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Folly of Fools

26 Like snow in summer or rain at harvest,
so honor is not fitting for a fool.
Like a fluttering sparrow or a flying swallow,
so an undeserved curse does not land.
A whip for a horse, a bridle for a donkey,
and a rod for the back of fools.
Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
else you also will be like him.
Answer a fool according to his folly,
else he will be wise in his own eyes.
Like cutting off one’s feet or drinking violence
is sending a message by a fool’s hand.
Like a lame man’s legs that hang limp,
so is a proverb in a fool’s mouth.
Like tying a stone into a sling,
so is giving honor to a fool.
Like a thorn bush in a drunkard’s hand
is a proverb in a fool’s mouth.
10 Like an archer who wounds at random
is one who hires a fool or any passer-by.
11 Like a dog that returns to its vomit,
so a fool repeats his folly.[a]
12 Do you see one wise in his own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than him.

Folly of Slackers

13 A slacker says,
“There’s a lion on the road!
A lion is in the streets!”
14 As a door turns on its hinges
so a slacker turns on his bed.
15 The slacker plunges his hand in the dish—
he is too tired to bring it back to his mouth.
16 A slacker is wiser in his own eyes
than seven people who answer sensibly.

Folly of Lashon Ha-Ra

17 Like one who takes a dog by the ears
is a passer-by who meddles in a quarrel not his own.
18 Like a madman shooting firebrands and deadly arrows
19 so is one who deceives his friend, and says, “I was only joking.”
20 Without wood a fire goes out;
without gossip quarrels cease.
21 As coals are to embers and wood to fire,
so is a contentious person to kindling strife.
22 A gossip’s words are like tasty morsels—
they slide down into the innermost parts of the body.
23 Like silver glaze overlaying earthenware
are fervent[b] lips with an evil heart.
24 One who hates, disguises it with his lips,
but he stores up deceit within him.
25 When he speaks favorably, do not believe him,
for there are seven abominations in his heart.
26 Though his hatred may be concealed
by deceit, his evil will be exposed before the assembly.

27 Whoever digs a pit will fall in it,
and whoever rolls a stone—it will come back upon him.

28 A lying tongue hates those crushed by it,
and a flattering mouth causes ruin.


  1. Proverbs 26:11 cf. 2 Pet. 2:22.
  2. Proverbs 26:23 Lit. burning.