Proverbs 26:4
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him.

New Living Translation
Don't answer the foolish arguments of fools, or you will become as foolish as they are.

English Standard Version
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself.

New American Standard Bible
Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Or you will also be like him.

King James Bible
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Don't answer a fool according to his foolishness or you'll be like him yourself.

International Standard Version
Don't answer a fool according to his foolishness, or you will be just like him.

NET Bible
Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you yourself also be like him.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Do not give answer to a fool according to his foolishness, lest you also be like him.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Do not answer a fool with his own stupidity, or you will be like him.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Never answer a fool according to his folly lest thou also be like unto him.

King James 2000 Bible
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like unto him.

American King James Version
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like to him.

American Standard Version
Answer not a fool according to his folly, Lest thou also be like unto him.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou be made like him.

Darby Bible Translation
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

English Revised Version
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

Webster's Bible Translation
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like him.

World English Bible
Don't answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him.

Young's Literal Translation
Answer not a fool according to his folly, Lest thou be like to him -- even thou.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

26:2. He that is cursed without cause, the curse shall do him no more harm than the bird that flies over his head. 3. Every creature must be dealt with according to its nature, but careless and profligate sinners never will be ruled by reason and persuasion. Man indeed is born like the wild ass's colt; but some, by the grace of God, are changed. 4,5. We are to fit our remarks to the man, and address them to his conscience, so as may best end the debate. 6-9. Fools are not fit to be trusted, nor to have any honour. Wise sayings, as a foolish man delivers and applies them, lose their usefulness. 10. This verse may either declare how the Lord, the Creator of all men, will deal with sinners according to their guilt, or, how the powerful among men should disgrace and punish the wicked. 11. The dog is a loathsome emblem of those sinners who return to their vices, 2Pe 2:22. 12. We see many a one who has some little sense, but is proud of it. This describes those who think their spiritual state to be good, when really it is very bad. 13. The slothful man hates every thing that requires care and labour. But it is foolish to frighten ourselves from real duties by fancied difficulties. This may be applied to a man slothful in the duties of religion. 14. Having seen the slothful man in fear of his work, here we find him in love with his ease. Bodily ease is the sad occasion of many spiritual diseases. He does not care to get forward with his business. Slothful professors turn thus. The world and the flesh are hinges on which they are hung; and though they move in a course of outward services, yet they are not the nearer to heaven. 15. The sluggard is now out of his bed, but he might have lain there, for any thing he is likely to bring to pass in his work. It is common for men who will not do their duty, to pretend they cannot. Those that are slothful in religion, will not be at the pains to feed their souls with the bread of life, nor to fetch in promised blessings by prayer. 16. He that takes pains in religion, knows he is working for a good Master, and that his labour shall not be in vain. 17. To make ourselves busy in other men's matters, is to thrust ourselves into temptation. 18,19. He that sins in jest, must repent in earnest, or his sin will be his ruin. 20-22. Contention heats the spirit, and puts families and societies into a flame. And that fire is commonly kindled and kept burning by whisperers and backbiters. 23. A wicked heart disguising itself, is like a potsherd covered with the dross of silver.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 4. - Answer not a fool according to his folly. Do not lower yourself to the fool's level by answering his silly questions or arguing with him as if he were a sensible man. Lest thou also be like unto him; lest you be led to utter folly yourself or to side with him in his opinions and practices. Our blessed Saviour never responded to foolish and captious questions in the way that the questioner hoped and desired, he put them by or gave an unexpected turn to them which silenced the adversary. Instances may be seen in Matthew 21:23, etc.; Matthew 22:21, 22; Luke 13:23, etc.; John 21:21, etc.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Answer not a fool according to his folly,.... Sometimes a fool, or wicked man, is not to be answered at all; as the ministers of Hezekiah answered not a word to Rabshakeh; nor Jeremiah the prophet to Hananiah; nor Christ to the Scribes and Pharisees; and when an answer is returned, it should not be in his foolish way and manner, rendering evil for evil, and railing for railing, in the same virulent, lying, calumniating, and reproachful language;

lest thou also be like unto him; lest thou also, who art a man of understanding and sense, and hast passed for one among men, come under the same imputation, and be reckoned a fool like him.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

4, 5. Answer not—that is, approvingly by like folly.

Proverbs 26:4 Additional Commentaries
Context
Similitudes and Instructions
3A whip is for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, And a rod for the back of fools. 4Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Or you will also be like him. 5Answer a fool as his folly deserves, That he not be wise in his own eyes.…
Cross References
Matthew 7:6
"Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

Proverbs 23:9
Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words.

Proverbs 29:9
If a wise person goes to court with a fool, the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace.

Isaiah 36:21
But the people remained silent and said nothing in reply, because the king had commanded, "Do not answer him."
Treasury of Scripture

Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like to him.

Proverbs 17:14 The beginning of strife is as when one lets out water: therefore …

Judges 12:1-6 And the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and went northward, …

2 Samuel 19:41-43 And, behold, all the men of Israel came to the king, and said to …

1 Kings 12:14,16 And spoke to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My …

2 Kings 14:8-10 Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz son …

1 Peter 2:21-23 For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for …

1 Peter 3:9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise …

Jude 1:9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed …

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