Problem

Do you answer a fool?

Proverbs 26:4 - Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.
Proverbs 26:5 - Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

PRO 26:4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

PRO 26:5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.


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These verses are side-by-side in order to show a person when and when not to answer a fool. If by answering him you are going to be like him, then don't answer him. If the fool is going to be wise in his own conceit if you don't answer him, then you should answer him.

This would be similar to a parent telling his child not to talk to strangers, and then teaching the child how to approach a stranger to call for help.

It is perfectly clear that this proverb is giving the rule first and then giving the exception to the rule second.

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Books on Apparent Contradictions