1. The incongruities of nature illustrate also those of the moral world. The fool's unworthiness is also implied (Pr 17:7 19:10).
2. Though not obvious to us, the bird--literally, "sparrow"--and swallow--have an object in their motions, so penal evil falls on none without a reason. 3. The rod is as much needed by fools and as well suited to them, as whips and bridles are for beasts. 4, 5. Answer not--that is, approvingly by like folly. 5. Answer--by reproof.
6. A fool fails by folly as surely as if he were maimed. drinketh damage--that is, gets it abundantly (Job 15:16 34:7).
7. legs . . . 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 Pr 17:7). 8. A stone, bound in a sling, is useless; so honor, conferred on a fool, is thrown away. 9. As vexatious and unmanageable as a thorn in a drunkard's hand is a parable to a fool. He will be as apt to misuse is as to use it rightly. 10. Various versions of this are proposed (Compare Margin). Better perhaps--"Much He injures (or literally, "wounds") all who reward," &c., that is, society is injured by encouraging evil men. transgressors--may be rendered "vagrants." The word "God" is improperly supplied. 11. returneth . . . folly--Though disgusting to others, the fool delights in his folly. 12. The self-conceited are taught with more difficulty than the stupid.
14. (Compare Pr 6:10 24:33). 15. (Compare Pr 19:24). 16. The thoughtless being ignorant of their ignorance are conceited. 17. meddleth--as in Pr 20:19 24:21; as either holding a dog by the ears or letting him go involves danger, so success in another man's strife or failure involves a useless risk of reputation, does no good, and may do us harm. 18, 19. Such are reckless of results. 20, 21. The talebearers foster (Pr 16:28), and the contentious excite, strife. 22. (Compare Pr 18:8). 23.Warm professions can no more give value to insincerity than silver coating to rude earthenware. 24. dissembleth--though an unusual sense of the word (compare Margin), is allowable, and better suits the context, which sets forth hypocrisy. 25. Sentiment of Pr 26:24 carried out. seven abominations in his heart--that is, very many (compare Pr 24:16). 26, 27. Deceit will at last be exposed, and the wicked by their own arts often bring on retribution (compare Pr 12:13 Ps 7:16 9:17, &c.). 28. Men hate those they injure. A lying tongue--"lips" for the persons (compare Pr 4:24 Ps 12:3).