Proverbs 26
Don't be a fool
1Expecting snow in summer
and rain in the dry season
makes more sense
than honouring a fool.
2A curse you don't deserve
will take wings and fly away
like a sparrow or a swallow.
3Horses and donkeys
must be beaten and bridled—
and so must fools.
4Don't make a fool of yourself
by answering a fool.
5But if you answer any fools,
show how foolish they are,
so they won't feel clever.
6Sending a message by a fool
is like chopping off your foot
and drinking poison.
7A fool with words of wisdom
is like an athlete
with legs that can't move.#26.7 with…move: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
8Are you going to honour a fool?
Why not shoot a slingshot
with the stone tied tight?
9A thorn bush waved around
in the hand of a drunkard
is no worse than a proverb
in the mouth of a fool.
10It's no cleverer to shoot arrows
at every passer-by
than it is to hire a bunch
of worthless nobodies.#26.10 nobodies: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 10.
11Dogs return to eat their vomit,#2 P 2.22.
just as fools repeat
their foolishness.
12There is more hope for a fool
than for someone who says,
“I'm really clever!”
13Don't be lazy and keep saying,
“There's a lion outside!”
14A door turns on its hinges,
but a lazy person
just turns over in bed.
15Some of us are so lazy
that we won't lift a hand
to feed ourselves.
16A lazy person says,
“I am cleverer
than everyone else.”
17It's better to take hold
of a mad dog by the ears
than to take part
in someone else's argument.
18It's no crazier to shoot
sharp and flaming arrows
19than to cheat someone and say,
“I was only fooling!”
20Where there is no fuel
a fire goes out;
where there is no gossip
arguments come to an end.
21Troublemakers start trouble,
just as sparks and fuel
start a fire.
22There is nothing so delicious
as the taste of gossip!
It melts in your mouth.
23Hiding hateful thoughts
behind smooth#26.23 smooth: One ancient translation; Hebrew “hateful”. talk
is like coating a clay pot
with a cheap glaze.
24The pleasant talk
of an enemy
hides more evil plans
25than can be counted—
so don't believe a word!
26Everyone will see through
those evil plans.
27If you dig a pit,
you will fall in;
if you start a stone rolling,
it will roll back on you.
28Watch out for anyone
who tells lies and flatters—
they are out to get you.