18 Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death,
19 Is the man who deceives his neighbor,
And says, (A)“I was only joking!”

20 Where there is no wood, the fire goes out;
And where there is no [a]talebearer, strife ceases.
21 (B)As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire,
So is a contentious man to kindle strife.
22 The words of a [b]talebearer are like [c]tasty trifles,
And they go down into the [d]inmost body.

23 Fervent lips with a wicked heart
Are like earthenware covered with silver dross.

24 He who hates, disguises it with his lips,
And lays up deceit within himself;
25 (C)When [e]he speaks kindly, do not believe him,
For there are seven abominations in his heart;
26 Though his hatred is covered by deceit,
His wickedness will be revealed before the assembly.

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  1. Proverbs 26:20 gossip or slanderer, lit. whisperer
  2. Proverbs 26:22 gossip or slanderer
  3. Proverbs 26:22 A Jewish tradition wounds
  4. Proverbs 26:22 Lit. rooms of the belly
  5. Proverbs 26:25 Lit. his voice is gracious