26 Expecting snow in summer and rain in the dry season makes more sense than honoring a fool. 2 A curse you don’t deserve will take wings and fly away like a sparrow or a swallow. 3 Horses and donkeys must be beaten and bridled— and so must fools. 4 Don’t make a fool of yourself by answering a fool. 5 But if you answer any fools, show how foolish they are, so they won’t feel smart.
6 Sending a message by a fool is like chopping off your foot and drinking poison. 7 A fool with words of wisdom is like an athlete with legs that can’t move.[a] 8 Are you going to honor a fool? Why not shoot a slingshot with the rock tied tight? 9 A thornbush waved around in the hand of a drunkard is no worse than a proverb in the mouth of a fool.
10 It’s no smarter to shoot arrows at every passerby than it is to hire a bunch of worthless nobodies.[b] 11 Dogs return to eat their vomit, just as fools repeat their foolishness. 12 There is more hope for a fool than for someone who says, “I’m really smart!”
13 Don’t be lazy and keep saying, “There’s a lion outside!” 14 A door turns on its hinges, but a lazy person just turns over in bed. 15 Some of us are so lazy that we won’t lift a hand to feed ourselves. 16 A lazy person says, “I am smarter than everyone else.”
17 It’s better to take hold of a mad dog by the ears than to take part in someone else’s argument. 18 It’s no crazier to shoot sharp and flaming arrows 19 than to cheat someone and say, “I was only fooling!”
20 Where there is no fuel a fire goes out; where there is no gossip arguments come to an end. 21 Troublemakers start trouble, just as sparks and fuel start a fire. 22 There is nothing so delicious as the taste of gossip! It melts in your mouth.
23 Hiding hateful thoughts behind smooth[c] talk is like coating a clay pot with a cheap glaze. 24 The pleasant talk of an enemy hides more evil plans 25 than can be counted— so don’t believe a word! 26 Everyone will see through those evil plans. 27 If you dig a pit, you will fall in; if you start a stone rolling, it will roll back on you. 28 Watch out for anyone who tells lies and flatters— they are out to get you.
26.7with. . . move: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
26.10nobodies: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 10.
26.23smooth: One ancient translation; Hebrew “hateful.”
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