Proverbs 26
Contemporary English Version

Don't Be a Fool

1Expecting snow in summer

and rain in the dry season

makes more sense

than honoring a fool.

2A curse you don't deserve

will take wings and fly away

like a sparrow or a swallow.

3Horses and donkeys

must be beaten and bridled—

and so must fools.

4Don't make a fool of yourself

by answering a fool.

5But if you answer any fools,

show how foolish they are,

so they won't feel smart.

6Sending a message by a fool

is like chopping off your foot

just to spite yourself.

7A fool with words of wisdom

is like an athlete

with legs that can't move.+

8Are you going to honor a fool?

Why not shoot a slingshot

with the rock tied tight?

9A thornbush waved around

in the hand of a drunkard

is no worse than a proverb

in the mouth of a fool.

10It's no smarter to shoot arrows

at every passerby

than it is to hire a bunch

of worthless nobodies.+

11 Dogs return to eat their vomit,

just as fools repeat

their foolishness.

12There is more hope for a fool

than for someone who says,

“I'm really smart!”

13Don't be lazy and keep saying,

“There's a lion outside!”

14A door turns on its hinges,

but a lazy person

just turns over in bed.

15Some of us are so lazy

that we won't lift a hand

to feed ourselves.

16A lazy person says,

“I am smarter

than everyone else.”

17It's better to take hold

of a mad dog by the ears

than to take part

in someone else's argument.

18It's no crazier to shoot

sharp and flaming arrows

19than to cheat someone and say,

“I was only fooling!”

20Where there is no fuel

a fire goes out;

where there is no gossip

arguments come to an end.

21Troublemakers start trouble,

just as sparks and fuel

start a fire.

22There is nothing so delicious

as the taste of gossip!

It melts in your mouth.

23Hiding hateful thoughts

behind smooth+ talk

is like coating a clay pot

with a cheap glaze.

24The pleasant talk

of an enemy

hides more evil plans

25than can be counted—

so don't believe a word!

26Everyone will see through

those evil plans.

27 If you dig a pit,

you will fall in;

if you start a stone rolling,

it will roll back on you.

28Watch out for anyone

who tells lies and flatters—

they are out to get you.


26.7 with … move: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
26.10 nobodies: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 10.
26.23 smooth: One ancient translation; Hebrew “hateful.”

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

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