Proverbs 26:16
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly.

King James Bible
The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.

American Standard Version
The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit Than seven men that can render a reason.

Douay-Rheims Bible
The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit, than seven men that speak sentences.

English Revised Version
The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.

Webster's Bible Translation
The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.

Proverbs 26:16 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

All that we have hitherto read is surpassed in obscurity by this proverb, which is here connected because of the resemblance of ושכר to שכור. We translate it thus, vocalizing differently only one word:

Much bringeth forth from itself all;

But the reward and the hirer of the fool pass away.

The lxx translates πολλὰ χειμάζεται πᾶσα σὰρξ ἀφρόνων (all the flesh of fools suffers much), συντριβήσεται γὰρ ἧ ἔκστασις αὐτῶν, which is in Hebrew:

רב מחולל כל בּשׂר כסיל

ישּׁבר עברתם

An unfortunate attempt so to rectify the words that some meaning might be extracted from them. The first line of this translation has been adopted by the Syr. and Targ., omitting only the כל, in which the self-condemnation of this deciphering lies (for כל בשׂר means elsewhere, humanity, not the whole body of each individual); but they translate the second line as if the words were:

ישׁכּר עבר ים

i.e., and the drunken man sails over the sea (עברים is separated into עבר ים, as בבקרים, Amos 6:12, is to be separated into בּבּקר ים); but what does that mean? Does it mean that to a drunkard (but שׁכּור, the drunken man, and not סבא, the drunkard, is used) nothing remains but to wander over the sea? or that the drunken man lets his imagination wander away over the sea, while he neglects the obligation that lies upon him? Symmachus and Theodotion, with the Midrash (Rashi) and Saadia (Kimchi), take שׂכר in 10b equals סגר (like Isaiah 19:10, שׂכר equals embankment, cf. סכּרין, Kelim, Proverbs 23:5); the former translates by καὶ ὁ φράσσων ἄφρονα ἐμφράσσει τὰς ὀργὰς αὐτοῦ, the latter by καὶ φιμῶν ἄφρονα φιμοῖ χόλους, yielding to the imagination that עברים, like עברות, may be the plur. of עברה, anger. Jerome punctuates רב as, Proverbs 25:8, רב, and interprets, as Symmachus and Theodotion, שׂכר both times equals סגר, translating: Judicium determinat causas, et qui imponit stulto silentium iras mitigat; but רב does not mean judicium, nor מחולל determinat, nor כל causas. As Gussetius, so also Ralbag (in the first of his three explanations), Meri, Elia Wilna interpret the proverb as a declaration regarding quarrelsome persons: he causeth woe to all, and hireth fools, hireth transgressors, for his companions; but in that case we must read רב for רב; מחולל, bringing woe, would be either the Po. of חלל, to bore through, or Pilel of חיל (חוּל), to put into distress (as with pangs); but עברים, transgressors equals sinners, is contrary to the O.T. usus loq., Proverbs 22:3 (Proverbs 27:12) is falsely cited in its favour; besides, for רב there should have been at least אישׁ רב and why שׂכרו is repeated remains inexplicable. Others take מחולל־כל as the name of God, the creator of all men and things; and truly this is the nearest impression of these two words, for חולל is the usual designation for divine production, e.g., Psalm 90:2. Accordingly Kimchi explains: The Lord is the creator of all, and He gives to fools and to transgressors their maintenance; but עברים, transgressors, is Mishnic, not bibl.; and שׂכר means to hire, but not to supply with food. The proverb is thus incapable of presenting a thought like Matthew 5:45 (He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good). Others translate: "The Lord is creator of all, and takes fools, takes idlers, into His service." Thus rendered, the proverb is offensive; wherefore Rashi, Moses Kimchi, Arama, and others regard the Mashal as in the mouth of fools, and thus they take Proverbs 26:9 and Proverbs 26:10 together as a tetrastich. Certainly this second collection of proverbs contains also tetrastiches; but Proverbs 26:9 and Proverbs 26:10 cannot be regarded as together forming a tetrastich, because רב (which is valid against Kimchi also) cannot mean God the Lord: רב, Lord, is unheard of in bibl. Heb., and at least the word הרב must be used for God. The Venet. on this account does not follow Kimchi, but translates, Ἄρχων πλάττει πάντα, καὶ μισθοῦται μωρὸν καὶ μισθοῦται ὡς παραβάτης (ought to have been παραβάτας); but who could this cunning man be? Perhaps the Venet. is to be understood, after Gecatilia (in Rashi): a great (rich) man performs all manner of things; but if he hires a fool, it is as if he hired the first best who pass along the way. But that חולל is used in the general sense of to execute, to perform, is without example, and improbable. Also the explanation: a ruler brings grief, i.e., severe oppression, upon all (Abulwald, Immanuel, Aben Ezra, who, in his smaller grammar, explains רב equals רב after Isaiah 49:9; C. B. Michaelis: dolore afficit omnes), does not recommend itself; for חולל, whether it be from חלל, Isaiah 51:9 (to bore through), or from חיל, Psalm 29:9 (to bring on the pangs of birth), is too strong a word for hurting; also the clause, thus generally understood, is fortunately untrue. Translated as by Euchel: "the prominent persons destroy all; they keep fools in pay, and favour vagabonds," - it sounds as if it had been picked up in an assembly of democrats. On the other hand, the proverb, as translated by Luther:

A good master maketh a thing right;

But he who hireth a bungler, by him it is spoiled,

is worthy of the Book of Proverbs. The second line is here freely rendered, but it is also appropriate, if we abide closer by the words of the text, in this connection. Fleischer: Magister (artifex peritus) effingit omnia (i.e., bene perficit quaecunque ei committuntur); qui autem stultum conducit, conducit transeuntes (i.e., idem facit ac si homines ignotos et forte transeuntes ad opus gravius et difficilius conduceret). Thus also Gesenius, Bttcher, and others, who all, as Gecatilia above, explain עברים, τοὺς τυχόντας, the first best. But we are reluctantly constrained to object to this thought, because רב nowhere in bibl. Hebrew signifies a master; and the ו of the second ושׂכר dno cannot bear that rendering, ac si. And if we leave it out, we nevertheless encounter a difficulty in חולל, which cannot be used of human production. Many Christian interpreters (Cocceius, Schultens, Schelling, Ewald, Bertheau, Stier, Zckler) give to רב a meaning which is found in no Jewish interpreter, viz., sagittarius, from רבב (רבב), Genesis 49:23 (and perhaps Psalm 18:15), after the forms צר, שׂר, the plur. of which, רבּים, is found at Job 16:13; Jeremiah 50:29, but in a connection which removes all doubt from the meaning of the word. Here also רב may be more closely defined by מחולל; but how then does the proverb stand? "an archer who wounds everything, and he who hires a fool, and hires passers-by" (Ewald: street-runners), i.e., they are alike. But if the archer piercing everything is a comic Hercules furens, then, in order to discover the resemblance between the three, there is need of a portion of ingenuity, such as is only particularly assigned to the favoured. But it is also against the form and the usage of the word to interpret עברים simply of rogues and vagabonds. Several interpreters have supposed that רב and כל must stand in a certain interchangeable relation to each other. Thus, e.g., Ahron b. Josef: "Much makes amazement to all, but especially one who hires a fool...." But this "especially" (Before all) is an expression smuggled in. Agreeing with Umbreit and Hitzig, we translate line first; but in translating line second, we follow our own method:

Much bringeth all out of it;

i.e., where there is much, then one has it in his power, if he begins right, to undertake everything. רב has by כּל the definition of a neuter, so as to designate not only many men, Exodus 19:21, but also much ability in a pecuniary and facultative sense (cf. the subst. רב, Isaiah 63:7; Psalm 145:7); and of the much which bringeth forth all out of itself, effects all by itself, חולל with equal right might be used, as Proverbs 25:23, of the north wind. The antithesis 10b takes this form:

continued...

Proverbs 26:16 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Proverbs 26:12 See you a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.

Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that listens to counsel is wise.

1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts...

Cross References
Proverbs 6:6
Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.

Proverbs 27:11
Be wise, my son, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him who reproaches me.

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