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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 26:7

 

 

Like the legs which are useless to the lame, So is a proverb in the mouth of fools.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Or, Take away the legs of the lame man, and the parable that is in the mouth of fools: both are alike useless to their possessors. Other meanings are:

(1) “The legs of the lame man are feeble, so is parable in the mouth of fools.”

(2) “the lifting up of the legs of a lame man, i. e., his attempts at dancing, are as the parable in the mouth of fools.”


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These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:7". "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 legs of the lame are not equal,.... Or as "the lifting up the legs by one that is lame"F13דליו שוקים מפסה "elevatio crurum a claudo facta", Gejerus, Michaelis. , to dance to a pipe or violin, is very unseemly, and does but the more expose his infirmity, and can give no pleasure to others, but causes derision and contempt;

so is a parable in the mouth of fools; an apophthegm, or sententious expression of his own, which he delivers out as a wise saying, but is lame and halts; it is not consistent with itself, but like the legs of a lame man, one higher than the other: or one of the proverbs of this book, or rather any passage of Scripture, in the mouth of a wicked man; or any religious discourse of his is very unsuitable, since his life and conversation do not agree with it; it is as disagreeable to hear such a man talk of religious affairs as it is to see a lame man dance; or whose legs imitate buckets at a well, where one goes up and another down, as GussetiusF14"Femora claudi imitantur situlas", Gussetius, p. 188. "situlas agunt crura ex claudio", Schultens; "instar binarum sitularum in puteo alternatium adscendentium ac descendentium", Gejerus. interprets the word.


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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 26:7". "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

equal — or, “take away the legs,” or “the legs … are weak.” In any case the idea is that they are the occasion of an awkwardness, such as the fool shows in using a parable or proverb (see on Introduction; Proverbs 17:7).


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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 26:7". "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

7 The hanging down of the legs of a lame man;

And a proverb in a fool's mouth.

With reference to the obscure דּליוּ , the following views have been maintained: - (1) The form as punctuated appears directly as an imperative. Thus the lxx translate, the original text of which is here: ἀφελοῦ πορείαν κυλλῶν (conj. Lagarde's) καὶ παροιμίαν ἐκ στόματος ἀφρόνων , which the Syr. (with its imitator, the Targ.) has rendered positively: “If thou canst give the power of (sound) going to the lame, then wilt thou also receive (prudent) words from the mouth of a fool.” Since Kimchi, דּליוּ has been regarded by many as the softening of the Imp . Piel דּדּוּ , according to which the Venet . translates: ἐπάρατε κνήμας χωλοῦ ; and Bertheau and Zöckler explain: always take away his legs from the lame, since they are in reality useless to him, just as a proverb in the mouth of the fool is useless - something that without loss might be never there.” But why did not the poet write הרימוּ , or הסירוּ , or קחוּ , or the like? דּלּי , to carry away, to dispense with, is Syriac (Targ. Jer . I, under Deuteronomy 32:50), but not Hebrew. And how meaningless is this expression! A lame man would withstand a surgeon (as he would a murderer) who would amputate his legs; for lame legs are certainly better than none, especially since there is a great distinction between a lame man ( פּדּח , from פּסח , luxare ; cf. (Arab.) fasaḥ , laxare , vid ., Schultens) who halts or goes on crutches (2 Samuel 3:29), and one who is maimed (paralytic), who needs to be carried. It comes to this, that by this rendering of 7a one must, as a consequence, with the lxx, regard וּמשׁל [and a proverb] as object. accus. parallel to שׁקים [legs]; but “to draw a proverb from one's mouth” is, after Proverbs 20:5, something quite different from to tear a proverb away from him, besides which, one cannot see how it is to be caught. Rather one would prefer: attollite crura claudi ( ut incedat, et nihil promovebitis ); but the מן of מפּסּח does not accord with this, and 7b does not connect itself with it. But the explanation: “take away the legs from a lame man who has none, at least none to use, and a proverb in the mouth of fools, when there is none,” is shattered against the “leg-taking-away,” which can only be used perhaps of frogs' legs. (2) Symmachus translates: ἐξέλιπον κνῆμαι ἀπὸ χωλοῦ ; and Chajûg explains דּליוּ as 3 pret. Kal , to which Kimchi adds the remark, that he appears to have found דּליוּ , which indeed is noted by Norzi and J. H. Michaelis as a variant. But the Masoretic reading is דּליוּ , and this, after Gesenius and Böttcher (who in this, without any reason, sees an Ephraimitic form of uttering the word), is a softened variation from דּדּוּ . Only it is a pity that this softening, while it is supported by alius = ἄλλος , folium = φύλλον , faillir = fallere , and the like, has yet not a single Hebrew or Semitic example in its favour. (3) Therefore Ewald finds, “all things considered,” that it is best to read דּליוּ , “the legs are too loose for the lame man to use them.” But, with Dietrich, we cannot concur in this, nor in the more appropriate translation: “the legs of the lame hang down loose,” to say nothing of the clearly impossible: “high are the legs of the lame (one higher than the other),” and that because this form גּליוּ for גּליוּ also occurs without pause, Psalms 57:2; Psalms 73:2; Psalms 122:6; Isaiah 21:12; but although thus, as at Psalms 36:9; Psalms 68:32, at the beginning of a clause, yet always only in connection, never at the beginning of an address. (4) It has also been attempted to interpret דּליוּ as abstr., e.g. , Euchel: “he learns from a cripple to dance, who seeks to learn proverbs from the mouth of a fool.” דּליוּ שׁקים must mean the lifting up of the legs = springing and dancing. Accordingly Luther translates:

“As dancing to a cripple,

So does it become a fool to speak of wisdom.”

The thought is agreeable, and according to fact; but these words to not mean dancing, but much rather, as the Arabic shows ( vid ., Schultens at Proverbs 20:5, and on the passage before us), a limping, waddling walk, like that of ducks, after the manner of a well-bucket dangling to and fro. And דּליוּ , after the form מלכוּ , would be an unheard-of Aramaism. For forms such as שׂחוּ , swimming, and שׁלוּ , security, Psalms 30:7, on which C. B. Michaelis and others rest, cannot be compared, since they are modified from sachw , ṣalw , while in דּליוּ the û ending must be, and besides the Aramaic דּליוּ must in st. constr . be דּליוּוּת . Since none of these explanations are grammatically satisfactory, and besides דּליוּ = דּללוּ = דּדּוּ gives a parallel member which is heterogeneous and not conformable to the nature of an emblematical proverb, we read דּלּוּי after the forms צפּוּי , שׁקּוּי (cf. חבּוּק , Proverbs 6:10; Proverbs 24:33), and this signifies loose, hanging down, from דּלה , to hang at length and loosely down, or transitively: to hang, particularly of the hanging down at length of the bucket-rope, and of the bucket itself, to draw water from the well. The מן is similar to that of Job 28:4, only that here the connecting of the hanging down, and of that from which it hangs down, is clear. Were we to express the purely nominally expressed emblematical proverb in the form of a comparative one, it would thus stand as Fleischer translates it: ut laxa et flaccida dependent ( torpent ) crura a claudo, sic sententia in ore stultorum ( sc. torpet h. e. inutilis est ). The fool can as little make use of an intelligent proverb, or moral maxim ( dictum sententiosum ), as a lame man can of his feet; the word, which in itself is full of thought, and excellent, becomes halting, lame, and loose in his mouth (Schultens: deformiter claudicat ); it has, as spoken and applied by him, neither hand nor foot. Strangely, yet without missing the point, Jerome: quomodo pulcras frustra habet claudus tibias, sic indecens est in ore stultorum parabola . The lame man possibly has limbs that appear sound; but when he seeks to walk, they fail to do him service - so a bon-mot comes forth awkwardly when the fool seeks to make use of it. Hitzig's conjecture: as leaping of the legs on the part of a lame man..., Böttcher has already shown sufficient reasons for rejecting; leaping on the part of any one, for the leaping of any one, were a court style familiar to no poet.


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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 26:7". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/proverbs-26.html. 1854-1889.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

The legs of the lame are not equal: so is a parable in the mouth of fools.

The legs — Heb. the legs of the lame are lifted up, in going, or in dancing, which is done with great inequality and uncomeliness.

So — No less incident are wise and pious speeches from a foolish and ungodly man.


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 26:7". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/proverbs-26.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Proverbs 26:7 The legs of the lame are not equal: so [is] a parable in the mouth of fools.

Ver. 7. The legs of the lame are not equal.] Locum habet proverbium cum is qui male vivit, bene loquitur, saith an interpreter. (a) This proverb hits such as speak well, but live otherwise. Uniformity and ubiquity of obedience are sure signs of sincerity; but as [an] unequal pulse argues a distempered body, so doth uneven walking show a diseased soul. A wise man’s life is all of one colour, like itself; and godliness runs through it, as the woof runs through the warp. But if all the parts of the line of thy life be not straight before God, it is a crooked life. If thy tongue speak by the talent, but thine hands scarce work by the ounce, thou shalt pass for a Pharisee. [Matthew 23:3] They spake like angels, lived like devils; had heaven commonly at their tongue ends, but the earth continually at their finger ends. Odi homines ignava opera, philosopha sententia, said the heathen; that is, I hate such hypocrites as have mouths full of holiness, hearts full of hollowness. A certain stranger coming on embassy to the senate of Rome, and colouring his hoary hair and pale cheeks with vermilion hue, a grave senator espying the deceit, stood up and said, ‘What sincerity are we to expect at this man’s hand, whose locks, and looks, and lips do lie?’


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:7". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-26.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The legs of the lame are not equal, Heb. As (which note of similitude is plainly understood from the particle so in the following clause) the legs of the lame are lifted up, to wit, in going, or rather in dancing, which is done with great inequality and uncomeliness.

So is a parable in the mouth of fools; no less absurd and indecent are wise and pious speeches from a foolish and ungodly man, whose actions grossly contradict them, whereby he makes them contemptible, and himself ridiculous.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 26:7". 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

7. Legs… not equal — The root of דליו, (dalyu,) translated not equal, is uncertain. Hence we have the following: 1. As the legs of the lame are weak, so a proverb, etc. 2. Take away the legs of a lame man, and so take away a proverb, etc. 3. The legs hang down from the lame, etc. 4. The legs drag after the lame, etc. Each of these is favoured by different authorities. Forms from the supposed root are sometimes rendered in our Version in the sense of exalted, lifted up, etc. (See margin; also Psalms 30:1.) Hence Patrick says: “As the word dalyu signifies something of elevation or lifting up, I have explained it of dancing,” which explanation, as it is curious, we give: “A wise saying as ill becomes a fool as dancing doth a cripple; for as his lameness never so much appears as when he would seem nimble, the other’s folly is never so ridiculous as when he would seem wise.” A good sense, whether it is that of the proverb or not.

Parable משׁל, (mashal,) the same word is rendered proverb in this book. See on Proverbs 1:1.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:7". "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 26:7. The legs of the lame are not equal — Hebrew, דליו, are lifted up, namely, in going, which is done with great inequality and uncomeliness; so is a parable in the mouth of fools — No less absurd and indecent are wise and pious speeches from a foolish and ungodly man, whose actions grossly contradict them, whereby he makes them contemptible, and himself ridiculous.


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:7". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/proverbs-26.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Fair. Hebrew, "unequal legs," or "lifted up," so, &c. (Haydock)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:7". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/proverbs-26.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

legs = clothes; "legs" put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Subject), App-6, for the clothes on them.

are not equal = are lifted up: i.e. the clothes being lifted up expose the lame legs. So a fool exposes his folly in expounding a parable.


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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:7". "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 legs of the lame are not equal: so is a parable in the mouth of fools.

The legs of the lame are not equal, [ dalyuw (H1809), from daalah (H1802)] - literally, rise up, or are elevated: one leg is longer than the other; so a parable (a sententious maxim) in the mouth of fools.

The parable halts, and is not consistent on all sides with itself, and is still less so with the character of him who speaks it. The parabolic style needs especial acuteness: the fool has regard neither to the time, nor place, nor sense. nor application, and so misses the scope of the proverb which he quotes (Sirach 20:20, 'A wise sentence shall be rejected when it cometh out of a fool's mouth, for he will not speak it in due season').


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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 26:7". "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

(7) The legs of the lame are not equal.—Better, perhaps. The legs hang down from a lame man, and so is a parable (useless) in the mouth of fools; they can make no more use of it for the guidance of themselves or others, than can a lame man use his legs. (Comp. Luke 8:10.)


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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:7". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/proverbs-26.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

The legs of the lame are not equal: so is a parable in the mouth of fools.
not equal
Heb. lifted up. so.
9; 17:7; Psalms 50:16-21; 64:8; Matthew 7:4,5; Luke 4:23

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 26:7". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-26.html.

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