Verses 1-12 deal with the behavior of the most despicable kind of fool. In verse 1 the point is neither snow in the summer or rain in the harvest it is not conceivable in Palestine. It is just as absorb as giving honor to a fool.
Verse 2 does not mention a fool but it is related to unwarranted and idle behavior which is characteristic of the fool. It is a Proverb of comparison with the likeness of being drawn from the aimless wringing of a sparrow and a swallow. A curse spoken without cause is just as aimless.
Verse 3 gives the suggestion that a fool cannot be controlled by reason any more than a horse can be so guided. Stronger methods are needed to guide the horse. The whip, bridle, and rod are for that purpose. Verses 4-5 says first that the wise will not engage the fool lest he descend to his level. Then we see the opposite, the wise should not ignore the folly of the fool, lest he suppose the fool’s folly is wisdom. And in verse 6 depending on a fool to deliver a message is like cutting off one’s foot. Verse 7 compares the fool to the uselessness of a lame man’s legs.
We see another comparison in verse 8. Binding a stone to a sling that it cannot be set free to fly to its mark is the same as giving distinction to a fool. Verse 9 compares the uselessness of a stick from a thorn bush in the hand of a drunkard with the speaking of wisdom from a fool. Verse 10 tells us that hiring a fool is no more reasonable than an archer who scatters his arrows at random. Verse 11 says that a dog returning to its vomit is as the fool who repeats his folly. In verse 12 a self-conceited man is worse than a fool.
Verses 13-16 is further condemnation of the sluggard. Verse 14 refers to the lazy man’s habit of turning over in bead and going back to sleep. Verse 15 says that a sluggard is so lazy that he won’t even feed himself. Verse 16 says of the fool that he thinks that he is smarter than seven wise men. Verse 17 says that one who meddles in others quarrels is as a man who grabs a dog by the ears and thus is bitten.
Verses 18-19 deplores unbridled practical joking. The man who continually plays deceptive games at the expense of his neighbor is like a crazy person who recklessly throwing firebrands, or shooting arrows. Such practices are very explosive. In verses 20-21 it is said that an argument is started by provocation. The provocation may be an idle rumor, (v20) one who is spoiling for a fight, (21) but one will start the fight as wood being put on a fire.
In verse 23 the meaning is plain to see. An earthen vessel is cheap and ordinary. Putting a glaze on it may make it look finer but still it is cheap. So it is for slick lips with an evil mind. Verses 24-26 denounces the sweet talker whose words beguile you to your face. Inwardly he despises the people he courts with his flattery.
Verse 27 teaches the inevitability of retribution. The one who seeks to ensnare another traps himself. We get the same as we give hurting ourselves with the same as we sought to perpetrate.