Proverbs 26:4
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Or you will also be like him.

King James Bible
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

Darby Bible Translation
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

World English Bible
Don't answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him.

Young's Literal Translation
Answer not a fool according to his folly, Lest thou be like to him -- even thou.

Proverbs 26:4 Parallel
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Two sides of a truth. To "answer a fool according to his folly" is in Proverbs 26:4 to bandy words with him, to descend to his level of coarse anger and vile abuse; in Proverbs 26:5 it is to say the right word at the right time, to expose his unwisdom and untruth to others and to himself, not by a teaching beyond his reach, but by words that he is just able to apprehend. The apparent contradiction between the two verses led some of the rabbis to question the canonical authority of this book. The Pythagoreans had maxims expressing a truth in precepts seemingly contradictory.

Proverbs 26:4 Parallel Commentaries

We Shall not be Curious in the Ranking of the Duties in which Christian Love...
We shall not be curious in the ranking of the duties in which Christian love should exercise itself. All the commandments of the second table are but branches of it: they might be reduced all to the works of righteousness and of mercy. But truly these are interwoven through other. Though mercy uses to be restricted to the showing of compassion upon men in misery, yet there is a righteousness in that mercy, and there is mercy in the most part of the acts of righteousness, as in not judging rashly,
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Cross References
Matthew 7:6
"Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

Proverbs 23:9
Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, For he will despise the wisdom of your words.

Proverbs 29:9
When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, The foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest.

Isaiah 36:21
But they were silent and answered him not a word; for the king's commandment was, "Do not answer him."

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