Proverbs 26:1-12 Fool

Like snow in summer or rain in harvest,
    honor is not fitting for a fool.
2 Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow,
    an undeserved curse does not come to rest.
3 A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey,
    and a rod for the backs of fools!
4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
    or you yourself will be just like him.
5 Answer a fool according to his folly,
    or he will be wise in his own eyes.
6 Sending a message by the hands of a fool
    is like cutting off one’s feet or drinking poison.
7 Like the useless legs of one who is lame
    is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.
8 Like tying a stone in a sling
    is the giving of honor to a fool.
9 Like a thornbush in a drunkard’s hand
    is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.
10 Like an archer who wounds at random
    is one who hires a fool or any passer-by.
11 As a dog returns to its vomit,
    so fools repeat their folly.
12 Do you see a person wise in their own eyes?
    There is more hope for a fool than for them.


What is a fool?  How do you handle a fool?  Why not play the fool?  What if a person doesn’t see they are a fool?  These questions are addressed in the beginning of chapter 26.  Of course, the definition of ‘fool’ is vastly different than our present day one.  In our present day, a wise person is one who gets good results.  By good, we tend to think financially beneficial or materially rewarding. Even a spouse is reduced from a helpmeet to a commodity.  men trade theirs in if she ceases to look good, women trade theirs in in they cease to feel good.  A truly wise person has insight that goes beyond the material or commercial.  A truly wise person does not focus on not-being the fool, but uses warnings about foolishness to focus on God.  He is the author of wisdom.


  1. Why not be a fool?
  2. Which two verses contradict each other?  Why?
  3. What is the biblical idea of a ‘fool’?
  4. How do you view ‘wise’ and ‘foolish’?
  5. How could you be wiser today?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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