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How Fools Talk

18 Whoever isolates himself pursues selfish ends;
he resists all sound advice.

A fool finds no satisfaction in trying to understand,
    for he would rather express his own opinion.

When an evil person comes, contempt also comes,
    along with dishonor and disgrace.

The words a man says are as deep waters—
    a fountain of wisdom is an overflowing stream.

It’s not good to be partial towards an evil person,
    thereby depriving the righteous of justice.

A fool’s words[a] bring strife,
    and his mouth invites fighting.
A fool’s mouth is his unraveling,
    and his lips entrap himself.
The words of a gossip are like choice morsels
    as they descend to the innermost parts of the body.

Avoiding Fools and Their Foolishness

Whoever is lazy regarding his work
    is also a brother to the master of destruction.

10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
    a righteous person rushes to it and is lifted up above the danger.[b]
11 The wealth of a rich person is his fortified city;
    in his own imagination, it is like a high wall.

12 Before a man’s downfall, his mind[c] is arrogant,
    but humility precedes honor.

13 Whoever answers before listening
    is both foolish and shameful.

14 A man’s spirit can sustain him during his illness,
    but who can bear a crushed spirit?

15 The mind[d] of a discerning person gains knowledge,
    while the ears of wise people seek out knowledge.

16 A person’s gift opens doors for him,
    bringing him access to important people.

17 The first to put forth his case seems right,
    until someone else steps forward and cross-examines him.

18 Casting dice settles a dispute,
    deciding between strong contenders.

19 An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city,
    and his disputes are like the bars of a fortress.

20 The positive words that a man speaks[e] fill his stomach;
    he will be satisfied with what his lips produce.
21 The power of the tongue is life and death—
    those who love to talk[f] will eat what it produces.

22 Whoever finds a wife finds what is good,
    and receives favor from the Lord.

23 The poor person pleads for mercy,
    but the wealthy man responds harshly.

24 A man with many[g] friends can still be ruined,
    but one who keeps on loving sticks closer than a brother.


  1. Proverbs 18:6 Lit. lips
  2. Proverbs 18:10 The Heb. lacks above the danger
  3. Proverbs 18:12 Lit. heart
  4. Proverbs 18:15 Lit. heart
  5. Proverbs 18:20 Lit. words from a man’s mouth
  6. Proverbs 18:21 Lit. love it
  7. Proverbs 18:24 The Heb. lacks many

18 An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends
    and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.

Fools find no pleasure in understanding
    but delight in airing their own opinions.(A)

When wickedness comes, so does contempt,
    and with shame comes reproach.

The words of the mouth are deep waters,(B)
    but the fountain of wisdom is a rushing stream.

It is not good to be partial to the wicked(C)
    and so deprive the innocent of justice.(D)

The lips of fools bring them strife,
    and their mouths invite a beating.(E)

The mouths of fools are their undoing,
    and their lips are a snare(F) to their very lives.(G)

The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
    they go down to the inmost parts.(H)

One who is slack in his work
    is brother to one who destroys.(I)

10 The name of the Lord is a fortified tower;(J)
    the righteous run to it and are safe.(K)

11 The wealth of the rich is their fortified city;(L)
    they imagine it a wall too high to scale.

12 Before a downfall the heart is haughty,
    but humility comes before honor.(M)

13 To answer before listening—
    that is folly and shame.(N)

14 The human spirit can endure in sickness,
    but a crushed spirit who can bear?(O)

15 The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge,(P)
    for the ears of the wise seek it out.

16 A gift(Q) opens the way
    and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.

17 In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right,
    until someone comes forward and cross-examines.

18 Casting the lot settles disputes(R)
    and keeps strong opponents apart.

19 A brother wronged(S) is more unyielding than a fortified city;
    disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.

20 From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled;
    with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied.(T)

21 The tongue has the power of life and death,(U)
    and those who love it will eat its fruit.(V)

22 He who finds a wife finds what is good(W)
    and receives favor from the Lord.(X)

23 The poor plead for mercy,
    but the rich answer harshly.

24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,
    but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.(Y)

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