Proverbs 26:4
Verse (Click for Chapter)
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.

New Heart English Bible
Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you 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.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Answer not a fool according to his folly, Lest thou also be like unto him.

New American Standard 1977
Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
            Lest you also 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.
Study Bible
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 holy; do not throw your pearls before swine. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.

Proverbs 23:9
Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, For he will despise the wisdom of your words.

Proverbs 29:9
When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, The foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest.

Isaiah 36:21
But they were silent and answered him not a word; for the king's commandment was, "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 …

(4) Answer not a fool.--Comp. Proverbs 1:22.

According to his folly.--Do not lower yourself by disputing or arguing with him; he will not take in your meaning, and will think he has got the better of you, perhaps will insult you. It is noticeable that our Lord never answered a question which should not have been asked Him, but always put it by (e.g., Matthew 21:23, sqq.; Luke 13:23-24; Luke 23:9; John 21:21-22; Acts 1:6, sqq.).

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