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Proverbs 26:1-12 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 26[a]

Like snow in summer, like rain in harvest,
    honor for a fool is out of place.[b]
Like the sparrow in its flitting, like the swallow in its flight,
    a curse uncalled-for never lands.[c]
The whip for the horse, the bridle for the ass,
    and the rod for the back of fools.
[d]Do not answer fools according to their folly,
    lest you too become like them.
Answer fools according to their folly,
    lest they become wise in their own eyes.
Those who send messages by a fool
    cut off their feet; they drink down violence.
[e]A proverb in the mouth of a fool
    hangs limp, like crippled legs.
Giving honor to a fool
    is like entangling a stone in the sling.
A thorn stuck in the hand of a drunkard
    is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
10 An archer wounding all who pass by
    is anyone who hires a drunken fool.
11 As dogs return to their vomit,
    so fools repeat their folly.
12 You see those who are wise in their own eyes?
    There is more hope for fools than for them.


  1. 26:1–28 Concrete images describe the vices of fools (vv. 1–12), of sluggards (vv. 13–16), of meddlers (vv. 17–19), of talebearers (vv. 20–22), and of flatterers (vv. 23–28).
  2. 26:1 There is no fit (“out of place”) between weather and agricultural season.
  3. 26:2 The point is the similarity of actions: a hovering bird that never lands, a groundless curse that never “lands.” It hangs in the air posing no threat to anyone.
  4. 26:4–5 There is no contradiction between these two proverbs. In their answers, the wise must protect their own interests against fools. Or perhaps the juxtaposition of the two proverbs suggests that no single proverb can resolve every problem in life.
  5. 26:7–9 Fools either abuse or are unable to use whatever knowledge they have. A thorn: a proverb is “words spoken at the proper time” (25:11). Fools have no sense of the right time; their statements are like thorns that fasten on clothing randomly.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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