ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Bible: What Does Proverbs 25-26 Teach Us About the Tongue, Foolishness, and Sluggards?

Updated on August 21, 2016

Solomon's Words of Wisdom


Proverbs 25-26: Contrasting "Glories"; The Power of the Tongue; Character Flaws; "Foolology" and "Sluggardry"

Glory of God Vs. Glory of Human King

Hezekiah—who lived about 700 B.C.—commissioned his scribes to copy some of Solomon's proverbs in order to preserve them for posterity (v. 1).

One of the four wise sayings chosen contrasts an aspect of a king's prerogative and position with that of God’s. Solomon first sets up a contrast between the "glory" of God and the "glory" of human rulers.

Regarding any given affair or matter about life and/or the universe, God, by virtue of Who He is and what He knows, has the exclusive prerogative to keep full understanding of the facts hidden from man.

Kings, on the other hand, have the exclusive responsibility (“glory” means “weight”) to investigate matters of import (v. 2).

A second proverb favorably compares the immensity and depth of the heavens and earth to the heart of kings.

[Is this just a hyperbolic expression, or is it a revealed insight into the nature of human beings (v. 3?)]

Politically, Solomon understood that if the wicked should be removed from positions of influence in the government, society would improve.

He compares the dross in silver to the wicked before him.

[Could he be referring to his own evil counselors who usurped high positions in the government and whom he needed to demote in order to preserve order (vv. 4-7; cf. Lk. 14:7-11)]?

As for legal matters, the king advises against issuing hasty lawsuits, and for trying to resolve serious interpersonal conflicts privately (vv. 8-10; cf. Mt. 18: 15-20).

Temperance and Moderation

Do you believe temperance and moderation are Biblical ideals?

See results

The Power of the Tongue

Solomon continues to emphasize the power of the tongue for both good and evil.

Employing three consecutive similes, he demonstrates the value to hearers of one who speaks wisely (vv. 11-13).

A fourth figure points out the emptiness, even the meaninglessness, of boasting (v. 14).

Gentle speech, on the other hand, is often a powerfully persuasive tool (v. 15).

Still another figure appears in verse 18: the author compares the words of a false witness to a deadly weapon.

Backbiting is malicious speech about an absent party; sometimes the one “bitten” learns of his enemy's malice and expresses anger toward him "facially" (v. 23).

Two verses call for temperance/moderation; here overindulgence and over-familiarity breed sickness and contempt, respectively (vv. 16-17).

Solomon also pictures two troubling situations and two poor solutions.

Expecting to receive help from the unfaithful is, at best, a painful condition (v. 19), and singing a happy song to a sad person makes matters worse (v. 20).

However, rendering good deeds to an enemy is effective behavior worthy of divine reward (vv. 21-22; cf. Rom. 12:20).

The author continues to share his wisdom about apparently unrelated topics, using similes and other comparative devices to teach.

Living in a little space, poor and alone, is better than having a big space with someone always fighting with you (v. 24).

Verse 25 serves as a contrast of sorts with verses 19-20. Here Solomon devises appropriate solutions to different troubles.

Fitting remedies satisfy both physical and emotional needs.

The last three verses warn about character flaws: hypocrisy, self-glorification, and lack of self-control.

Comparing the saint's life to water, Solomon sees blatant sin as muddying one's testimony (v. 26).

Eating too much honey results in nausea and vomiting; seeking your own glory leads to a similar emptiness (v. 27; cf. 25:16).

Mental anarchy and disarray reign in an unrestrained soul (v. 28).

The Fool


Proverbs 26

"Foolology" and "Sluggardry"

Solomon instructs his audience in “foolology” (vv. 1, 3-12) and “sluggardry” (vv. 13-16).

First, honoring a fool should never occur (v. 1); like a stubborn animal, he deserves punishment instead (v. 3).

Second, when dealing with fools, you should not agree with him or try to find sense in what he says (v. 4); instead, you should point out his error to him (v. 5).

Since fools are, by nature, untrustworthy, it is counterproductive and even dangerous to use one as a courier (v. 6).

Lame legs are useless or powerless; so is the work of a proverb in the life of a fool when he speaks it.

He voices the proverb, but it does not make him wiser; his inherent stupidity prevents him from benefiting from its wisdom (v. 7).

Just as the sling throws the stone away, so the fool will get rid of or contemptuously treat the honor you pay him (v. 8).

A thorn has little effect upon a drunkard when it pierces his flesh; in like manner, a fool speaking a proverb makes no lasting impression upon him (v. 9; cf. 26:7).

God, the great Creator, nevertheless, shows mercy by providing even for fools and transgressors in His plan (v. 10; cf. NIV and NASB for variant interpretations of the Hebrew).

The fool does not permanently reject the thing that caused him pain and sickness, but he tries it again (v. 11; cf. 2 Peter 2:22 referring to apostate teachers).

Yet the self-deceived are even more hopeless than the fool; the latter may still repent of his ways (v. 12).

The Sluggard


The Potter


A different category of fool is the sluggard (vv. 13-16). This man typically

(1) offers outrageously “over the top” reasons for not leaving his home to go to work (v. 13; cf. 22:13);

(2) sleeps too much (v. 14),

(3) eats too much, and is out of shape and weak (v. 15; cf. 19:24), yet

(4) thinks he is the wisest man on earth (v. 16; cf. 26:12).

Solomon resumes his speech theme (v. 17), first warning against trying to be a peacemaker when the conflict is none of your business.

The one you oppose will "bite" you.

Second, playing mischievous practical jokes and then covering them with deceptive words are potentially dangerous practices (vv. 18-19).

Third, you should keep quiet about rumors or damaging stories you hear about others.

Quash the gossip; for if you don’t, it will deeply affect people's opinions (vv. 20, 22).

Fourth, you should not contend habitually (be rude in defending your views).

You should not cause strife among others just to get your way or to exalt yourself (v. 21).

Perhaps the key to verse 23's interpretation lies in vv. 24-26.

The symbol "earthenware" may refer to a human being, since God, the Potter, made man from the ground.

When the silver dross (deceit that issues from fervent lips [v. 24] and a wicked heart [v. 25]) is removed, everyone will see his wickedness (v. 26).

Liars hate and flatterers destroy those they despise (v. 28).

© 2013 glynch1


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • glynch1 profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago

      The Scriptures contain the wisdom of God from front to back. They are His instruction booklet for His people.

    • glynch1 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Can you supply an example from this hub?

    • anoocre8ion profile image


      5 years ago from Texas

      There is much wisdom to be found in scripture.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)