least אישׁ רב and why שׂכרו is repeated remains inexplicable. Others take מחולל־כל as the name of God, the creator of all men and things; and truly this is the nearest impression of these two words, for חולל is the usual designation for divine production, e.g. , Psalms 90:2. Accordingly Kimchi explains: The Lord is the creator of all, and He gives to fools and to transgressors their maintenance; but עברים , transgressors, is Mishnic, not bibl.; and שׂכר means to hire, but not to supply with food. The proverb is thus incapable of presenting a thought like Matthew 5:45 (He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good). Others translate: “The Lord is creator of all, and takes fools, takes idlers, into His service.” Thus rendered, the proverb is offensive; wherefore Rashi, Moses Kimchi, Arama, and others regard the Mashal as in the mouth of fools, and thus they take Proverbs 26:9 and Proverbs 26:10 together as a tetrastich. Certainly this second collection of proverbs contains also tetrastiches; but Proverbs 26:9 and Proverbs 26:10 cannot be regarded as together forming a tetrastich, because רב (which is valid against Kimchi also) cannot mean God the Lord: רב , Lord, is unheard of in bibl. Heb., and at least the word הרב must be used for God. The Venet . on this account does not follow Kimchi, but translates, Ἄρχων πλάττει πάντα, καὶ μισθοῦται μωρὸν καὶ μισθοῦται ὡς παραβάτης (ought to have been παραβάτας ); but who could this cunning man be? Perhaps the Venet . is to be understood, after Gecatilia (in Rashi): a great (rich) man performs all manner of things; but if he hires a fool, it is as if he hired the first best who pass along the way. But that חולל is used in the general sense of to execute, to perform, is without example, and improbable. Also the explanation: a ruler brings grief, i.e. , severe oppression, upon all (Abulwalîd, Immanuel, Aben Ezra, who, in his smaller grammar, explains רב = רב after Isaiah 49:9; C. B. Michaelis: dolore afficit omnes ), does not recommend itself; for חולל , whether it be from חלל , Isaiah 51:9 (to bore through), or from חיל , Psalms 29:9 (to bring on the pangs of birth), is too strong a word for hurting; also the clause, thus generally understood, is fortunately untrue. Translated as by Euchel: “the prominent persons destroy all; they keep fools in pay, and favour vagabonds,” - it sounds as if it had been picked up in an assembly of democrats. On the other hand, the proverb, as translated by Luther:

A good master maketh a thing right;

But he who hireth a bungler, by him it is spoiled,

is worthy of the Book of Proverbs. The second line is here freely rendered, but it is also appropriate, if we abide closer by the words of the text, in this connection. Fleischer: Magister ( artifex peritus ) effingit omnia ( i.e. , bene perficit quaecunque ei committuntur ); qui autem stultum conducit, conducit transeuntes ( i.e. , idem facit ac si homines ignotos et forte transeuntes ad opus gravius et difficilius conduceret ). Thus also Gesenius, Böttcher, and others, who all, as Gecatilia above, explain עברים , τοὺς τυχόντας , the first best. But we are reluctantly constrained to object to this thought, because רב nowhere in bibl. Hebrew signifies a master; and the ו of the second ושׂכר dno cannot bear that rendering, ac si . And if we leave it out, we nevertheless encounter a difficulty in חולל , which cannot be used of human production. Many Christian interpreters (Cocceius, Schultens, Schelling, Ewald, Bertheau, Stier, Zöckler) give to רב a meaning which is found in no Jewish interpreter, viz., sagittarius , from רבב ( רבב ), Genesis 49:23 (and perhaps Psalms 18:15), after the forms צר , שׂר , the plur. of which, רבּים , is found at Job 16:13; Jeremiah 50:29, but in a connection which removes all doubt from the meaning of the word. Here also רב may be more closely defined by מחולל ; but how then does the proverb stand? “an archer who wounds everything, and he who hires a fool, and hires passers-by” (Ewald: street-runners), i.e. , they are alike. But if the archer piercing everything is a comic Hercules furens , then, in order to discover the resemblance between the three, there is need of a portion of ingenuity, such as is only particularly assigned to the favoured. But it is also against the form and the usage of the word to interpret עברים simply of rogues and vagabonds. Several interpreters have supposed that רב and כל must stand in a certain interchangeable relation to each other. Thus, e.g. , Ahron b. Josef: “Much makes amazement to all, but especially one who hires a fool....” But this “especially” (Before all) is an expression smuggled in. Agreeing with Umbreit and Hitzig, we translate line first; but in translating line second, we follow our own method:

Much bringeth all out of it;

i.e. , where there is much, then one has it in his power, if he begins right, to undertake everything. רב has by כּל the definition of a neuter, so as to designate not only many men, Exodus 19:21, but also much ability in a pecuniary and facultative sense (cf. the subst. רב , Isaiah 63:7; Psalms 145:7); and of the much which bringeth forth all out of itself, effects all by itself, חולל with equal right might be used, as Proverbs 25:23, of the north wind. The antithesis 10b takes this form:

But the reward (read וּשׂכר ) and the master (who hires him for wages) of the fool pass away,

i.e. , perish; עברים , as if עבר , is used of chaff, Isaiah 29:5; of stubble, Jeremiah 13:24; of shadow, Psalms 144:4. That which the fool gains passes away, for he squanders it; and he who took him into his service for wages is ruined along with him, for his work is only pernicious, not useful. Although he who possesses much, and has great ability, may be able to effect everything of himself, yet that is not the case when he makes use of the assistance therein of foolish men, who not only do not accomplish anything, but, on the contrary, destroy everything, and are only ruinous to him who, with good intention, associates them with himself in his work. That the word must be more accurately ושׂכר , instead of ושׂכרוו , one may not object, since ושׂכר is perfectly unambiguous, and is manifestly the object.


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The Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.

Bibliography
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:10". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/proverbs-26.html. 1854-1889.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Our translation gives this verse a different reading in the text and in the margin; and accordingly it expresses either, 1. The equity of a good God. The Master, or Lord (so Rab signifies), or, as we read it, The great God that formed all things at first, and still governs them in infinite wisdom, renders to every man according to his work. He rewards the fool, who sinned through ignorance, who knew not his Lord's will, with few stripes; and he rewards the transgressor, who sinned presumptuously and with a high hand, who knew his Lord's will and would not do it, with many stripes. Some understand it of the goodness of God's common providence even to fools and transgressors, on whom he causes his sun to shine and his rain to fall. Or, 2. The iniquity of a bad prince (so the margin reads it): A great man grieves all, and he hires the fool; he hires also the transgressors. When a wicked man gets power in his hand, by himself, and by the fools and knaves whom he employs under him, whom he hires and chooses to make use of, he grieves all who are under him and is vexatious to them. We should therefore pray for kings and all in authority, that, under them, our lives may be quiet and peaceable.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Proverbs 26:10". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/proverbs-26.html. 1706.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

This verse may either declare how the Lord, the Creator of all men, will deal with sinners according to their guilt, or, how the powerful among men should disgrace and punish the wicked.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Proverbs 26:10". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary

on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mhn/proverbs-26.html. 1706.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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

Rewardeth — Will certainly give that recompence which is deserved by fools and transgressors, by such as sin either thro' ignorance, or wilfully.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:10". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/proverbs-26.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Proverbs 26:10 The great [God] that formed all [things] both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors.

Ver. 10. The great God that formed all things.] As he made all so he maintains all, even the evil and the unthankful. God deals not as that cruel Duke of Alva did in the Netherlands; - some he roasted to death, saith the historian, (a) starved others, and that even after quarter, saying, though he promised to give them their lives, he did not promise to find them meat; - but as he hath given them their lives, forfeited in Adam, so he allows them a livelihood, gives them their portion in this life, fills their bellies with his good treasure, but by it sends leanness into their souls, or if he fattens them, it is to fit them for destruction, as fated ware is fitted for the meat market.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:10". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-26.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Proverbs 26:10. The great God that formed all things There is a great diversity of opinion respecting this verse. Mr. Peters says, that formed all is the same as forming the universe, and parallel to Isaiah 44:24.; and if so, our rendering is as unexceptionable as any. Houbigant has it, The fool and the drunkard imagine great things: the fool and the drunkard pass over the sea: That is, in the folly and pride of imagination. See his note, and also Schultens.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:10". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/proverbs-26.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

God, who is oft called

great, as Psalms 86:10 135:5, &c., and is described by the name of

the Most High, as Psalms 9:2 21:7, &c., who created all things, and therefore observeth and governeth all men and things, will certainly give that recompence which is meet for and deserved by fools and transgressors, i.e. by such as sin either through ignorance and heedlessness, or wilfully and wickedly. Or, as it is the margin, A great man (a prince or potentate, who are called by this title, Esther 1:8 Daniel 1:3, &c.) grieveth (as this word is used, Isaiah 51:9 53:5, and elsewhere) all, (to wit, all that are subject to him, or all that stand in his way) he hireth (as this word most commonly signifies) the fools, he hireth also transgressors. So the sense is, It is the manner of many princes to vex and oppress their subjects, which because they cannot do by themselves alone, they hire others, both fools, who do not know or consider what they do, and transgressors, who are ready to execute all their commands, right or wrong, that they may be their instruments in that work.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 26:10". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/proverbs-26.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

10. The great God, etc. — Here again we have a verse of much difficulty, by reason of the uncertainty of the true import of several words. The word GOD is not in the original. רב, (rabh,) great, among its many meanings has such as these: mighty, the Mighty, agreat one, chief leader, master, doctor, teacher, etc. The word מחולל, (mehholel,) formed, is equally, or more, latitudinarian in sense. There is seemingly nothing in the construction to aid in reaching the true meaning, and the Versions yield little help. The Septuagint and Vulgate “are hopelessly unintelligible.” The simplest and best rendering, perhaps, is that found in the Speaker’s Commentary: “As the archer that woundeth every one, so is he who hireth the fool, and he who hireth every passer by.” Or thus: “A master-workman endangers everything when he employs a fool or employs vagrants.” With this, substantially, agrees Lange. The note of the Speaker’s Commentary is good: “Acting at random, intrusting matters of grave moment to men of bad repute, or to any chance comer, is as likely to do mischief as one who shoots arrows at every one.” Conant translates: “A master-workman forms all things, but he that hires a fool is as he that hires passers by.”


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:10". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/proverbs-26.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Proverbs 26:10. The great God formed all things, &c. — The Hebrew text of this verse will admit of different translations, as the reader may see by the margin, and commentators are much divided in their opinions of its meaning. The Hebrew word רב, rab, here rendered great, may be applied either to God or to a prince, and the proverb may be considered as declaring either how God the Creator and Governor of the universe will deal with sinners, or how kings and princes ought to act toward their subjects. Bishop Patrick’s paraphrase, which includes both, seems to give the most probable sense of the verse, thus: “The great God, who made all things, governs them also most wisely and equally; dispensing, for instance, his punishments suitable to men’s sins, whether out of ignorance, or of wilful wickedness; whom a good prince imitates; but a bad one proves a universal grievance, by employing either fools or profane persons in his service, who vex the rest of his subjects.”


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:10". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/proverbs-26.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Anger, and prevent lawsuits. Hebrew is variously read and translated. (Calmet) --- Protestants, "the great God, that formed all things, both rewardeth the fool and rewardeth the transgressors." Marginal note, "a great man giveth all, and he hireth the fool," &c. Septuagint, "all the flesh of fools is exposed to many storms, for their excess is punished." (Haydock)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:10". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/proverbs-26.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

The great God, &c. Render: "A master [workman] formeth all himself aright: but he that hireth a fool, hireth a transgressor [who will spoil the work]. "

rewardeth. Hebrew. sakar, to hire.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:10". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/proverbs-26.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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

The great (God), that formed all (things), both rewardeth the fool and rewardeth transgressors - giving them respectively their due punishment. Maurer takes it, 'An archer (as the Hebrew, rab, means in Job 16:13) wounding all, is both be who hires a fool and he who hires those passing by' indiscriminately. Gesenius takes it, 'The master (the master artist) forms all things well; but if one (in that position) hires a fool, he also hires transgressors.' Mercer, 'A great man (if he be a bad man) affects all with pain, and gives hire to the fool, and gives hire to transgressors' to aid him in his tyranny. The English version is simplest.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/proverbs-26.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(10) The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors.—If this rendering of the passage could stand, Matthew 6:2 might be quoted in illustration of it. If fools and transgressors will set their mind upon “husks” (Luke 15:16) instead of the food God has provided for His children, He does not deny it to them; they have the reward they seek for. But the Hebrew can hardly yield this meaning. Of all the various renderings suggested, perhaps the most unobjectionable is as follows. A master (one skilled in his art), produces everything (by his own care and oversight he sees himself that it is properly done); but a fool hires (others to do his work), and he hires passers by., i.e., any casual person that comes in his way, whether skilled or not, and so the work is done badly.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:10". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/proverbs-26.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors.
The great, etc
or, A great man grieveth all; and he hireth the fool, he hireth also the transgressors.
both
11:31; Romans 2:6

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:10". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-26.html.

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