Proverbs 26–27: Fools & Friends

Read the Bible in 2011Week 39: Thursday

Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
Or you will also be like him.
Answer a fool as his folly deserves,
That he not be wise in his own eyes.

Proverbs 26:4–5

Thursday’s Bible reading of Proverbs 26–27 continues the section containing, “Further Proverbs of Solomon (Hezekiah’s Collection).”1

How do you recognize a fool? Go back to the first chapter of Proverbs:

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;
Fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Proverbs 1:7

We need to learn wise interaction with everyone, and today’s reading provides wisdom on dealing with fools to save us not only time and energy, but heartache. In fact, A. F. Walls titles 26:1–12, “A book of fools”; 26:13–16, “A books of sluggards”; and 26:17–28, “A book of scoundrels”.2 I was reminded of Jesus’ admonition, “…do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

Walls titles chapter 27, “Remarks on human relations,” and there you will find wisdom on friendship and other relationships.3

Proverbs saves us from stumbling and disaster in so many areas. It’s amazing to me that it’s not taught more thoroughly or studied more often to spare Christians many pitfalls and to set us on sure paths.

Isaiah 42 Photograph: – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications
1Derek Kidner, Proverbs, p. 57.
2, 3A. F. Walls, “Proverbs,” The New Bible Commentary: Revised, D. Guthrie, J. A. Motyer, eds., A. M. Stibbs, D. J. Wiseman, contributing eds., pp. 567, 568.

Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter

3 thoughts on “Proverbs 26–27: Fools & Friends

  1. I forgot to mention that I think Proverbs 27:6 & 17 define one of the differences between a true friend who sticks with you through everything and a flatterer who is an enabler of wrong behavior.

  2. This reminds me of an incident from my husband’s past. He was attending a men’s lunch meeting and one of the Christian business men who he did not really know, came up to him as he was standing in a group of other men. This man then began to speak to my husband (all the while thumping him on the chest) about all of the “hideous secret sins” that were in my husband’s life (none of which were true). The rest of the men that my husband had been talking to began to look at him as if he had some dreaded communicable disease, believing all the things that this man was speaking about.

    My husband tells me that, as he stood there trying to figure out what to do to stop this man from speaking any more untruths, the Lord spoke to him the verse from Proverbs 17:28: “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.” My husband began to laugh uproariously; not exactly the expected response to the “seriousness” of all the accused sins.

    This stopped the conversation cold and the man asked my husband what he was laughing about; what he thought was so funny. At this point my husband quoted the above Proverb. This diffused the entire situation and to the other man’s credit he did apologize.

    My husband still laughs after all these years that God would love him enough to give him a verse that would stop someone in their tracks: the power of God’s Word! 🙂

  3. What a story! People can go after you out of the blue and blurt out the most damaging things. I’m so glad God brought that verse to his mind. It really is to the man’s credit that he apologized, because sadly many would go off in a huff.

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