Proverbs 26:16-20
Prov 26:16 (KJB)
The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.
In his own conceit - In his own eyes
Here this verse is teaching how deeply laziness can become ingrained in a personís mind. The seven men here could be giving valid reasons to the sluggard as to why he should abandon the lazy lifestyle. However, in response to the valid reasoning, the sluggard is giving a vain response to every objection. In his eyes, he sees himself as one who is much smarter and wiser than those who are trying to counsel him. This is the danger of laziness because it is always coupled with arrogance and arrogance in any form leads one to a life of degradation. Arrogant people may enjoy the spotlight for a while but eventually they will slip and great will be their fall.
Prov 26:17 (KJB)
He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears.
Taketh - Seize
Here is the wisdom of non-interference. If you happen to come upon two people who are having contention, then you should not get involved in the argument. To become involved in a contention where you have no business to get involved is as dangerous as trying to seize a dog by the ears. Now we must remember that dogs in ancient times were not necessarily domesticated and many of them were like wild wolves. To try and seize a dog by the ears, would have resulted in a bite or worse, it could elicit an attack by the dog and the other ones in the pack. That is the same danger that someone exposes them to when they try to interfere with the strife between two people. This would especially make sense if you do not know all the facts in the case and if you do not know, then you would not know what you are walking in to.
Prov 26:18 (KJB)
As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death,
As a mad man - To act insanely
Firebrands - Flaming arrows
This verse sets the stage for verse 19. The man in this proverb is acting insanely as he tosses around flaming arrows and arrows which could result in a personís death. This person is either acting insanely or they really are, since they have no understanding concerning the activity they are involving themselves in .
Prov 26:19 (KJB)
So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?
Deceiveth - Beguiled
Am not I in sport - Am I not joking
This comparison began in verse 18. Just as the insane man throws around flaming arrows and can cause the death of someone is akin to a person who beguiles or deceives his neighbor and then says, it was just a joke. A wise person must consider the consequences of any actions they take and that includes the playing of practical jokes. If a joke comes at the expense of another person, then it may not be taken as a joke but as a personal attack and can begin strife between the two. If you are one given to playing practical jokes, you better actually sit down and ponder the possible consequence of your actions. What some consider a joke, others may consider a personal attack. Deception in any form is a dangerous game and no Christian should ever be involved in it.
Prov 26:20 (KJB)
Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.
Talebearer - Slander
Fire must have some type of fuel to continue burning and wood is a good source of fuel for the fire. If you remove the wood, then the fire has no source and it will go out. In the same manner is the strife which is caused by a talebearer. When the talebearer is absent from strife, the strife is quelled and is not re-ignited until the talebearer once again shows up. We should never make friends with a talebearer and we must always be on guard that we are never the talebearers.