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Proverbs 26:8-10 New English Translation (NET Bible)

Like tying a stone in a sling,[a]
so is giving honor to a fool.
Like[b] a thorn[c] has gone up into the hand of a drunkard,
so[d] a proverb has gone up[e] into the mouth of a fool.[f]
10 Like[g] an archer who wounds at random,[h]
so[i] is the one who hires[j] a fool or hires any passerby.

Footnotes:

  1. Proverbs 26:8 tn The translation “like tying a stone in a sling” seems to make the most sense, even though the word for “sling” occurs only here. sn The point is that only someone who does not know how a sling works would do such a stupid thing (R. N. Whybray, Proverbs [CBC], 152). So to honor a fool would be absurd; it would be counterproductive, for he would still be a fool.
  2. Proverbs 26:9 tn The line does not start with the comparative preposition כ (kaf) “like,” but the proverb clearly invites comparison between the two lines.
  3. Proverbs 26:9 sn The picture is one of seizing a thornbush and having the thorn pierce the hand (עָלָה בְיַד־, ʿalah veyad). A drunk does not know how to handle a thornbush because he cannot control his movements and so gets hurt (W. McKane, Proverbs [OTL], 599). C. H. Toy suggests that this rather means a half-crazy drunken man brandishing a stick (Proverbs [ICC], 475). In this regard cf. NLT “a thornbush brandished by a drunkard.”
  4. Proverbs 26:9 tn Because of the analogy within the verse, indicated in translation by supplying “like,” the conjunction vav has been translated “so.”
  5. Proverbs 26:9 tn The verb has been supplied from the first colon because of the convention of ellipsis and double duty (omitting a word in one line which is understood to apply from another line).
  6. Proverbs 26:9 sn A fool can read or speak a proverb but will be intellectually and spiritually unable to handle it; he will misapply it or misuse it in some way. In doing so he will reveal more of his folly. It is painful to hear fools try to use proverbs.
  7. Proverbs 26:10 tn The line does not start with the comparative preposition כ (kaf) “like,” but the proverb clearly invites comparison between the two lines.
  8. Proverbs 26:10 tn Or “An archer is one who wounds anyone; And the employer of a fool is (particularly) the employer of those just passing by.” This translation understands the participles substantivally rather than verbally. In a battle, archers are not initially taking aim to hit an individual bull’s eye. They shoot as a group high in the air at the approaching enemy forces, who then find themselves in a hail of dangerous arrows. The individual archer is indiscriminate. When someone hires whoever is passing by, indiscriminately, that employer is more likely to end up with an incompetent or foolish employee. The words in the line have several possible meanings, making it difficult and often considered textually defective. The first line has רַב מְחוֹלֵל־כֹּל (rav mekholel kol). The first word, רַב (rav), can mean “archer,” “ master,” or “much.” The verb מְחוֹלֵל (mekholel) can mean “to wound” or “to bring forth.” The possibilities are: “a master performs [or, produces] all,” “a master injures all,” “an archer wounds all,” or “much produces all.” The line probably should be stating something negative, so the idea of an archer injuring or wounding people [at random] is preferable. An undisciplined hireling will have the same effect as an archer shooting at anything and everything (cf. NLT “an archer who shoots recklessly”).
  9. Proverbs 26:10 tn Because of the analogy within the verse, indicated in translation by supplying “like,” the conjunction vav has been translated “so.”
  10. Proverbs 26:10 tn The participle שֹׂכֵר (shokher) is rendered here according to its normal meaning “hires” or “pays wages to.” Other suggestions include “one who rewards a fool” (derived from the idea of wages) and “one who stops a fool” (from a similar word).
New English Translation (NET)

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