1Honor is no more associated with fools
than snow with summer or rain with harvest.
2Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow,
an undeserved curse will not land on its intended victim.
3Guide a horse with a whip, a donkey with a bridle,
and a fool with a rod to his back!
4Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools,
or you will become as foolish as they are.
5Be sure to answer the foolish arguments of fools,
or they will become wise in their own estimation.
6Trusting a fool to convey a message
is like cutting off one’s feet or drinking poison!
7A proverb in the mouth of a fool
is as useless as a paralyzed leg.
8Honoring a fool
is as foolish as tying a stone to a slingshot.
9A proverb in the mouth of a fool
is like a thorny branch brandished by a drunk.
10An employer who hires a fool or a bystander
is like an archer who shoots at random.
11As a dog returns to its vomit,
so a fool repeats his foolishness.
12There is more hope for fools
than for people who think they are wise.
13The lazy person claims, “There’s a lion on the road!
Yes, I’m sure there’s a lion out there!”
14As a door swings back and forth on its hinges,
so the lazy person turns over in bed.
15Lazy people take food in their hand
but don’t even lift it to their mouth.
16Lazy people consider themselves smarter
than seven wise counselors.
17Interfering in someone else’s argument
is as foolish as yanking a dog’s ears.
18Just as damaging
as a madman shooting a deadly weapon
19is someone who lies to a friend
and then says, “I was only joking.”
20Fire goes out without wood,
and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.
21A quarrelsome person starts fights
as easily as hot embers light charcoal or fire lights wood.
22Rumors are dainty morsels
that sink deep into one’s heart.
23Smooth*26:23 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads Burning. words may hide a wicked heart,
just as a pretty glaze covers a clay pot.
24People may cover their hatred with pleasant words,
but they’re deceiving you.
25They pretend to be kind, but don’t believe them.
Their hearts are full of many evils.*26:25 Hebrew seven evils.
26While their hatred may be concealed by trickery,
their wrongdoing will be exposed in public.
27If 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.
28A lying tongue hates its victims,
and flattering words cause ruin.