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Proverbs 26:12

Context

26:12 Do you see 1  a man wise in his own eyes? 2 

There is more hope for a fool 3  than for him.

Proverbs 26:16

Context

26:16 The sluggard is wiser in his own estimation 4 

than seven people who respond with good sense. 5 

1 tn The verse simply uses a perfect tense. The meaning of the verse would be the same if this were interpreted as an affirmation rather than as an interrogative. The first line calls such a person to one’s attention.

2 tn Heb “in his own eyes” (so NAB, NASB, NIV).

sn The subject matter of the verse is the person who is wise in his own opinion. Self-conceit is actually part of the folly that the book of Proverbs criticizes; those who think they are wise even though they are not are impossible to help. For someone to think he is wise when he is not makes him a conceited ignoramus (W. G. Plaut, Proverbs, 268).

3 sn Previous passages in the book of Proverbs all but deny the possibility of hope for the fool. So this proverb is saying there is absolutely no hope for the self-conceited person, and there might be a slight hope for the fool – he may yet figure out that he really is a fool.

4 tn Heb “in his eyes.” The lazy person thinks that he has life all figured out and has chosen the wise course of action – but he is simply lazy. J. H. Greenstone says, for example, “Much anti-intellectualism may be traced to such rationalization for laziness” (Proverbs, 269).

5 tn The term means “taste; judgment.” The related verb means “to taste; to perceive,” that is, “to examine by tasting,” or examine by experiencing (e.g., Ps 34:9). Here the idea is expressed with the participle in construct, “those returners [of] good sense,” those who answer tastefully, with discretion. Cf. NIV “who (+ can NRSV) answer discreetly.”



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