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Proverbs 26Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

26 Like snow in summer and rain at harvest,
honor is inappropriate for a fool.
Like a flitting sparrow or a fluttering swallow,
an undeserved curse goes nowhere.
A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey,
and a rod for the backs of fools.
Don’t answer a fool according to his foolishness
or you’ll be like him yourself.
Answer a fool according to his foolishness
or he’ll become wise in his own eyes.
The one who sends a message by a fool’s hand
cuts off his own feet and drinks violence.
A proverb in the mouth of a fool
is like lame legs that hang limp.
Giving honor to a fool
is like binding a stone in a sling.[a]
A proverb in the mouth of a fool
is like a stick with thorns,
brandished by[b] the hand of a drunkard.
10 The one who hires a fool or who hires those passing by
is like an archer who wounds everyone.
11 As a dog returns to its vomit,
so a fool repeats his foolishness.
12 Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.

13 The slacker says, “There’s a lion in the road—
a lion in the public square!”
14 A door turns on its hinges,
and a slacker, on his bed.
15 The slacker buries his hand in the bowl;
he is too weary to bring it to his mouth.
16 In his own eyes, a slacker is wiser
than seven men who can answer sensibly.

17 A person who is passing by and meddles in a quarrel that’s not his
is like one who grabs a dog by the ears.
18 Like a madman who throws flaming darts and deadly arrows,
19 so is the man who deceives his neighbor
and says, “I was only joking!”

20 Without wood, fire goes out;
without a gossip, conflict dies down.
21 As charcoal for embers and wood for fire,
so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.
22 A gossip’s words are like choice food
that goes down to one’s innermost being.[c]

23 Smooth[d] lips with an evil heart
are like glaze on an earthen vessel.
24 A hateful person disguises himself with his speech
and harbors deceit within.
25 When he speaks graciously, don’t believe him,
for there are seven abominations in his heart.
26 Though his hatred is concealed by deception,
his evil will be revealed in the assembly.
27 The one who digs a pit will fall into it,
and whoever rolls a stone—
it will come back on him.
28 A lying tongue hates those it crushes,
and a flattering mouth causes ruin.


  1. Proverbs 26:8 A stone bound in a sling would not release and could harm the person using the sling. A modern equivalent is jamming a cork in a gun barrel.
  2. Proverbs 26:9 Lit thorn that goes up into
  3. Proverbs 26:22 Lit to the chambers of the belly
  4. Proverbs 26:23 LXX; MT reads Burning

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