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.
3Whips are for horses, and harnesses are for donkeys,
so paddles are good for fools.
4Don’t answer fools when they speak foolishly,
or you will be just like them.
5Answer fools when they speak foolishly,
or they will think they are really wise.
6Sending a message by a foolish person
is like cutting off your feet or drinking poison.
7A wise saying spoken by a fool
is as useless as the legs of a crippled person.
8Giving honor to a foolish person
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.
10Hiring a foolish person or anyone just passing by
is like an archer shooting at just anything.
11A fool who repeats his foolishness
is like a dog that goes back to what it has thrown up.
12There is more hope for a foolish person
than for those who think they are wise.
13The lazy person says, “There’s a lion in the road!
There’s a lion in the streets!”
14Like a door turning back and forth on its hinges,
the lazy person turns over and over in bed.
15Lazy people may put their hands in the dish,
but they are too tired to lift the food to their mouths.
16The lazy person thinks he is wiser
than seven people who give sensible answers.
17Interfering in someone else’s quarrel as you pass by
is like grabbing a dog by the ears.
18Like a madman shooting
deadly, burning arrows
19is the one who tricks a neighbor
and then says, “I was just joking.”
20Without wood, a fire will go out,
and without gossip, quarreling will stop.
21Just as charcoal and wood keep a fire going,
a quarrelsome person keeps an argument going.
22The words of a gossip are like tasty bits of food;
people like to gobble them up.
23Kind words from a wicked mind
are like a shiny coating on a clay pot.
24Those who hate you may try to fool you with their words,
but in their minds they are planning evil.
25People’s words may be kind, but don’t believe them,
because their minds are full of evil thoughts.
26Lies can hide hate,
but the evil will be plain to everyone.
27Whoever digs a pit for others will fall into it.
Whoever tries to roll a boulder down on others will be crushed by it.
28Liars hate the people they hurt,
and false praise can ruin others.