Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like to him.…
There are many cases in which a fool is to be heard, and not answered at all. When a scorner reviles us, it is needless to reprove him for it. Our Lord often kept silence when impertinent questions were asked Him. But silence cannot be the rule in every case. In many cases it is proper that a fool's words should be answered, only you must take care in answering not to imitate him. If he speaks unreasonable, profane, peevish, or passionate words, you must not answer him in his own style. You are angry at him for his folly, and reprove him for the extravagance of his behaviour, and therefore you cannot but confess that yourselves are worthy of a very sharp reproof, if you behave like him at the very time that you are testifying your displeasure at his conduct. It becomes not the followers of Jesus to return railing for railing, or one angry reflection for another, but in whatever manner others talk, our tongues ought still to be governed by the law of meekness and charity.
(George Lawson, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.