Proverbs 26:11
As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.
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(11) So a fool returneth to his folly.—Though he knows it to be folly, and ruinous to him: but vice has become to him a second nature, and he cannot, even if he would, escape from it. This is especially true of those who have given way to drink or impurity of life.

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.The word "God" is not in the original, and the adjective translated "great" is never used elsewhere absolutely in that sense. The simplest and best interpretation is: As the archer that woundeth everyone, so is he who hireth the fool, and he who hireth every passerby. Acting at random, entrusting matters of grave moment to men of bad repute, is as likely to do mischief as to shoot arrows at everyone. 11. returneth … folly—Though disgusting to others, the fool delights in his folly. As a dog returneth to his vomit, to lick up that which he had lately vomited, forgetting how burdensome and vexatious it was to him,

so a fool returneth to his folly; such like is the impudence and madness of sinners, who having smarted for their sins, and been forced to forsake them far a time, do afterwards return to the commission of them.

As a dog returneth to his vomit,.... Who being sick with what he has eaten, casts it up again, and afterwards returns unto it and licks it up;

so a fool returneth to his folly, or "repeats" (a) it, time after time, many times, as Ben Melech; or a wicked man turns to his wickedness, who, having had some qualms upon his conscience for sin, for a while forsakes it; but that fit being over, and he forgetting all his former horror and uneasiness, returns to his old course of life: a wicked man is here compared to a dog, as he is elsewhere for his impudence and voraciousness in sinning; and the filthiness of sin is expressed by the vomit of a dog, than which nothing is more nauseous and loathsome; and the apostasy of the sinner, from an external course of righteousness into open profaneness is signified by the return of this creature to it. This is said to be a "true proverb", 2 Peter 2:22, where it is quoted and applied.

(a) "qui iterat", Tigurine version, Michaelis; "iterans", Montanus, Mercerus, Cocceius, Gejerus; "duplicans", Schultens.

As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.
11. So a fool returneth to] Rather, So is a fool that repeateth, R.V.; iterat, Vulg. The Heb. word is not the same as in the first clause of the verse. Comp. on the proverb 2 Peter 2:22.

Proverbs 26:13-16. Another small group of four proverbs, of which the “sluggard” is the subject.

Verse 11. - As the dog returneth to his vomit (see 2 Peter 2:22, which, however, is not quoted from the Septuagint), so a fool returneth to his folly; or, repeateth his folly. The fool never frees himself from the trammels of his foolishness; his deeds and words always bear the same character to the end. The same truth holds good of the sinner, especially the drunkard and the sensualist. If they feel temporary compunction, and reject their sin by partial repentance, they do not really shake it off wholly; it has become a second nature to them, and they soon relapse into it. Septuagint, "As when a dog goes to his own vomit and becomes hateful, so is a fool who returns in his wickedness to his own sin." The LXX. adds a distich which is found in Ecclus. 4:21, "There is a shame that bringeth sin, and there is a shame that is glory and grace." Proverbs 26:11The series of proverbs regarding fools is continued:

Like a dog which returneth to his vomit,

Is a fool who cometh again with his folly.

שׁב is like שׁונה, particip.; only if the punctuation were כּכּלב, ought "which returneth to his vomit" to be taken as a relative clause (vid., under Psalm 38:14). Regarding על as designating the terminus quo with verbs of motions, vid., Khler under Malachi 3:24. On קא equals קיא, cf. Proverbs 23:8. Luther rightly; as a dog devours again his vomit. The lxx translate: ὥσπερ κύων ὅταν ἐπέλθῃ ἐπὶ τὸν ἑαυτοῦ ἔμετον; the reference in 2 Peter 2:22 : κύων ἐπιστρέψας ἐπὶ τὸ ἴδιον ἐξέραμα, is thus not from the lxx; the Venet. is not connected with this N.T. citation, but with the lxx, if its accordance with it is not merely accidental. To devour again its vomit is common with the dog.

(Note: Vid., Schulze's Die bibl. Sprichwrter der deutschen Sprache, p. 71f.)

Even so, it is the manner of fools to return again in word and in deed to their past folly (vid., regarding שׁנה with ב of the object. Proverbs 17:9); as an Aram. popular saying has it: the fool always falls back upon his foolish conduct.

(Note: Vid., Wahl's Das Sprichwort der heb.-aram. Literatur, p. 147; Duke's Rabbin. Blumenlese, p. 9.)

He must needs do so, for folly has become to him a second nature; but this "must" ceases when once a divine light shines forth upon him. The lxx has after Proverbs 26:11 a distich which is literally the same as Sir. 4:21.

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