Proverbs 26
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Similitudes, Instructions

1Like snow in summer and like rain in harvest,

So honor is not fitting for a [shortsighted] [a]fool.

2Like the sparrow in her wandering, like the swallow in her flying,

So the curse without cause does not come and alight [on the undeserving].

3A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey,

And a rod for the backs of fools [who refuse to learn].

4Do not answer [nor pretend to agree with the frivolous comments of] a [closed-minded] fool according to his folly,

Otherwise you, even you, will be like him.

5Answer [and correct the erroneous concepts of] a fool according to his folly,

Otherwise he will be wise in his own eyes [if he thinks you agree with him].

6He who sends a message by the hand of a fool

Cuts off his own feet (sabotages himself) and drinks the violence [it brings on himself as a consequence].

7Like the legs which are useless to the lame,

So is a proverb in the mouth of a fool [who cannot learn from its wisdom].

8Like one who [absurdly] binds a stone in a sling [making it impossible to throw],

So is he who [absurdly] gives honor to a fool.

9Like a thorn that goes [without being felt] into the hand of a drunken man,

So is a proverb in the mouth of a fool [who remains unaffected by its wisdom].

10Like a [careless] archer who [shoots arrows wildly and] wounds everyone,

So is he who hires a fool or those who [by chance just] pass by.

11Like a dog that returns to his vomit

Is a fool who repeats his foolishness.

12Do you see a man [who is unteachable and] wise in his own eyes and full of self-conceit?

There is more hope for a fool than for him.

13The lazy person [who is self-indulgent and relies on lame excuses] says, “There is a lion in the road!

A lion is in the open square [and if I go outside to work I will be killed]!”

14As the door turns on its hinges,

So does the lazy person on his bed [never getting out of it].

15The lazy person buries his hand in the dish [losing opportunity after opportunity];

It wearies him to bring it back to his mouth.

16The lazy person is wiser in his own eyes

Than seven [sensible] men who can give a discreet answer.

17Like one who grabs a dog by the ears [and is likely to be bitten]

Is he who, passing by, stops to meddle with a dispute that is none of his business.

18Like a madman who throws

Firebrands, arrows, and death,

19So is the man who deceives his neighbor (acquaintance, friend)

And then says, “Was I not joking?”

20For lack of wood the fire goes out,

And where there is no whisperer [who gossips], contention quiets down.

21Like charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire,

So is a contentious man to kindle strife.

22The words of a whisperer (gossip) are like dainty morsels [to be greedily eaten];

They go down into the innermost chambers of the body [to be remembered and mused upon].

23Like a [common] clay vessel covered with the silver dross [making it appear silver when it has no real value]

Are burning lips [murmuring manipulative words] and a wicked heart.

24He who hates, disguises it with his lips,

But he stores up deceit in his heart.

25When he speaks graciously and kindly [to conceal his malice], do not trust him,

For seven abominations are in his heart.

26Though his hatred covers itself with guile and deceit,

His malevolence will be revealed openly before the assembly.

27Whoever digs a pit [for another man’s feet] will fall into it,

And he who rolls a stone [up a hill to do mischief], it will come back on him.

28A lying tongue hates those it wounds and crushes,

And a flattering mouth works ruin.

[a] 1 See note 1:7.

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