26Like snow in summer and like rain in harvest,
So honor is not fitting for a [shortsighted] [a]fool.(A)
Like the sparrow in her wandering, like the swallow in her flying,
So the curse without cause does not come and alight [on the undeserving].(B)
A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey,
And a rod for the backs of fools [who refuse to learn].
Do 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.
Answer [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].(C)
He 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].(D)
Like the legs which are useless to the lame,
So is a proverb in the mouth of a fool [who cannot learn from its wisdom].
Like one who [absurdly] binds a stone in a sling [making it impossible to throw],
So is he who [absurdly] gives honor to a fool.
Like 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].
Like 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.
Like a dog that returns to his vomit
Is a fool who repeats his foolishness.
Do 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.(E)
The 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]!”(F)
As the door turns on its hinges,
So does the lazy person on his bed [never getting out of it].
The lazy person buries his hand in the dish [losing opportunity after opportunity];
It wearies him to bring it back to his mouth.(G)
The lazy person is wiser in his own eyes
Than seven [sensible] men who can give a discreet answer.
Like 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.
Like a madman who throws
Firebrands, arrows, and death,
So is the man who deceives his neighbor (acquaintance, friend)
And then says, “Was I not joking?”(H)
For lack of wood the fire goes out,
And where there is no whisperer [who gossips], contention quiets down.
Like charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire,
So is a contentious man to kindle strife.(I)
The 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].(J)
Like 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.
He who hates, disguises it with his lips,
But he stores up deceit in his heart.
When he speaks graciously and kindly [to conceal his malice], do not trust him,
For seven abominations are in his heart.
Though his hatred covers itself with guile and deceit,
His malevolence will be revealed openly before the assembly.
Whoever 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.(K)
A lying tongue hates those it wounds and crushes,
And a flattering mouth works ruin.
- Proverbs 26:1 See note 1:7.
- Proverbs 26:1 : Is 32:6
- Proverbs 26:2 : Num 23:8
- Proverbs 26:5 : Matt 16:1-4; 21:24-27
- Proverbs 26:6 : Prov 13:17
- Proverbs 26:12 : Prov 29:20; Luke 18:11; Rom 12:16; Rev 3:17
- Proverbs 26:13 : Prov 22:13
- Proverbs 26:15 : Prov 19:24
- Proverbs 26:19 : Eph 5:4
- Proverbs 26:21 : Prov 15:18; 29:22
- Proverbs 26:22 : Prov 18:8
- Proverbs 26:27 : Ps 7:15, 16; 9:15; 10:2; 57:6; Prov 28:10; Eccl 10:8