Proverbs 26:1
As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honor is not seemly for a fool.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
XXVI.

(1) As rain in harvest.—This was very unusual in Palestine (comp. 1Samuel 12:17, sqq.), and of course very unsuitable for carrying on the work of harvest.

So honour is not seemly for a fool.—i.e., for a dull person, confident in his own wisdom (Proverbs 1:22). It only confirms him in his good opinion of himself, making him less inclined than ever to learn.

Proverbs 26:1. As snow in summer, &c. — Unseasonable and unbecoming; so honour is not seemly for a fool — Because he neither deserves it, nor knows how to use it, and his folly is both increased and manifested by it. Bishop Patrick considers this as a tacit admonition to kings (for whose use principally, he thinks, this last part of the book of Proverbs was collected) to be very careful in disposing of preferments only to worthy persons; bad men being made worse by them, and usually doing as much hurt to others, by the abuse of their power, as snow or hail does to the fruits of the earth, when they are ripe and ready to be gathered. “So that,” says he, “we may make this aphorism out of Solomon’s words, that ‘the blending of summer and winter would not cause a greater disorder in the natural world, than the disposal of honour to bad men (and consequently throwing contempt upon the good) doth in the moral world.’”26:1 Honour is out of season to those unworthy and unfit for it.In Palestine there is commonly hardly any rain from the early showers of spring to October. Hence, "rain in harvest" became sometimes (see the marginal reference) a supernatural sign, sometimes, as here, a proverb for whatever was strange and incongruous. CHAPTER 26

Pr 26:1-28.

1. The incongruities of nature illustrate also those of the moral world. The fool's unworthiness is also implied (Pr 17:7; 19:10).Rules how to carry it towards fools, Proverbs 26:1-12. The slothful man described, Proverbs 26:13-16. The character of a contentious man, and of a busybody, and tale-bearer, Proverbs 26:17-23. The evil of hypocrisy and lying, Proverbs 26:24-28.

As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest; unbecoming and unseasonable.

So honour is not seemly for a fool, because he neither deserves it, nor knows how to use it, but his folly is both increased and publicly manifested by it.

As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest,.... Which were very undesirable and unseasonable, yea, very hurtful to the fruits of the earth; and a great obstruction to the labourers in the harvest, and a hinderance to the gathering of it in; and were very rare and uncommon in Judea; it was even a miracle for thunder and rain to be in wheat harvest, 1 Samuel 12:17;

so honour is not seemly for a fool: for a wicked man; such should not be favoured by kings, and set in high places of honour and trust; "folly set in great dignity", or foolish and bad men set in honourable places, are as unsuitable and inconvenient as snow and rain in summer and harvest, and should be as rare as they; and they are as hurtful and pernicious, since they discourage virtue and encourage vice, and hinder the prosperity of the commonwealth; such vile persons are contemned in the eyes of good men, and are disregarded of God; he will not give, theft, glory here nor hereafter; the wise shall inherit it, but shame shall be the promotion of fools, Proverbs 3:35; see Ecclesiastes 10:6.

As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honour is not seemly for a fool.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1. rain in harvest] “For six months in the year no rain falls [in Palestine], and the harvests are gathered in without any of the anxiety with which we are so familiar lest the work be interrupted by unseasonable storms. In this respect at least the climate has remained unchanged since the time when Boaz slept by his heap of corn; and the sending thunder and rain in wheat harvest was a miracle which filled the people with fear and wonder (1 Samuel 12:16-18); and Solomon could speak of ‘rain in harvest’ as the most forcible expression for conveying the idea of something utterly out of place and unnatural (Proverbs 26:1).”—Smith’s Dict. of Bible, Art. Rain.Verses 1-12. - Certain proverbs concerning the fool (kesil), with the exception, perhaps, of ver. 2 (see on Proverbs 1:22). Verse 1. - As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest. Snow in summer would be quite unnatural and unheard of (see on Proverbs 25:13). Rain falls in the usual course of things only at stated times; whence arose the phrase of "the early and of latter rains" (see on Proverbs 16:15). From spring to October or November was the dry season, and a storm at harvest time was regarded, not merely as destructive or inconvenient, but as portentous and even supernatural (see 1 Samuel 12:17, etc.). The two cases are types of all that is incongruous and unsuitable. The LXX., apparently regarding their experience in Egypt rather than the actual text, translate, "As dew in harvest, and as rain in summer." So honour is not seemly for a fool (ver. 8; Proverbs 19:10). It is quite out of place to show respect to a stupid and ungodly man, or to raise him to a post of dignity; such conduct will only confirm him in his folly, give others a wrong impression concerning him, and afford him increased power of mischief. The Greeks had a proverb about giving honour to unsuitable objects: they called it washing an ass's head with nitre. The next group of proverbs extends from Proverbs 25:23 to Proverbs 25:28.

23 Wind from the north produceth rain;

     And a secret tongue a troubled countenance.

The north is called צפון, from צפן, to conceal, from the firmament darkening itself for a longer time, and more easily, like the old Persian apâkhtara, as (so it appears) the starless, and, like aquilo, the north wind, as bringing forward the black clouds. But properly the "fathers of rain" are, in Syria, the west and the south-west; and so little can צפון here mean the pure north wind, that Jerome, who knew from his own experience the changes of weather in Palestine, helps himself, after Symmachus (διαλύει βροχήν), with a quid pro quo out of the difficulty: ventus aquilo dissipat pluvias; the Jewish interpreters (Aben Ezra, Joseph Kimchi, and Meri) also thus explain, for they connect together תחולל, in the meaning תמנע, with the unintelligible חלילה (far be it!). But צפון may also, perhaps like ζόφος (Deutsch. Morgenl. Zeitsch. xxi. 600f.), standing not without connection therewith, denote the northwest; and probably the proverb emphasized the northern direction of the compass, because, according to the intention of the similitude, he seeks to designate such rain as is associated with raw, icy-cold weather, as the north wind (Proverbs 27:16, lxx, Sir. 43:20) brings along with it. The names of the winds are gen. fem., e.g., Isaiah 43:6. תּחולל (Aquila, ὠδίνει; cf. Proverbs 8:24, ὠδινήθην) has in Codd., e.g., the Jaman., the tone on the penult., and with Tsere Metheg (Thorath Emeth, p. 21) serving as העמדה. So also the Arab. nataj is used of the wind, as helping the birth of the rain-clouds. Manifestly פנים נזעמים, countenances manifesting extreme displeasure (vid., the Kal זעם, Proverbs 24:24), are compared to rain. With justice Hitzig renders פנים, as e.g., John 2:6, in the plur. sense; because, for the influence which the tongue slandering in secret (Psalm 101:5) has on the slandered, the "sorrowful countenance" would not be so characteristic as for the influence which it exercises on the mutual relationships of men: the secret babbler, the confidential communication throwing suspicion, now on this one and now on that one, behind their backs, excites men against one another, so that one shows to another a countenance in which deep displeasure and suspicion express themselves.

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