The Agora
Bible Commentary

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Proverbs 26

Pro 26:3

HORSE: Related to war (Job 39:19,21), but is stubborn and vain (Psa 147:10; 33:17), unrepentant (Jer 8:5,6), and must first be chastised -- the whip (Jam 3:3; 1Co 4:21).

DONKEY: An unclean animal, but could be redeemed and loosed on Sabbath (Luk 13:15), more submissive (Isa 1:3) and peaceful (Zec 9:9; Joh 12:14), but still needed guidance (halter).

ROD: Guidance, as provided by a shepherd. Lit "scepter": perhaps of Christ (Isa 11:4).

Pro 26:4

See Mat 7:6.

Pro 26:5

Practically illustrated by the incident of the question of John's baptism: "By whose authority?" (Mat 21:24-27; cp Luk 20:1-8).

Pro 26:6

DRINKING VIOLENCE: That is, planning violence while drinking (cp Pro 4:17).

Pro 26:7

Such a parable does not proceed smoothly, but falls of its own weight.

Pro 26:8

Isa 7:7.

IT WILL NOT TAKE PLACE, IT WILL NOT HAPPEN: Judah will be safe from the depredations of Syria and Israel; God has guaranteed it!

Pro 26:9

A drunkard is insensible to pain! cannot be rebuked...

Pro 26:14

AS A DOOR TURNS ON ITS HINGES, SO A SLUGGARD TURNS ON HIS BED: "We have never encountered one who was attached to his bed quite as securely as a door is attached to its hinges. All these sayings are lively caricatures of human weaknesses... The door turning on its hinges may serve a useful purpose, allowing entrance to a room while keeping out the wind, but the sluggard turning on his bed performs no service of any kind. This seems like a caricature of a man who cannot make up his mind. Is indecision really one of the effects of sloth? We can imagine that men who experience difficulty in making decisions would answer this question with an emphatic No. They spend much mental energy in their careful weighing of arguments and so they multiply the tasks which a sluggard would scheme to avoid. They would attribute their difficulties to an excess of caution, never to sloth" (PrPr).

Pro 26:15

"What an incredible picture is brought to the mind: a person starving to death but too lazy of pick up the food that is right there in front of him. How many people do you know that profess to be Christians yet would have great difficulty telling you where in the Bible the book of Hebrews is? Could they even tell you if it was in the OT or the NT? Could they even tell you if there was such a book in the Bible? Yet, there are few households in first world countries that don't have a Bible somewhere in them" (KT).

Pro 26:17

Or, perhaps, "like one who takes a passing dog by the ears" (RSV).

See Lesson, Prov and strife.

LIKE ONE WHO SEIZES A DOG BY THE EARS: "This surely would be bad for the dog and bad also for the one who interfered. The intervener can rarely do any good in such a matter and he may easily do harm. Probably the only way in which such interference can end the original dispute is by turning the wrath of both combatants upon the would-be peacemaker" (PrPr 147).

IS A PASSER-BY WHO MEDDLES IN A QUARREL NOT HIS OWN: "Adults often reveal less capacity for learning than children. They have the advantage of books containing all the accumulated wisdom of mankind, and beyond all this and permeating a great deal of it, there is the instruction that has come direct from God, yet the knowledge is very little used. Life is full of avoidable evils through men ignoring principles or rules of conduct which are perfectly well known, and which have had their wisdom demonstrated in every generation.

"Sometimes the individual failure is so obvious that almost all observers smile at it. I recall two instances of this kind in which the facts were related by the victim when sufficient time had passed for him to join in the amusement... The other case was that of a young man who, when returning home one night, chanced to pass a low part of the city where there was a quarrel between man and wife. The young fellow, perceiving that the woman was being ill-treated, gallantly went to her assistance. He was, as he expressed it, 'getting on very nicely' in his contest with the man when the ungrateful woman came up behind and hit her champion on the head with a saucepan. According to his own account, the young man spent a carefree hour in the gutter before he came back to consciousness of this painful life. Then, as he limped slowly homeward, he began dimly to recall to memory certain maxims regarding the unwisdom of meddling with strife that does not belong to us" (PrPr).

Pro 26:19

See Lesson, Honesty (GG).

Pro 26:20

See Lesson, Prov and strife.

Pro 26:23

Basic idea: a bright glaze covering an impure substance.

A COATING OF GLAZE: Heb "kesep sigim". KJV's "silver dross" is basically meaningless. The NIV rendering is based on Hittite "zapzagu" ("glaze"), Ugaritic "spsg" (MNIV 99).

Pro 26:28

A LYING TONGUE HATES THOSE IT HURTS: "This is certainly not a principle of human conduct to light our way through life; but it is a primary fact of human weakness which we need to recognize. Keen observers in each generation discover the fact for themselves, and sometimes remark on it as a paradox. Yet it was more perfectly stated in the Proverbs of Solomon than ever by writers of later days.

"The converse truth has also been noted, although perhaps not put in this definite form: the truthful tongue loves those who are blest by it. There is nothing so fruitful of love as the practical works of love. Action sometimes has to precede feeling. Works of love may be undertaken only from a sense of duty, or for the love of Christ, and eventually the worker will develop a genuine love for the unattractive people who benefit by his labours" (PrPr).

Previous Index Next