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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 26:3

 

 

A whip is for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, And a rod for the back of fools.

Adam Clarke Commentary

A whip for the horse - Correction is as suitable to a fool, as a whip is for a horse, or a bridle for an ass.


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These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/proverbs-26.html. 1832.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

MORE PROVERBS REGARDING FOOLS

"A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, And a rod for the back of fools.

Answer not a fool according to his folly, Lest thou also be like unto him.

Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own conceit.

He that sendeth a message by a fool cutteth off his own feet, and drinketh in damage.

The legs of the lame hang loose, So is a parable in the mouth of fools.

As one that bindeth a stone in a sling, So is he that giveth honor to a fool.

As a thorn that goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, So is a parable in the mouth of fools.

As an archer that woundeth all, So is he that hireth a fool and he that hireth them that pass by.

As a dog that returneth to his vomit, So is a fool that repeateth his folly.

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

Here we have a variation in Proverbs, a collection of verses regarding a single subject. The subject here is fools. Apparently Hezekiah's men, who sought out these proverbs from the writings of Solomon (Proverbs 25:1), decided to classify them!

This subject was apparently one of Solomon's favorites, We have already discussed this subject under the following verses: Proverbs 10:8,13,14,23; 12:1,8,15,23; 13:15,16; 14:6,7,8,15,16,18,24,33; 15:7,14,21; 17:10,12,24.[2] See our comments under those references. These verses are all in the same spirit of detestation of fools as are all the others.

Proverbs 26:4 and Proverbs 26:5 should not be viewed as a contradiction, but as a statement that one's answer to a fool should be governed by the circumstances, sometimes one way, sometimes another.

"Proverbs 25:13 presents the converse of Proverbs 26:6."[3] It is significant that the sentiment of these verses appears again and again in the New Testament. Peter quoted Proverbs 26:11a (2 Peter 2:22); and Paul quoted Proverbs 26:12a (Romans 12:16). The `fool' so often vigorously denounced in Proverbs should be identified as "wicked" rather than as a mental incompetent, as we have often pointed out. However, in this particular group of proverbs, Driver wrote that, "The folly described in these verses is intellectual."[4]


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:3". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/proverbs-26.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

A whip for the horse,.... One that is dull of going, or refractory and wants breaking;

a bridle for the ass; not to curb and restrain it from going too fist, asses being generally dull; but to direct its way and turn it when necessary, it being stiffnecked and obstinate; though the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions, render it a "spear" or "goad", something to prick with, and excite it to motion; and so the Targum; or otherwise one would have thought the whip was fitter for the ass and the bridle for the horse;

and a rod for the fool's back; suggesting that the fool, or wicked man, is like the horse or the mule; though not without understanding of things natural, yet of things divine and moral; and as stupid as the ass, however wise he may conceit himself to be, being born like a wild ass's colt; and instead of honour being given him, stripes should be laid upon him; he should be reproved sharply, and corrected for his wickedness, especially the causeless curser, Proverbs 19:29.


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 26:3". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-26.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

The rod is as much needed by fools and as well suited to them, as whips and bridles are for beasts.


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 26:3". "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

3 A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass,

And a rod for the back of fools.

J. D. Michaelis supposes that the order should be reversed: a bridle for the horse, a whip for the ass; but Arnoldi has here discovered the figure of speech merismus (cf. Proverbs 10:1); and Hitzig, in the manner of the division, the rhythmical reason of the combination (cf. שׁם חם ויפת for שׁם יפת וחם ): whip and bridle belong to both, for one whips a horse (Nehemiah 3:2) and also bridles him; one bridles an ass (Psalms 32:9) and also whips him (Numbers 22:28.). As whip and bridle are both serviceable and necessary, so also serviceable and necessary is a rod, לגו כּסילים , Proverbs 10:13; Proverbs 19:29.


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 26:3". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/proverbs-26.html. 1854-1889.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Here, 1. Wicked men are compared to the horse and the ass, so brutish are they, so unreasonable, so unruly, and not to be governed but by force or fear, so low has sin sunk men, so much below themselves. Man indeed is born like the wild ass's colt, but as some by the grace of God are changed, and become rational, so others by custom in sin are hardened, and become more and more sottish, as the horse and the mule, Psalm 32:9. 2. Direction is given to use them accordingly. Princes, instead of giving honour to a fool (Proverbs 26:1), must put disgrace upon him - instead of putting power into his hand, must exercise power over him. A horse unbroken needs a whip for correction, and an ass a bridle for direction and to check him when he would turn out of the way; so a vicious man, who will not be under the guidance and restraint of religion and reason, ought to be whipped and bridled, to be rebuked severely, and made to smart for what he has done amiss, and to be restrained from offending any more.


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 26:3". "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

Every creature must be dealt with according to its nature, but careless and profligate sinners never will be ruled by reason and persuasion. Man indeed is born like the wild ass's colt; but some, by the grace of God, are changed.


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 26:3". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary

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

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Proverbs 26:3 A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool’s back.

Ver. 3. A whip for the horse,] viz., To quicken his slow pace. "A bridle for the ass," wherewith to lead him in the right way; for he goes willingly but a foot pace, and would be oft out, but for the bit; and besides, he is very refractory, and must be "held in with bit and bridle." [Psalms 32:9]

And a rod for the back of fools.] Tυφθεις δε τε νηπιος εγνω. A fool will be the better for beating. Vexatio dat intellectum. Due punishment may well be to these horses and asses - so the Scripture terms unreasonable and wicked men - both for a whip to incite them to good, and for a bridle to rein them in from evil. God hath rods sticking in every corner of his house for these froward fools; and if a rod serve not turn, he hath a "terrible sword." [Isaiah 27:1] So must magistrates. Cuncta prius tentanda. If a rod will do, they need not brandish the sword of justice; nor do as Draco did, who punished with death every light offence. This was to kill a fly upon a man’s forehead with a beetle, to the knocking out of his brains.


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

Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:3". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-26.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

A bridle was very proper and usual for an ass, when they rode upon it, (as the Jews most commonly did,) though not to restrain him from running away, which is the principal use of it in horses, yet that the rider might rule and guide him, which was very necessary for that stupid creature. Although the ancient interpreters render it a goad, or spur, or something of the like nature and use.

A rod for the fool’s back; which is most proper and necessary for him. Not words, but blows, must make him better.


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

Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 26:3". 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

3. Whip… bridle… rod — “According to our English notions, we should rather say a bridle for the horse and a whip for the ass. But from numerous passages in the Old Testament it appears that asses were the beasts on which the people, and even the great men, usually rode. Their asses, therefore, being active and well broken, needed but a bridle to guide them, whereas their horses, being, probably, badly broken and easily frightened, would be less manageable, and frequently require the correction of the whip.” The Seventy, perhaps led by the same train of thought as the above, have translated מתג, (metheg,) bridle, by κεντρον, a goad. There is, however, no example of such use of metheg. Instead of “for the back of a fool,” they also read, “for a simple nation.” Comp. Proverbs 10:13; Proverbs 19:29; Psalms 32:9.


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

Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:3". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/proverbs-26.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Snaffle. "Bit," or muzzle, (camus) to prevent the animal from biting. (Haydock) --- Septuagint, Arabic, &c., "a goad for an ass." But metheg denotes a bridle. (Montanus; Haydock) asses being there very large, and commonly used for riding, chap. xiii. 13. (Calmet)


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

Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:3". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/proverbs-26.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

the fool"s back = the back of fools.


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

Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:3". "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

A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool's back.

A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass. So the Vulgate: but the Chaldaic, Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic translate, 'a spur for the ass.' The Hebrew ( meteg (Hebrew #4964)) commonly means a bridle; and though we should say ordinarily, 'A whip for the donkey; a bridle for the horse,' yet in the style of Proverbs one clause is to be supplied from the other, A whip and a bridle for the horse and the donkey. As they need at one time the whip, at another the bridle; so the "fool" needs "a rod for his back," to keep him from rushing into sinful folly. The ungodly are like "brute beasts" (Psalms 32:9; Jude 1:10; Proverbs 10:13; Proverbs 19:29). He who will not heed words must heed strokes.


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 26:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/proverbs-26.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool's back.
10:13; 17:10; 19:25; 27:22; Judges 8:5-7; Psalms 32:9; 1 Corinthians 4:21; 2 Corinthians 10:6; 2 Corinthians 13:2

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

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:3". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-26.html.

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