Proverbs 26

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As we begin a new year, we’ll be studying the book of Proverbs for the first 31 days of the year. The new year is a great opportunity to invite your friends, families, and Life Groups to read along with you in 2023. If you missed the first day’s reading or are looking for an overview of the book, click here to catch up!

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Read Proverbs 26

26 Like snow in summer or rain in harvest,
    honor is not fitting for a fool.
Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow,
    an undeserved curse does not come to rest.
A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey,
    and a rod for the backs of fools!
Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
    or you yourself will be just like him.
Answer a fool according to his folly,
    or he will be wise in his own eyes.
Sending a message by the hands of a fool
    is like cutting off one’s feet or drinking poison.
Like the useless legs of one who is lame
    is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.
Like tying a stone in a sling
    is the giving of honor to a fool.
Like a thornbush in a drunkard’s hand
    is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.
10 Like an archer who wounds at random
    is one who hires a fool or any passer-by.
11 As a dog returns to its vomit,
    so fools repeat their folly.
12 Do you see a person wise in their own eyes?
    There is more hope for a fool than for them.

13 A sluggard says, “There’s a lion in the road,
    a fierce lion roaming the streets!”
14 As a door turns on its hinges,
    so a sluggard turns on his bed.
15 A sluggard buries his hand in the dish;
    he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth.
16 A sluggard is wiser in his own eyes
    than seven people who answer discreetly.

17 Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears
    is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own.

18 Like a maniac shooting
    flaming arrows of death
19 is one who deceives their neighbor
    and says, “I was only joking!”

20 Without wood a fire goes out;
    without a gossip a quarrel dies down.
21 As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire,
    so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife.
22 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
    they go down to the inmost parts.

23 Like a coating of silver dross on earthenware
    are fervent lips with an evil heart.
24 Enemies disguise themselves with their lips,
    but in their hearts they harbor deceit.
25 Though their speech is charming, do not believe them,
    for seven abominations fill their hearts.
26 Their malice may be concealed by deception,
    but their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.
27 Whoever digs a pit will fall into it;
    if someone rolls a stone, it will roll back on them.
28 A lying tongue hates those it hurts,
    and a flattering mouth works ruin.

Go Deeper

A fool is defined as a person who acts unwisely or imprudently. Proverbs 26 gives us an in-depth view of a fool. Keep in mind that we, in Christ, are to be the polar opposite. A fool’s behavior and speech are described throughout this chapter and are listed below in the left column. In the right column, you’ll see the opposite (and wise) response: 

Inappropriate               Appropriate

Argumentative             Peaceful

Harmful                        Helpful

Contentious                 Kind

Untrue                         Truth

Untrustworthy              Trustworthy

Useless                        Useful

Problematic                  Simple

Arrogant                       Humble

Fearful                          Courageous

Purposeless                 Purposeful

Impolite                        Polite

Deceptive                     Integrity

Sarcastic                      Joyful

Liar                               Truthful

Gossiper                       Goodness

Slanderous                   Sweetness

Malicious                      Compassionate

Two important points are made in verses 11 and 25. First, fools tend to return to the same sin over and over and over. Second, this Proverb reiterates the six abominations of the Lord written in Proverbs 6:16-19. In summary, they are proud eyes, a lying tongue, murderous hands, running to evil or wickedness, and spreading strife. These are all things God hates and are hard lists to read. Combine this with the list on the left above, and a fool’s life will be filled with heartache and problems for themselves and those around them. 

Thankfully, we are given the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Galatians 5:24-25 say, “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” The Bible is saying in these verses that we are no longer victims of our passions and desires and are given the strength thru Christ in us to overcome them. Further, Galatians 5:22 describes what is ours as we walk in the Spirit saying, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” As we walk with God and are committed to honoring Him, we are given these beautiful fruits within our hearts to overcome sin and live an abundant purposeful life now.


  1. Read the fool behavior list and then read the believers list. Write your emotions as you read each list.
  2. What is God saying to you in the comparisons throughout this chapter?
  3. Do you struggle with any part of the fool’s list? If so, pray to God asking Him to help change your heart and behavior on this issue. as you truly repent, He promises His Spirit to move you into His righteousness and freedom from sin. Hallelujah!

A Quote

Commentator Matthew Henry wrote in his commentary on this chapter, “Honor is out of season to those unworthy or unfit for it.” Let us all choose to honor God with our hearts and our lives for our obvious good and His greater glory!

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4 thoughts on “Proverbs 26”

  1. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The time is always right to do what is right.” We are tasked as Christ-followers to live set apart from accepted worldly standards that shout “follow your heart”. If we truly grasped how desperately wicked our hearts can be we would humbly bow and submit to the only Way that leads to life. Recently, I was introduced to a song, Abide, by Aaron Williams, that has ministered such peace, grace and hope to my heart. (Thanks, Drew for Sunday’s playlist). I’m sharing the link below praying it will minister to the hearts of others. May He teach us to abide with him.

  2. Seeing how I have been living the “fools” life and following the “fools” ways was such an eye opener for me. I have been returning to the same sin over and over. This really hit home with me. Following him and living by the fruits he had given me is the way to live and the way I want to live. I want to follow God and be filled with the fruits of the spirit. 🙏

  3. Thank you Ella for that link. I so love that song as well!! We do not want to be on the naughty list. I feel as though I am thrown out into a roaring circus daily. The world is daily bombarding us with so much negativity, so much ugliness and I am realizing it more every moment. For me coming home is like being able to breath again, with an occasionally glitch in the road. I pray that all you readers out in BRP space, have a place that you can go that is safe, that you are able to get away from hecticness of the world and that you can relax to love on God and let Him love on you. If you dont look me up and we can have a fire some evening. Just know (I am telling myself) that God soooooooooo LOVES YOU!!!!! Even when we bumble and get on the naughty list, He is ready willing and able to forgive. Romans5:8 BUT GOD demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Even when life is crazy there is always a BUT GOD!!!!!!

    Thank You God for always being there and I can say BUT GOD has this too. Thank You for giving me a wonderful home that is my safe haven to come and be free from the ugliness of the world. Thank You for being able to depend on You. I desire with all my heart to abide constantaly. Thank You when life circus pulls me away help me remember YOU! Give eyes to see others as You do and a heart to Love them today in Jesus name amen

  4. Wow—talk about “words in due season!”

    “It’s better to grab a stray dog by its ears than to meddle in a quarrel that’s none of your business.”
    ‭‭-Proverbs‬ ‭26‬:‭17‬ ‭TPT‬‬

    The word “meddles” can be read “become excited… or angry over the fight of another.” (Ross) “It is a foolish and dangerous thing to take a dog by the ears. Once one does, it’s hard to let go without getting bit, and the dog never appreciates it.” (Guzik)

    I. Am. So. BUSTED!

    Months ago, I meddled in someone else’s quarrel—justifying my interference because I was certain someone I love had been treated unjustly. My foolish actions came about because I was excited, angry—and wholly ENTITLED. “If they’re not willing to speak up for themselves, I’m jolly well going to say something!”

    Only yesterday I learned my thoughtless words have come back to bite us both. The whole thing has escalated into a big, fat, hairy deal, requiring a sobering sit-down with some authority figures who had nothing to do with the original argument. I guarantee the “dog” does NOT appreciate it! 😉

    While I can’t say yet how this particular quarrel will be resolved, I will be sure to say how sorry I am for meddling.


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