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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 26:5

 

 

Answer a fool as his folly deserves, That he not be wise in his own eyes.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Answer a fool according to his folly,.... The Targum is,

"but speak with a fool in thy wisdom;'

and the Syriac version,

"yea, speak with a fool according to thy wisdom;'

which would at once remove the seeming contradiction in these words to the former, but then they are not a true version; indeed it is right, and must be the sense, that when a fool is answered, as it is sometimes necessary he should, that it be done in wisdom, and so as to expose his folly; he is to be answered and not answered according to different times, places, and circumstances, and manner of answering; he is to be answered when there is any hope of doing him good, or of doing good to others; or of preventing ill impressions being made upon others by what he has said; when the glory of God, the good of the church, and the cause of truth, require it; and when he would otherwise glory and triumph, as if his words or works were unanswerable, as follow;

lest he be wise in his own conceit; which fools are apt to be, and the rather when no answer is given them; imagining it arises from the strength of their arguments, and their nervous way of reasoning, when it is rather from a neglect and contempt of them.


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 26:5". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-26.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

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

(b) Reprove him as the matter requires.

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

Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:5". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/proverbs-26.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Answer — by reproof.


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 26:5". "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

5 Answer the fool according to his folly,

Lest he regard himself as wise.

ענה־כסיל (with Makkeph , and Gaja , and Chatef )

(Note: Thus after Ben Asher; while, on the contrary, Ben Naphtali writes ענה כסיל with Munach , vid ., Thorath Emeth , p. 41.)

here stands opposed to אל־תען כסיל . The Gospel of John, e.g. , John 5:31, cf. Proverbs 8:31,

(Note: Vid ., my dissertation on three little-observed passages in the Gospel of John, and their practical lessons, in the Evang. luth. Kirchenzeitung , 1869, Nos. 37, 38.)

is rich in such apparently contradictory sayings. The sic et non here lying before us is easily explained; after, or according to his folly, is this second time equivalent to, as is due to his folly: decidedly and firmly rejecting it, making short work with it (returning a sharp answer), and promptly replying in a way fitted, if possible, to make him ashamed. Thus one helps him, perhaps, to self-knowledge; while, in the contrary case, one gives assistance to his self-importance. The Talmud, Schabbath 30b, solves the contradiction by referring Proverbs 26:4 to worldly things, and Proverbs 26:5 to religious things; and it is true that, especially in the latter case, the answer is itself a duty toward the fool, and towards the truth. Otherwise the Midrash: one ought not to answer when one knows the fool as such, and to answer when he does not so know him; for in the first instance the wise man would dishonour himself by the answer, in the latter case he would give to him who asks the importance appertaining to a superior.


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 26:5". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/proverbs-26.html. 1854-1889.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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

According — So as his folly needs and requires, convincing him strongly, reproving him sharply, and exposing him to just shame.


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
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:5". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/proverbs-26.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Proverbs 26:5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

Ver. 5. Answer a fool according to his folly.] Cast in somewhat that may sting him, and stop his mouth. Stone him with soft words but hard arguments, as Christ dealt with Pilate, lest he lift up his crest, and look upon himself as a conqueror, and be held so by the hearers. In fine, when a fool is among such as himself, answer him, lest he seem wise. If he be among wise men, answer him not, and they will regard rather quid tu taceas, quam quod ille dicat, thy seasonable silence than his passionate prattle.


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

Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:5". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-26.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

According to his folly; so as his folly needs and requires, convincing him strongly, reproving him sharply, exposing him to just shame, and correcting him with a rod, when he deserves it, and thou hast a just power to use it.

Lest he be wise in his own conceit; lest thy silence make him arrogant and presumptuous, as if his words were unanswerable.


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

Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 26:5". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/proverbs-26.html. 1685.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

conceit = eyes.


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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:5". "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

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

Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit. The former verse forbids to answer a fool foolishly: it is better to be silent than so to answer him. If he be in a frame plainly incapable of receiving a wise answer, do not answer him at all (Isaiah 36:21). But where he needs to be convicted of folly, lest he go away with the notion of his own superior wisdom, answer him so as to confute him. Unanswered words may be deemed unanswerable: answer, then, not in folly, but to folly-the answer which his folly requires. Compare Jesus' silence and His answer, in conformity with both precepts, Matthew 26:62-64, before Caiaphas; John 19:9-11, before Pilate; Luke 23:9, before Herod. Regard to the difference of times and circumstances harmonizes the seeming contrariety of the two precepts. Discern the "time to keep silence, and the time to speak" (Ecclesiastes 3:7). So Jesus (Matthew 21:23-27; Matthew 22:46). Where it is only thine own honour that is at stake, be silent (as Moses meekly was when taunted by Aaron and Miriam, Numbers 12:2-4): when the glory of God or the good of thy neighbour is involved, speak. The reason added by Solomon draws the distinction, Do not answer when thy answer will make thee like the fool: answer when thy silence will give him a handle for self-conceit.


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 26:5". "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

(5) Answer a fool according to his folly.—As his folly deserves, sharply and decisively, and in language suited to his comprehension.


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

Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:5". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/proverbs-26.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.
a fool
1 Kings 22:24-28; Jeremiah 36:17,18; Matthew 15:1-3; 16:1-4; 21:23-27; 22:15-32; Luke 12:13-21; 13:23-30; John 8:7; 9:26-33; Titus 1:13
lest
12; 28:11; Romans 11:25
conceit
Heb. eyes.
Isaiah 5:21; Romans 12:16

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

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:5". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-26.html.

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