|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.
Verse 8. - As he that bindeth a stone in a sling. So Septuagint, Ὅς ἀποδεσμέυει λίθον ἐν σφενδόνῃ. This gives a very good sense the point being either that the stone, after being firmly fitted in its place, quickly passes away from the sling, or, if more stress is laid on the word "bindeth," that the stone is so firmly fixed that it cannot be slung, and therefore never reaches the mark. The alternative rendering adopted by the Revised Version is this, "As a bag of gems in a heap of stones;" where the incongruity would consist either in exposing jewels on a cairn, or sepulchral monument, whence they could easily be filched, or in attracting undesirable attention. But there are grammatical and etymological reasons against this interpretation; and the Authorized Version is to be considered correct. The Vulgate is curious: Sieur qui mittit lapidem in acervum Mercurii. This rendering points to the custom, with which Jerome must have been familiar, of erecting statues of Mercury on the highways, which were thus placed under his protection. Round these statues were ranged heaps of stones, to which every wayfarer contributed by throwing a pebble as he passed. The absence of the critical faculty which discerned no absurdity in this anachronism is sufficiently remarkable. The Latin saying seems intended to denote useless labour, as we speak of "carrying coals to Newcastle." So is he that giveth honour to a fool. You pay respect to a fool, or place him in an honourable position, but your labour is wasted; he cannot act up to his dignity, he cannot maintain the honour; it passes away like the stone from the sling, or, if it remains, it is useless to him.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
As he that bindeth a stone in a sling,.... That so fastens it to it that it cannot be slung out of it, it becomes useless and does not answer the end for which it is put there; or that places it there that it may be cast out, and is cast out, and so is thrown away, and of no more use; or that puts a precious stone, so some interpret it, in a heap of common stones, even in such a heap as is used at the stoning of malefactors; or increases the heap of stones on such, which the more exposes them, and the greater reproach they are loaded with; so the more a fool is praised, it does but bring to mind his folly, and issues in his greater disgrace, so Gussetius (o): or rather it has respect to a precious stone put in such a heap of stones, as Luther; or else, according to Schultens, to such an one put into a heap of sepulchral stones; or, as Aben Ezra, that binds up a stone, a common stone, in purple, which to do is ridiculous, so R. Joseph Kimchi; the Vulgate Latin version renders it,
"as he that casts a stone to Mercury's heap;''
a Heathen deity, called by the eastern people Mertholin and Margenah (p), which last is near the same with the Hebrew word here used; whose statue was set up where two or more ways met, to direct travellers; and who therefore out of respect to the deity, and to show gratitude to him, used to cast a stone to the heap for the support of it; and which stones, set up in such doubtful places, were dedicated to him, and were called after his name (q); and not only travellers did this in honour of the deity, and to make his statue more manifest (r), but also for profit, to clear the way from stones; and this custom obtained with the Indians, Arabs, Saracens, and now does with the Mahometans (s): and such heaps of stones were also placed in cities, and at the doors of houses, in honour of Mercury, and were called from him Hermae (t); these stones were also erected for borders of countries (u). But it is not probable that this custom obtained in Solomon's time; and yet some Jewish writers interpret it to this sense, as if he that gives honour to a fool is like him that casts a stone to Mercury; and Jarchi in the text observes it as the sense of some of their Rabbins,
"that he that teacheth the law to a disciple that is not fit, is as he that casts a stone to Mercury;''
and to cast a stone to Mercury is with them the same as to commit idolatry (w); but either of the former senses is best;
so is he that giveth honour to a fool; it is all thrown away and lost, as a stone out of a sling; or as unseemly as to put a precious stone among a heap of stones, or a common stone in purple; See Gill on Proverbs 26:1.
(o) Ebr. Comment. p. 777. (p) D. Herbert de Chefbury d. Relig Gent. c. 7. p. 58. (q) Suidas in voce (r) Phurnutus de Natura Deorum, p. 33. (s) Vid. D. Herbert de Cherbury, ut supra, p. 59. (t) Cornel. Nepot. Vit. Alcibiad. l. 7. c. 3.((u) Pausan. Corinth. sive, l. 2. p. 157. (w) Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 7. s. 6. & Maimon. in ib.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. A stone, bound in a sling, is useless; so honor, conferred on a fool, is thrown away.
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