Should we answer a fool by his folly, or not?
ESV - 4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself.
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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
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.
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