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Proverbs 26 Good News Translation (GNT)

26 Praise for a fool is out of place, like snow in summer or rain at harvest time.

Curses cannot hurt you unless you deserve them. They are like birds that fly by and never light.

You have to whip a horse, you have to bridle a donkey, and you have to beat a fool.

If you answer a silly question, you are just as silly as the person who asked it.

Give a silly answer to a silly question, and the one who asked it will realize that he's not as smart as he thinks.

If you let a fool deliver a message, you might as well cut off your own feet; you are asking for trouble.

A fool can use a proverb about as well as crippled people can use their legs.

Praising someone who is stupid makes as much sense as tying a stone in a sling.

A fool quoting a wise saying reminds you of a drunk trying to pick a thorn out of his hand.

10 An employer who hires any fool that comes along is only hurting everybody concerned.[a]

11 A fool doing some stupid thing a second time is like a dog going back to its vomit.

12 The most stupid fool is better off than those who think they are wise when they are not.

13 Why don't lazy people ever get out of the house? What are they afraid of Lions?

14 Lazy people turn over in bed. They get no farther than a door swinging on its hinges.

15 Some people are too lazy to put food in their own mouths.

16 A lazy person will think he is smarter than seven men who can give good reasons for their opinions.

17 Getting involved in an argument that is none of your business is like going down the street and grabbing a dog by the ears.

18-19 Someone who tricks someone else and then claims that he was only joking is like a crazy person playing with a deadly weapon.

20 Without wood, a fire goes out; without gossip, quarreling stops.

21 Charcoal keeps the embers glowing, wood keeps the fire burning, and troublemakers keep arguments alive.

22 Gossip is so tasty! How we love to swallow it!

23 Insincere[b] talk that hides what you are really thinking is like a fine glaze[c] on a cheap clay pot.

24 A hypocrite hides hate behind flattering words. 25 They may sound fine, but don't believe him, because his heart is filled to the brim with hate. 26 He may disguise his hatred, but everyone will see the evil things he does.

27 People who set traps for others get caught themselves. People who start landslides get crushed.

28 You have to hate someone to want to hurt him with lies. Insincere talk brings nothing but ruin.


  1. Proverbs 26:10 Verse 10 in Hebrew is unclear.
  2. Proverbs 26:23 One ancient translation Insincere; Hebrew Burning.
  3. Proverbs 26:23 Probable text fine glaze; Hebrew unrefined silver.
Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

Proverbs 26 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

26 Like snow in summer or rain in harvest,
    so honor is not fitting for a fool.
Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying,
    an undeserved curse goes nowhere.
A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey,
    and a rod for the back of fools.
Do not answer fools according to their folly,
    or you will be a fool yourself.
Answer fools according to their folly,
    or they will be wise in their own eyes.
It is like cutting off one’s foot and drinking down violence,
    to send a message by a fool.
The legs of a disabled person hang limp;
    so does a proverb in the mouth of a fool.
It is like binding a stone in a sling
    to give honor to a fool.
Like a thornbush brandished by the hand of a drunkard
    is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.
10 Like an archer who wounds everybody
    is one who hires a passing fool or drunkard.[a]
11 Like a dog that returns to its vomit
    is a fool who reverts to his folly.
12 Do you see persons wise in their own eyes?
    There is more hope for fools than for them.
13 The lazy person says, “There is a lion in the road!
    There is a lion in the streets!”
14 As a door turns on its hinges,
    so does a lazy person in bed.
15 The lazy person buries a hand in the dish,
    and is too tired to bring it back to the mouth.
16 The lazy person is wiser in self-esteem
    than seven who can answer discreetly.
17 Like somebody who takes a passing dog by the ears
    is one who meddles in the quarrel of another.
18 Like a maniac who shoots deadly firebrands and arrows,
19 so is one who deceives a neighbor
    and says, “I am only joking!”
20 For lack of wood the fire goes out,
    and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.
21 As charcoal is to hot embers and wood to fire,
    so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife.
22 The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels;
    they go down into the inner parts of the body.
23 Like the glaze[b] covering an earthen vessel
    are smooth[c] lips with an evil heart.
24 An enemy dissembles in speaking
    while harboring deceit within;
25 when an enemy speaks graciously, do not believe it,
    for there are seven abominations concealed within;
26 though hatred is covered with guile,
    the enemy’s wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.
27 Whoever digs a pit will fall into it,
    and a stone will come back on the one who starts it rolling.
28 A lying tongue hates its victims,
    and a flattering mouth works ruin.


  1. Proverbs 26:10 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  2. Proverbs 26:23 Cn: Heb silver of dross
  3. Proverbs 26:23 Gk: Heb burning
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 26 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

26 Like snow in summer or rain at harvest-time,
    so honor for a fool is out of place.

Like a fluttering sparrow or a flying swallow,
    an undeserved curse will come home to roost.

A whip for a horse, a bridle for a donkey,
    and a rod for the back of fools.
Don’t answer a fool in terms of his folly,
    or you will be descending to his level;
but answer a fool as his folly deserves,
    so that he won’t think he is wise.
Telling a message to a fool and sending him out
    is like cutting off one’s feet and drinking violence.
The legs of the disabled hang limp and useless;
    likewise a proverb in the mouth of a fool.
Like one who ties his stone to the sling
    is he who gives honor to a fool.
Like a thorn branch in the hand of a drunk
    is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.
10 A master can make anything,
    but hiring a fool is like hiring some passer-by.
11 Just as a dog returns to his vomit,
    a fool repeats his folly.
12 Do you see someone who thinks himself wise?
    There is more hope for a fool than for him!

13 The lazy person says, “There’s a lion in the streets!
    A lion is roaming loose out there!”
14 The door turns on its hinges,
    and the lazy man on his bed.
15 The lazy person buries his hand in the dish
    but is too tired to return it to his mouth.
16 A lazy man is wiser in his own view
    than seven who can answer with sense.

17 Like someone who grabs a dog by the ears
    is a passer-by who mixes in a fight not his own.

18 Like a madman shooting deadly arrows and firebrands
19     is one who deceives another, then says, “It was just a joke.”

20 If there’s no wood, the fire goes out;
    if nobody gossips, contention stops.
21 As coals are to embers and wood to fire
    is a quarrelsome person to kindling strife.

22 A slanderer’s words are tasty morsels;
    they slide right down into the belly.

23 Like silver slag overlaid on a clay pot
    are lips that burn [with friendship] over a hating heart.
24 He who hates may hide it with his speech;
    but inside, he harbors deceit.
25 He may speak pleasantly, but don’t trust him;
    for seven abominations are in his heart.
26 His hatred may be concealed by deceit,
    but his wickedness will be revealed in the assembly.

27 Whoever digs a pit will fall into it,
    and a stone will come back on the one who starts it rolling.
28 A lying tongue hates its victims,
    and a flattering mouth causes ruin.

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 26 The Message (MSG)

Fools Recycle Silliness

26 We no more give honors to fools
    than pray for snow in summer or rain during harvest.

You have as little to fear from an undeserved curse
    as from the dart of a wren or the swoop of a swallow.

A whip for the racehorse, a tiller for the sailboat—
and a stick for the back of fools!

Don’t respond to the stupidity of a fool;
you’ll only look foolish yourself.

Answer a fool in simple terms
so he doesn’t get a swelled head.

You’re only asking for trouble
when you send a message by a fool.

A proverb quoted by fools
is limp as a wet noodle.

Putting a fool in a place of honor
is like setting a mud brick on a marble column.

To ask a moron to quote a proverb
is like putting a scalpel in the hands of a drunk.

10 Hire a fool or a drunk
and you shoot yourself in the foot.

11 As a dog eats its own vomit,
    so fools recycle silliness.

12 See that man who thinks he’s so smart?
    You can expect far more from a fool than from him.

13 Loafers say, “It’s dangerous out there!
    Tigers are prowling the streets!”
    and then pull the covers back over their heads.

14 Just as a door turns on its hinges,
    so a lazybones turns back over in bed.

15 A shiftless sluggard puts his fork in the pie,
    but is too lazy to lift it to his mouth.

Like Glaze on Cracked Pottery

16 Dreamers fantasize their self-importance;
    they think they are smarter
    than a whole college faculty.

17 You grab a mad dog by the ears
    when you butt into a quarrel that’s none of your business.

18-19 People who shrug off deliberate deceptions,
    saying, “I didn’t mean it, I was only joking,”
Are worse than careless campers
    who walk away from smoldering campfires.

20 When you run out of wood, the fire goes out;
    when the gossip ends, the quarrel dies down.

21 A quarrelsome person in a dispute
    is like kerosene thrown on a fire.

22 Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy;
    do you want junk like that in your belly?

23 Smooth talk from an evil heart
    is like glaze on cracked pottery.

24-26 Your enemy shakes hands and greets you like an old friend,
    all the while conniving against you.
When he speaks warmly to you, don’t believe him for a minute;
    he’s just waiting for the chance to rip you off.
No matter how cunningly he conceals his malice,
    eventually his evil will be exposed in public.

27 Malice backfires;
    spite boomerangs.

28 Liars hate their victims;
    flatterers sabotage trust.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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