corner graphic

Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 26:12

 

 

Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

The Biblical Illustrator

Proverbs 26:12

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

The folly of self-conceit

The Scriptures are full of denunciations against the self-sufficiency of man. The writings of Solomon are conspicuous for expressions which stigmatise the absurdity and the guilt of a self-willed, self-sufficient spirit. Here he says that when a man is wise in his own conceit, there is so little hope of his reformation that even a fool would be a more promising subject for moral and intellectual discipline. Teachable and honest mediocrity is always attended with a fair hope of improvement. But that very quality which may preserve, even to dulness itself, the chance of amelioration, is necessarily wanting to him who is wise in his own conceit, namely, a tractable and docile temper. Whenever a feeling of self-sufficiency takes possession of a mind, even of more than ordinary strength, there is danger of its shutting out all prospect of effectual improvement. What exertions will be made by one who is content with his acquisitions? To him who knows better than the rest of mankind, instruction or advice must needs appear impertinent. This guilty and miserable habit locks up from the use of all who are under its dominion those riches without which the fairest intellect must ever remain poor indeed--the wisdom of other ages, and the resources and experiences of other minds. It is dismal to reflect on the number of characters which have been ruined by this unhappy delusion. When once this fatal sorcery has suspended in the mind all aspirations after higher attainments, from that moment the movement of the character becomes infallibly retrograde. By the known constitution of things it is impossible that the intellectual or moral powers can be for a moment stationary. There is, in man’s faculties, a constant tendency towards relapse and decay, which must be encountered by perpetual exertion. It is a sadder condition when the two characters in the text happen to coincide; when imbecility and arrogance go together; when the fool is wise in his own conceit. The language of the text applies to cases of great excess. But all cases have a tendency towards excess, and caution is useful in the earliest stages. The predominance of self-conceit is in most instances the result of negligent or injudicious culture. Self-will enters largely into the composition of every human character. It shows itself with the earliest dawn of the faculties. There is no instinctive impulse which prompts a child to the salutary but painful exercise of exploring his own insufficiency. The feeling of self-sufficiency is strengthened by the habit of comparing ourselves with low and imperfect characters, and by fixing ourselves in the centre of a very contracted circle. The mind should be elevated by the contemplation of the noblest forms of excellence, both intellectual and moral. Christianity is irreconcilably at war with every vice or infirmity which belongs to the family of pride. (C. W. Le Bas, M. A.)

Description and danger of religious self-conceit

Nothing renders a man so unmanageable, in the common concerns of life as self-conceit. But show the application of this passage in a spiritual sense.

I. Explain the statement of the text. Wisdom in this book is another name for religion. Foolishness is irreligion. Then the man who is “wise in his own conceit” is religious in his own conceits. All men are naturally subject to pride and vanity. A supposed superiority in religion will furnish ground for the exercise of this disposition as readily as any other fancied distinction. A man may be vain of his religion. Such persons very possibly have knowledge, and feeling, and what they call religious attainments. But they are destitute of self-knowledge: they have no real humiliation of heart, and they are greatly wanting in charity as to their judgment of the religious state and character of others. They have no notion of rendering to God a spiritual service. There is more hope of a fool, an irreligious person, than of such an one.

II. Show the grounds and reasons of the text. Such persons as described totally mistake the nature of true religion. To be religious is to be spiritually-minded. To advance in religion is to grow in grace. They pervert the very design and end of religion. It is designed to make men humble; it makes these persons proud. They have closed up the door to their own improvement. Use this subject for self-examination. By it try our own religion, and see what is our own spiritual state. (E. Cooper.)


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Proverbs 26:12". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/proverbs-26.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit,.... Or "in his own eyes"F2בעיניו "in oculis suis", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, &c. ; as multitudes may be seen, by looking round; man is a creature but of small knowledge in things natural, civil, mechanical, philosophical, moral, or divine; yet greatly conceited for the most part of his knowledge and wisdom. As by a "fool" in this book is generally understood a wicked profane man, so by a wise man is meant a good and righteous man, and may be so understood here; and many there are who are good and righteous only their own conceit and esteem, not truly so; they place their righteousness in outward things, in the observance of external duties; and though there may be some little imperfection in them, yet they think, as they mean well, God will accept the will for the deed: and some have imagined they have arrived to perfection; and such are generally conceited, proud, and haughty, and despise others; all which flows from ignorance; for, though they fancy themselves to be wise, they are very ignorant of themselves; of the plague of their own hearts; of the law of God, and the spirituality of it, and the extensiveness of its demands; of the strict justice and righteousness of God, which will not admit of an imperfect righteousness in the room of a perfect one; and also of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, the nature and necessity of that to justify: and this being their case, they are in very dangerous circumstances; they are building on a sand; they are liable to fall into a ditch; they cannot be justified nor saved by their own works; they oppose themselves to God's way of justifying and saving sinners; and he sets himself against them, he resisteth the proud. Wherefore

there is more hope of a fool than of him; of a profane sinner than of a self-righteous person; for Christ came to save sinners, to call them to repentance, and he receives them as such; but not self-righteous persons; and, humanly speaking, there is a greater likelihood and greater hopes of convincing sinners, and bringing them to repentance and to forsake their sins, than there is of convincing a self-righteous man of the insufficiency of his righteousness, and the folly of trusting to it, and of bringing him to repent of such a confidence, and to forsake it; for it is most natural to him; it is his own, and the effect of great labour and pains; and encourages vanity and boasting, which would be excluded should he part with it; see Matthew 21:31.


Copyright Statement
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.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:12". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-26.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

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

(g) For the fool would rather be counselled than he: also the fool sins out of ignorance, and the other out of malice.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:12". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/proverbs-26.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

The self-conceited are taught with more difficulty than the stupid.


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
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 26:12". "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

12 Seest thou a man who is wise in his own eyes?

The fool hath more hope than he.

Regarding the perf. hypotheticum ראית , vid ., at Proverbs 22:29. Line second is repeated, Proverbs 29:20, unchanged. ממּנּוּ , prae eo , is equivalent to the Mishnic יותר ממּנּוּ , plus quam ei . As the conversion of a sinner, who does not regard himself as righteous, is more to be expected than that of a self-righteous man (Matthew 9:12.), so the putting right of a fool, who is conscious that he is not wise (cf. Proverbs 24:7), is more likely to be effected than that of one deeming himself wise; for the greatest hindrance to any turning toward that which is better lies in the delusion that he does not need it.

(Note: The Targum has 12b after Codd. פּקח סכלא טב מגּיהּ (= Syr. pekach , expedit, convenit, melius est ), it is far better circumstanced regarding the fool than regarding him. Vid ., Geiger's Zeitschr . vi. (1868), p. 154.)

Thus far the group of proverbs regarding fools.


Copyright Statement
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 26:12". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/proverbs-26.html. 1854-1889.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Here is, 1. A spiritual disease supposed, and that is self-conceit: Seest thou a man? Yes, we see many a one, wise in his own conceit, who has some little sense, but is proud of it, thinks it much more than it is, more than any of his neighbours, have, and enough, so that he needs no more, has such a conceit of his own abilities as makes him opinionative, dogmatical, and censorious; and all the use he makes of his knowledge is that it puffs him up. Or, if by a wise man we understand a religious man, it describes the character of those who, making some show of religion, conclude their spiritual state to be good when really it is very bad, like Laodicea, Revelation 3:17. 2. The danger of this disease. It is in a manner desperate: There is more hope of a fool, that knows and owns himself to be such, than of such a one. Solomon was not only a wise man himself, but a teacher of wisdom; and this observation he made upon his pupils, that he found his work most difficult and least successful with those that had a good opinion of themselves and were not sensible that they needed instruction. Therefore he that seems to himself to be wise must become a fool, that he may be wise, 1 Corinthians 3:18. There is more hope of a publican than of a proud Pharisee, Matthew 21:32. Many are hindered from being truly wise and religious by a false and groundless conceit that they are so, John 9:40, John 9:41.


Copyright Statement
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 26:12". "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

We see many a one who has some little sense, but is proud of it. This describes those who think their spiritual state to be good, when really it is very bad.


Copyright Statement
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 26:12". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary

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

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Proverbs 26:12 Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? [there is] more hope of a fool than of him.

Ver. 12. Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit?] This foolish wise man, or wise foolish man (for whether of the two to call him I know not, as the chronicler saith of Sir Thomas Moore), is that "dog" spoken of in verse Proverbs 26:11, that forethinks not the evil that followeth upon his returning to his filthy vomit, which, being made much worse by the heat of the sun and open air, maketh him much more sick than before he had been. Similarily, the witless wicked man, insensible of the evil of his way, and highly conceited thereof, goes boldly on, till there be neither hope of better nor place of worse. {See Trapp on "Proverbs 3:7"} See my Common Place of Arrogance.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:12". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-26.html. 1865-1868.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

DISCOURSE: 810

THE DANGER OF CONCEIT

Proverbs 26:12. Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool, than of him.

THE Scripture seeks not to please the fastidious ear of man, but calls both persons and things by their appropriate names. Sin is declared to be the extremest folly; and those who commit it, are proclaimed fools. In the eleven verses preceding our text, the folly of fools is mentioned no less than ten times: and from this humiliating picture our text derives a force and emphasis which no single expression could give. The import of the text, as connected with the context, is this: The condition of a fool is, as you have seen, awful in the extreme: but “seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.” This is a solemn delaration, and worthy of the deepest attention. Let us consider it,

I. As a general truth—

Here we may distinctly notice,

1. The character described—

[There is in man a strange conceit, and a proneness to take very undue credit to himself for his abilities and attainments. Some are so confident in their own wisdom, that they seem to think they cannot err; and they would have it supposed that they possess, almost by intuition, what others have attained only by laborious investigation. Persons of this description will not condescend to examine their sentiments by any test; nor will they listen to any statements that are opposed to them. Confidence is to them in the place of proof; and any attempt to controvert their opinions excites only their indignation or contempt.]

2. His hopeless condition—

[Truly pitiable is the condition of “a fool.” He is ignorant of all that constitutes true wisdom: he is also, in a great measure, incapable of receiving instruction; and the instruction he does receive, he is incapable of turning to a good account, or of making a suitable improvement of it. Of such a one there certainly is but little hope: yet is the conceited person in a more hopeless state than he. If in respect of capacity he have the advantage, he labours under a tenfold disadvantage, by reason of his precipitancy, his confidence, his pertinacity. The endeavours used to convince him of his errors do but rivet him the more firmly in them; and opposition to him serves but to increase his obstinacy. Thus, whilst the conceit of his mind indisposes him for the proper exercise of his judgment in relation to truth, it unfits him for the reception of any benefit from the wisdom of others: so that to bring him to sound wisdom and discretion is indeed a hopeless task. If he will not deliberate and weigh matters for himself, or listen to instruction and advice from others; and if the means used to rectify his views do but confirm him the more in his delusions, there is indeed no hope of him: and “you may even bray him in a mortar, and he will remain the same; his conceit and folly will not depart from him [Note: Proverbs 27:22.].”]

The declaration in our text will be found still more weighty, if considered,

II. With a more especial reference to religion—

A man that carries his conceit into religion is indeed in a most deplorable state—

[Truth, in general, is too pure and refined to obtain ready admittance into such a mind as his; but religious truth is altogether folly in his eyes. “The natural man,” even though not blinded by that measure of conceit of which we have been speaking, “receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned [Note: 1 Corinthians 2:14.].” But where, in addition to the natural blindness of the human mind, there is a large measure of overweening conceit, the state of that man is bad indeed; because every truth of the Gospel not only offends him, but offends him in proportion to its sublimity and importance. The total corruption of our nature, the necessity of a new birth by the operation of the Spirit of God, justification by faith in the Lord Jesus, and an entire dedication of the soul to God, all appear to him extravagant and absurd: he sees no occasion for such humiliating and self-denying doctrines; nor will he believe them, whatever testimony be adduced from the Holy Scriptures in support of them. In vain are God’s express declarations brought before him: he believes his own conceits in preference to them: and every person that would persuade him to examine with candour, he regards as a weak visionary, and a deluded fanatic. Such a person, therefore, is never likely to come to the knowledge of the truth.

But, besides the obstacles which he meets with from the sublimity of the truths, and the blindness of his own mind, he has another source of blindness peculiar to himself: for God is particularly offended by such conduct, in reference to his revealed will; and he will “give such an one up to his own delusions, to believe a lie [Note: 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12.],” and to harden himself in his impenitence and unbelief: and if once a man have provoked God so to withdraw his Holy Spirit from him, and to surrender him up to the power of sin and Satan, he will never be undeceived, till he shall open his eyes in the eternal world.]

The fool then, I say, is in a more hopeful state than he—

[The fool, notwithstanding his ignorance, may learn: and if he will only submit himself to divine teaching, he shall learn; nor shall his weakness be any bar to his instruction: for God has said, that “What he has hid from the wise and prudent, he has, of his own good pleasure, revealed unto babes [Note: Matthew 11:25-26.]:” and so plain shall his ways be made to them, that “a wayfaring man, though a fool, shall not err therein [Note: Isaiah 35:8.].” Of him, then, we may have a hope, because he will use the appointed means of instruction, and will embrace truth as far as he discerns it; whilst the conceited man will not condescend to be “taught of God,” and therefore must continue ignorant even to the end, and “perish at last for lack of knowledge.”]

On this subject I would found a general exhortation—

[Conceit, when strongly manifested in relation to earthly things, generally excites pity and contempt; but when exercised in reference to spiritual things, is deemed oracular and wise. But I entreat all to be on their guard against it. It is most dangerous, and fatal to the soul. Humility is at the very root of divine knowledge; nor can any saving acquaintance with the Gospel spring up without it. This, then, I say to all:

Be sensible, that, instead of being “rich and increased with goods, and in need of nothing,” as too many suppose themselves to be, you are in yourselves wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked [Note: Revelation 3:17.]” — — —

Bear in mind, that the Scriptures alone are the fountain and standard of truth. Every thing must be brought “to the Law and to the testimony:” and “whoever speaks not according to the written word, he has no light in him [Note: Isaiah 8:20.]”— — —

Remember, too, that it is by divine teaching only that we can understand the Scriptures. If the eyes of our understanding be not enlightened by the Spirit of God, notwithstanding the light that shines around us, we shall go on still in darkness, even as Paul did, in his unconverted state; and as the twelve Apostles did, in the midst of all their Master’s instructions, till after the resurrection of their Lord [Note: Ephesians 1:18. Luke 24:45.] — — —

And forget not, that this instruction must be sought by earnest prayer. God alone can give it; and it is only in answer to prayer that he will impart it to us [Note: Proverbs 2:1-6.] — — —

Moreover, after you have been guided into truth, you must still be on your guard against the same propensity which acts so powerfully in the unconverted mind. Many, after all their partial illumination, are drawn aside after “philosophy and vain deceit [Note: Colossians 2:8.].” If you would be preserved in the right way, you must not only “be converted, and become as little children,” but retain a childlike simplicity even to the end. To your latest hour you need to be reminded of that counsel given to the Christians at Rome, “Be not wise in your own conceits [Note: Romans 12:16.].” You need to be guarded against “thinking that you know any thing” perfectly; for, whilst you are under such an impression, “you know nothing yet as you ought to know [Note: 1 Corinthians 8:2.].” “If you will be truly wise, it is by becoming fools in your own estimation, that you are to be made wise [Note: 1 Corinthians 3:18.].” — — — If you will not follow this counsel, “God will take you in your own craftiness [Note: 1 Corinthians 3:19-20.]” — — —

I must then, as God’s ambassador to you, call your attention to the warning which he has given you by the prophet Isaiah: “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight [Note: Isaiah 5:21.]!” And to all I must recommend those petitions of God’s most favoured saints, “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy Law [Note: Psalms 119:18.]:” and, “What I see not, Teach thou me [Note: Job 34:32.].”]


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:12". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/proverbs-26.html. 1832.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

A man wise in his own conceit; who, being a fool, thinks himself wise, and therefore scorneth the counsels of others.

There is more hope of a fool; of doing good to one who is a fool, and sensible of his folly, and ready to receive instruction.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 26:12". 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

12. Wise… conceit — Many hard things have been said of “the fool” in this book. One might think his case the most hopeless in the world; but the “man wise in his own conceit” — the self-conceited coxcomb — is more hopeless than a natural fool. Compare Proverbs 29:20.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:12". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/proverbs-26.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Fool. The ignorant may be convinced that he wants instruction. (Calmet) --- But "none are worse than the half-learned." (Quintil. i. Jo. v. 21.)


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:12". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/proverbs-26.html. 1859.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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

Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? (there is) more hope of a fool ( k


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:12". "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

(12) Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit.—Comp. the warnings of Romans 12:16, and Revelation 3:17-18.

There is more hope of a fool than of him.—So the “publicans and harlots,” who had foolishly strayed from God, yet returned to Him at the preaching of the Saviour, while the Pharisees and lawyers “rejected the counsel of God against themselves” (Luke 7:30), thinking they had no need of it.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:12". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/proverbs-26.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.
Seest
22:29; 29:20; Matthew 21:31; Luke 7:44
a man
5,16; 28:11; 29:20; Matthew 21:31; Luke 18:11; Romans 12:16; 1 Corinthians 3:18,19; 2 Corinthians 8:1,2; Revelation 3:17

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:12". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-26.html.

To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology