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Do Proverbs 26:4 and 26:5 contradict? How can both verses be true?

Should we answer a fool by his folly, or not?

Proverbs 26:4

ESV - 4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself.

Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
Proverbs has much to say about fools. They despise wisdom (Proverbs 1:7, 22, 10:21, 23:9); they are right in their own eyes (Proverbs 12:15); they are deceitful (Proverbs 14:8) and scornful (Prover...

July 01 2013 2 responses Vote Up Share Report


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Mini Frederick Thomas Rom 3:4 ...let God be true...
Pro 26:4 “answer not a fool according to his folly”, lest thou also be like unto him. 
Pro 26:5 “answer a fool according to his folly”, lest he be wise in his own conceit. 
Do you answer a fool or don’t you?
Yes and No
Why? The one fool is a deliberate fool, if you try to answer him you going to become like him.
The second one is a sincere fool. He really think what he believes is true. Him you must help. If you don’t answer him, he will think he is correct in his understanding.
Someone told me some time ago “don’t argue with a deliberate fool because he will pull you down to his level and beat you with experience”

Shalom

October 31 2014 1 response Vote Up Share Report


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Img 0360 Terry Gillard Worship Leader and Engineer
In Britain we have proverbs: We will say "many hands make light work" and in another context "too many cooks spoil the broth". Neither statement has anything to do with their subject matter.
Solomon collected these many proverbs, and they are relevant as they are applied to any given situation. 
Prov 26:4 - is in reference to trying to answer a fool seriously - as if his foolishness has value.
Prov 26:5 is in reference to (if you like) answering a fools question in a foolish way! Then you highlight the folly of the situation.

June 11 2015 0 responses Vote Up Share Report


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