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17 Interfering in someone else’s argument
    is as foolish as yanking a dog’s ears.

18 Just as damaging
    as a madman shooting a deadly weapon
19 is someone who lies to a friend
    and then says, “I was only joking.”

20 Fire goes out without wood,
    and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.

21 A quarrelsome person starts fights
    as easily as hot embers light charcoal or fire lights wood.

22 Rumors are dainty morsels
    that sink deep into one’s heart.

23 Smooth[a] words may hide a wicked heart,
    just as a pretty glaze covers a clay pot.

24 People may cover their hatred with pleasant words,
    but they’re deceiving you.
25 They pretend to be kind, but don’t believe them.
    Their hearts are full of many evils.[b]
26 While their hatred may be concealed by trickery,
    their wrongdoing will be exposed in public.

27 If you set a trap for others,
    you will get caught in it yourself.
If you roll a boulder down on others,
    it will crush you instead.

28 A lying tongue hates its victims,
    and flattering words cause ruin.

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Footnotes

  1. 26:23 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads Burning.
  2. 26:25 Hebrew seven evils.

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