What does it say?
Today’s reading returns to the proverbs of Solomon. Chapter 25 begins a section of Solomon’s proverbs that were collected by a group of scholars during the reign of King Hezekiah. The proverbs in these two chapters are mainly parallel maxims that are comparisons. The key words are like, as and so. Some of the maxims in Proverbs 25 stand alone, while there are also sections of extended proverbs that fix together. Overall, Proverbs 25 is a contrast of wise and foolish conduct. Proverbs 26 puts the emphasis on fools and foolish behavior (folly).
What does it mean?
As in other sections of Proverbs, you should not have too much difficulty in determining the intended meaning of most of these individual proverbs. The last verse of Pro 25 is particularly appropriate as a summary of these contrasts between wise and foolish conduct, but you need a bit of cultural understanding. In ancient times a city without a wall was vulnerable. An ancient expression said that a city without walls is no city at all. The idea here is that one who fails to control his or her spirit is as vulnerable as a city with no wall.
Proverbs 26:4-5 is often perplexing to the casual reader. These two maxims do not contradict each other, but rather point out that there is a time to answer a fool according to his folly and a time to simply keep quiet. You might also see this to mean that there is no way to truly “win” when you deal with a fool who is not disposed to listen.
How will I respond?
In my reading of these two chapters, what is the lesson that most instructed me, taught me, corrected me or helped me keep on track in my growth? How will I make practical application of this lesson to my life today? What does this lesson have to do with God’s global mission to be exalted among the nations?