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26 Like snow in the summer or rain at harvest,
    so honor isn’t appropriate for a fool.
Like a darting sparrow, like a flying swallow,
    so an undeserved curse never arrives.
A whip for a horse, a bridle for a donkey,
    and a rod for the back of fools.
Don’t answer fools according to their folly,
    or you will become like them yourself.
Answer fools according to their folly,
    or they will deem themselves wise.
Sending messages with a fool
    is like cutting off one’s feet or drinking down violence.
As legs dangle from a disabled person,
    so does a proverb in the mouth of fools.
Like tying a stone in a sling,
    so is giving respect to a fool.
Like a thorny bush in the hand of a drunk,
    so is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
10 Like an archer who wounds someone randomly,
    so is one who hires a fool or a passerby.
11 Like a dog that returns to its vomit,
    so a fool repeats foolish mistakes.
12 Do you see people who consider themselves wise?
    There is more hope for a fool than for them.
13 A lazy person says, “There’s a lion in the path!
    A lion in the plazas!”
14 As a door turns on its hinge,
    so do lazy people in their beds.
15 Lazy people bury their hand into the bowl,
    too tired to return it to their mouth.
16 Lazy people think they are wiser
    than seven people who answer sensibly.

17     Like yanking the ears of a dog,
    so is one who passes by and gets involved in another person’s fight.
18 Like a crazy person shooting deadly flaming arrows
19     are those who deceive their neighbor and say, “Hey, I was only joking!”
20 Without wood a fire goes out;
    without gossips, conflict calms down.
21 Like adding charcoal to embers or wood to fire,
    quarrelsome people kindle strife.
22 The words of gossips are like choice snacks;
    they go down to the inmost parts.
23 Smooth[a] lips and an evil heart
    are like silver coating on clay.
24 Hateful people mislead with their lips,
    keeping their deception within.
25 Though they speak graciously, don’t believe them,
    for seven horrible things are in their heart.
26 They may cover their hatred with trickery,
    but their evil will be revealed in public.
27 Those who dig a pit will fall in it;
    those who roll a stone will have it turn back on them.
28 A lying tongue hates those it crushes;
    a flattering mouth causes destruction.


  1. Proverbs 26:23 LXX; Heb uncertain

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