1It shouldn’t snow in summer or rain at harvest.
Neither should a foolish person ever be honored.
2Curses will not harm someone who is innocent.
They are like sparrows or swallows that fly around and never land.
3A whip is used to guide a horse, and a harness is used for a donkey.
In the same way, a paddle is used on a foolish person to guide him.
4Don’t give a foolish person a foolish answer.
If you do, you will be just like him.
5But answer a foolish person as he should be answered.
If you don’t, he will think he is really wise.
6Don’t send a message by a foolish person.
That would be like cutting off your feet or drinking poison.
7A wise saying spoken by a fool does no good.
It is like the legs of a crippled person.
8Giving honor to a foolish person does no good.
It is like tying a stone in a slingshot.
9A wise saying spoken by a fool
is like a thorn stuck in the hand of a drunk.
10Someone might employ a foolish person or anyone just passing by.
That employer is like an archer who shoots at anything he sees.
11A dog eats what it throws up.
And a foolish person repeats his foolishness.
12Some people think they are wise.
There is more hope for a foolish person than for them.
13The lazy person says, “There’s a lion in the road.
There’s a lion in the streets!”
14The lazy person is like a door that turns back and forth on its hinges.
He stays in bed and turns over and over.
15The lazy person may put his hand in the dish.
But he’s too tired to lift the food to his mouth.
16The lazy person thinks he is wiser
than seven people who give sensible answers.
17To grab a dog by the ears is asking for trouble.
So is interfering in someone else’s quarrel if you’re just passing by.
18-19A person shouldn’t trick his neighbor
and then say, “I was just joking!”
That is like a madman shooting
deadly, burning arrows.
20Without wood, a fire will go out.
And without gossip, quarreling will stop.
21Charcoal and wood keep a fire going.
In the same way, a quarrelsome person keeps an argument going.
22The words of a gossip are like tasty bits of food.
People take them all in.
23Kind words from a wicked mind
are like a shiny coating on a clay pot.
24A person who hates you may fool you with his words.
But in his mind he is planning evil.
25His words are kind, but don’t believe him.
His mind is full of evil thoughts.
26He hides his hate with lies.
But his evil will be plain to everyone.
27Whoever digs a deep trap for others will fall into it himself.
Whoever tries to roll a boulder over others will be crushed by it.
28A liar hates the people he hurts.
And false praise can ruin others.