Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.
These two verses present an apparent contradiction. The first says not to answer a fool, the second says to answer them, and the latter part of each verse holds the key on how to answer a fool. Verse 4 – do not answer a fool in such a manner that we become a fool in the process, we are not to lose our temper, behave rudely, or speak unadvisedly. Verse 5 – do not let a fool off for their foolishness, reprove and rebuke them, as their folly deserves, so they will not be wise in their own eyes.