The legs of the lame are not equal: so is a parable in the mouth of fools.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The legs of the lame are not equal.—Better, perhaps. The legs hang down from a lame man, and so is a parable (useless) in the mouth of fools; they can make no more use of it for the guidance of themselves or others, than can a lame man use his legs. (Comp. Luke 8:10.)Proverbs 26:7. The legs of the lame are not equal — Hebrew, דליו, are lifted up, namely, in going, which is done with great inequality and uncomeliness; so is a parable in the mouth of fools — No less absurd and indecent are wise and pious speeches from a foolish and ungodly man, whose actions grossly contradict them, whereby he makes them contemptible, and himself ridiculous.
(1) "The legs of the lame man are feeble, so is parable in the mouth of fools."The legs of the lame are not equal, Heb. As (which note of similitude is plainly understood from the particle so in the following clause) the legs of the lame are lifted up, to wit, in going, or rather in dancing, which is done with great inequality and uncomeliness.
So is a parable in the mouth of fools; no less absurd and indecent are wise and pious speeches from a foolish and ungodly man, whose actions grossly contradict them, whereby he makes them contemptible, and himself ridiculous.
so is a parable in the mouth of fools; an apophthegm, or sententious expression of his own, which he delivers out as a wise saying, but is lame and halts; it is not consistent with itself, but like the legs of a lame man, one higher than the other: or one of the proverbs of this book, or rather any passage of Scripture, in the mouth of a wicked man; or any religious discourse of his is very unsuitable, since his life and conversation do not agree with it; it is as disagreeable to hear such a man talk of religious affairs as it is to see a lame man dance; or whose legs imitate buckets at a well, where one goes up and another down, as Gussetius (n) interprets the word.
(m) "elevatio crurum a claudo facta", Gejerus, Michaelis. (n) "Femora claudi imitantur situlas", Gussetius, p. 188. "situlas agunt crura ex claudio", Schultens; "instar binarum sitularum in puteo alternatium adscendentium ac descendentium", Gejerus.The legs of the lame are not equal: so is a parable in the mouth of fools.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. are not equal] Rather, hang loose, R.V. The strongest members of the body and the weightiest aphorisms of wisdom are alike useless appendages to one who lacks the power to turn them to account.Verse 7. - The legs of a lame man are not equal. The first word of this verse, דַּלְיוּ, has occasioned some difficulty. It is considered as an imperative from דלה, "draw off," "take away." Thus the Septuagint, ἀφελοῦ; Venetian, ἐπάρατε. But the verb seems never to have this meaning; nor, if it had, would the sense be very satisfactory, for. as Delitzsch points out, lame legs are better than none, and there is a great difference between the perfectly crippled or paralytic who has to be carried, and the lame man (פִסֵּחַ) who can limp or get along on crutches., And when we explain the proverb in this sense (as Plumptre), "Take away the legs of the lame man and the parable from the mouth of fools," for both alike ere useless to their possessors, and their loss would not be felt - we must recognize that the conclusion is not true. No one would think of amputating s man's legs simply because he was lame, and such a one's legs cannot be considered absolutely useless. Others regard the word as third plural kal, "the legs hang loose;" though the form is not sufficiently accounted for. All explanations of the word as a verbal form have such difficulties, that some take it as a noun, meaning "dancing," which is Luther's interpretation, "as dancing to a cripple, so it becometh a fool to talk of wisdom." But the word could never sightly anything but "limping," and could not express the elegant motion of dancing. The Authorized Version considers the Hebrew to mean, "are lifted up," i.e. are unequal, one being longer or stronger than the other; but this loses the force of the comparison. There seems to be no better interpretation than that mentioned above," The legs of the lame hang loose," i.e. are unserviceable, however sound in appearance. St. Jerome has expressed this, though in a strange fashion, "As it is vain for a lame man to have seemly legs." So is a parable in the mouth of a fool. "Parable" (mashal), sententious saying, the enunciation of which, as well as the recital of stories, was always a great feature in Eastern companies, and afforded a test of a man's ability. A fool fails in the exhibition; he misses the point of the wise saying which he produces; it falls lame from his mouth, affords no instruction to others, and makes no way with its hearers. Siracides gives another reason for the incongruity, "A parable shall be rejected when it cometh out of a fool's mouth; for he will not speak it in its season" (Ecclus. 20:20). Septuagint, "Take away the motion of legs, and transgression (παρανομίαν,? παροιμίαν, Lag.) from the mouth of fools."
As snow in summer, and rain in harvest;
So honour befitteth not a fool.
If there is snow in high summer (קיץ, to be glowing hot), it is contrary to nature; and if there is rain in harvest, it is (according to the alternations of the weather in Palestine) contrary to what is usually the case, and is a hindrance to the ingathering of the fruits of the field. Even so a fool and respect, or a place of honour, are incongruous things; honour will only injure him (as according to Proverbs 19:10, luxury); he will make unjust use of it, and draw false conclusions from it; it will strengthen him in his folly, and only increase it. נאוה ( equals נאוי) is the adj. to the Pil. נאוה, Psalm 93:5 (plur. נאווּ); נאוה, Proverbs 19:10, and נאוה, Proverbs 17:7, are also masc. and fem. of the adj., according to which, that which is said under Proverbs 19:10 is to be corrected. Symmachus and Theodotion have translated οὐκ ἔπρεψεν, and have therefore read נאוה. The root word is נאה (as שׁחה to שׁחוה) equals נוה, to aim at something (vid., Hupfeld under Psalm 23:2).
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