What is Worse than Being a Fool? – Proverbs 26:1–12

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Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Senior
Greetings beloved of the Lord,

In Proverbs 26:1-12, the word 'fool' is found 11 times. It appears in all but the second verse.

I have often thought that the 'fool' is not the main topic of the passage. That all that is said of the fool, while true, is a setup for the climax in verse 12. A subtle trap to get you thinking like the Pharisee in Luke 18:11. Let me ask you. Have you ever read the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector and thanked God you were not like that Pharisee? If so, know that you were never more of a Pharisee than at that moment.

Allow me to take some liberty with Luke 18:11

Luke 18:11
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee that I am a wise man, that I am not as other men are, insolent, stupid, a dullard, or as this fool I read of in the Proverbs.

What do you think of my interpretation of the passage?


Proverbs 26:1–12 (KJV 1900)
1 As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, So honour is not seemly for a fool.
2 As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, So the curse causeless shall not come.
3 A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, And a rod for the fool’s back.
4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, Lest thou also be like unto him.
5 Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own conceit.
6 He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool Cutteth off the feet, and drinketh damage.
7 The legs of the lame are not equal: So is a parable in the mouth of fools.
8 As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, So is he that giveth honour to a fool.
9 As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, So is a parable in the mouth of fools.
10 The great God that formed all things Both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors.
11 As a dog returneth to his vomit, So a fool returneth to his folly.
12 Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him.
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